So what an amazing week it’s been at the Cannes Lions Festival of creativity this year! As well as mentoring the groups for the masters of creativity sessions I was invited to attempt the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest creative thinking lesson on behalf of the Cannes Lions School. So at 6pm in the Lumiere theatre we gathered together to attempt the record.
We worked with global men’s health charity – the Movember Foundation – to tackle one of their big, ongoing issues: how to encourage men to talk to each other about health issues? The charity has identified that there is a 5 year life expectancy gap between men and women – and whilst they now ‘own’ the month of November with their Movember campaign, the charity wants to continue the work and has launched the #5 More campaign to raise awareness of the subject.
JC the founder of Movember came on stage to explain the challenge to the assembled audience and I introduced a tool called Hall of Fame by Michael Michalko – a former officer in the US Army who organized a team of NATO intelligence specialists to research, categorise and a catalogue all known problem solving methods.
This tool is a simple and popular method for generating creative ideas substituting one thing for another, which is a common principle in creative thinking.
Whatever your problem is you try to imagine it from another perspective by stepping into someone else’s shoes and imagining how they would tackle your problem using their traits and characteristics.
So for example my own personal group of personas (or imaginary board of fantasy creative directors) includes Adele, Stephen Spielberg, Barack Obama and Lady Ga Ga. In the spirit of Movember we used a mustached icon – Freddie Mercury as our persona.
You simply ask “what would Freddie Mercury do with your problem?” So starting with the blank page we list Freddie Mercury’s attributes which can you see some of them on this brilliant mind map created by Heather at LA Based Image Think (who came off from visualising Shingy from AOL’s talk so we were in pretty good company).
We listed the attributes and then used them as stimulus to start thinking about ideas for our challenge: how do we encourage men to talk to each other about health issues?
So for example we took the attribute – collaboration – and this sparked an idea to partner with a Las Vegas casino, invite male celebrities and influencers to a high stakes poker game, and reveal that the high stakes poker game they are playing for is their life.
Or what about partnering with a betting company like Ladbrokes and offer men bets on the year of their death? It doesn’t matter at this stage of (divergent) thinking whether the idea completely fits your criteria but it moves you using stimulus to generate ideas. The convergent thinking or critical thinking follows on.
You can see other connections we made on Heather’s great visuals. Of course this is not a creativity tool for when you need to be highly strategic but it can start to shift your thinking. It’s one of the tools that we share on our highly acclaimed and most popular creativity training course – How To Be A Creative Ninja.
So did we get the record I hear you cry? Well sadly no we did not because the record needed 250 people to take part and we had 217! So the lure of the bars on the Croisette won the day. But it was a brilliant experience and the feedback from the attendees was amazing. They generated 100’s of ideas for Movember and the best ones may be used by the charity. So it was creativity with purpose, true to the spirit of Cannes and an amazing experience to stand on that hallowed stage.
We will try again soon so watch this space! If you’d like Claire to come and speak at your event please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org