Option A or option B? Why evaluation skills and tools are vital for making the right creative decision.
If you have a novel idea which has an element of surprise and value (if you’ve read any of my other blogs about my book), you’ll know that these are 2 common elements that may impact whether your creative idea has a chance of flying. These elements come up repeatedly in a literature review of definitions of creativity. These creative elements are often a measure of good ideas and are something I explore in the opening chapter of my new book In Your Creative Element.
In the book I distill creativity down into 62 elements, which range from Surprise and Value (as mentioned above) to Divergent Thinking and Data, and in this blog I explained how Knowledge is an important part of the creativity puzzle. It’s an element that goes hand in hand with the next one in the book: Evaluation.
Evaluating an idea effectively can be tricky – hard to divorce your feelings, personal experience (or system 1 thinking to use nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s language) from facts and logic to make an objective, evidence-based decision (system 2). It’s something many businesses take seriously given how high the stakes are – take Heineken, for example. The Dutch beer brand have devised a 10-step creative ladder to help them to evaluate all creative ideas. They did so because people naturally have very different opinions about what makes a great creative idea and language to discuss it. The ladder formalizes things a little by ascertaining if something is a cliché, for example: they firmly believe that clichéd work will not have a positive impact and they are seeking work which impacts culture, is groundbreaking and striving for the legendary ‘work that will be remembered when we’re dead’. I interviewed Arif Haq from Contagious who worked with Heineken to develop the ladder, a move which helped to earn them marketeer of the year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity a couple of years ago.
I’ve added Heineken’s creative ladder here, and it’s a fantastic way to start thinking about how your own ideas would stack up, or as a reference and idea of how to have a structured, creative conversation with team members. Give it a try. See how other people’s ideas fare according to the ladder, too. I’m all for using formal processes to help us with creative ideas, and I think what Heineken have done could benefit many of us.
You can read more about Heineken’s Ladder in this blog here and you can buy In Your Creative Element here – add CREATEE20 at the checkout for 20% off.