When to murder your ideas
Good creative teams have innovative and brilliant ideas. Great creatives know when an idea has run its course and needs to die. For everyone’s sake.
When ideas are plentiful, the hard part is knowing how and when to sift the flecks of genius from the nebulous non-starters. Kill an idea too soon, and you’re at risk of extinguishing slow-burners and disrupting the flow in a creative meeting. Too late and you’ve wasted valuable resources pursuing something that was never going to work.Great creatives know when an idea has run its course and needs to dieClick To Tweet
So – to make sure you walk the right side of this fine line – just ask yourself a few simple questions:
Is the idea feasible?
Creativity does not take place in an alternate fantasy universe, so don’t ignore real-world constraints. Each idea should be subjected to a series of interrogations as they pertain to your business and brand: cost, technology, resources, timescales. If the idea falls short on several counts, don’t waste any more time on it.
Is it explicit?
If the core project team is in the room but only one ‘gets it’, then it’s safe to assume the idea won’t pass the consumer clarity test either. Either explain it in a sentence, or chuck it in the bucket.
Is it actionable?
At the end of the meeting, attendees should know what concrete steps need to be taken to bring the project to fruition – whether that’s getting consumer feedback, or fleshing out design sketches. If action points are not immediately obvious, it may be because the idea is too vague. By all means, rework as a group for another 5 minutes if necessary, but if it’s still not any clearer after that, move on.
Is it strategic?
It may solve ‘99 problems, but if it doesn’t solve the innovation problem you called the meeting for, why are you still giving it life? If it’s irrelevant but too good to discard, have a folder of parked ideas*, but certainly don’t waste any more time on it in the here and now.
* This works both ways: when innovating, don’t be afraid to travel old paths. Past concepts or executions that were previously shelved can always be reignited if the hat fits.
Does it feel right?
This is what we call ’emotionality’ in design: does the concept grab you on an instinctual level? If you can answer ‘hell yes’ without hesitation, then it’s a keeper.
Will consumers love it?
An aside to the above: don’t give an idea the green light purely on the basis that you love it, but really get inside the hearts and minds of your target market.
Applying these ‘rules’ of considered creativity to your client meetings will ensure you’re squeezing the maximum value from each idea, without getting lost in a sea of ineffectual ideas.