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Get the Idea

There’s the expression we “get” ideas. We don’t “get” ideas. We make ideas.

Mitch Resnick

Do yourself a favor and do not miss the excellent series about Creativity on Freakonomics Radio. The intro episode is okay, but the second installment is packed full of nothing but treasures and juicy nuggets, like the one above from Mr Resnick. Even if you do not like his music, be sure to not miss the extended interview with Elvis Costello. Lots of gems in there as well.

Pablo Ferro

It has been a rough couple of weeks. Over the weekend, news came out that Pablo Ferro passed away.

He spoke at the MFA Houston a few years ago and I had the good fortune to meet him. Kind, humble, generous and still passionate about his work after all these years.

I swear an ad he did for Burlington Mills back in the mid 60s, that was still airing a decade later, had a huge impact on me. It was so striking, so different from everything else on TV at the time – the actual programming or the adverts – that 40 years later it still resonates with me.

I was able to speak with Mr Ferro for a few minutes after his presentation and told him how his work had had such an lasting effect on me. Made him smile.

God rest your beautiful soul, Mr Ferro.

Worth Reading & Watching

 

HUGH MACLEOD CONNECTS THE DOTS
Typically artists and business people operate in different worlds, where never the twain shall meet. MacLeod however is an artist obsessed with the business environment.

THE ENEMIES OF INNOVATION by Marty Neumeier
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE HIDDEN FORCES ARRAYED AGAINST CREATIVITY

A beginner’s guide to copywriting: 6 essential reads to get you started

Why Science Fiction Is the Most Important Genre
“Today science fiction is the most important artistic genre,” Harari says in Episode 325 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It shapes the understanding of the public on things like artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which are likely to change our lives and society more than anything else in the coming decades.”

Scott Belsky: How to Navigate the Messy Middle of a Creative Venture
The starts and finishes of a project seem to get all the headlines and press, but they don’t adequately reflect the extreme swings that occur during the middle section of a journey. In his new book, The Messy Middle, 99U Founder Scott Belsky shares lessons in entrepreneurship around the crucial, but overlooked part of a creative endeavor.

Creativity’s bottom line: How winning companies turn creativity into business value and growth
Most of us can remember a couple of favorite ads. They’re funny, clever, thoughtful. Creativity can delight, even inspire. But does it generate business value?

 

Back Pocket Ideas

Have you ever had a project where ideas poured freely and easily out of that big ol’ brain of yours? The flood gates of your imagination opened and you have more great solutions than you’ll possibly need.

What should you do? Pitch them all?

Absolutely not.

No matter the volume of your great concepts, refrain from showing all your cards.

A CD I worked for years ago implicitly instructed us to always hold back. He said to keep some “back pocket ideas”. Here’s why:

Use this opportunity to cull down the concepts to only the very best, to take a second look and be highly critical of yourself.

Choose to present only the strongest ideas you want to see come to life – the things you want for your book, or more importantly, that you feel certain the client will buy. Choose the ones that you think will not just be clever in the moment, but also stand the test of time.

Back pocket ideas are also useful if all the concepts you initially pitch die. It’s happened to all of us, and when it does it usually means a quick scramble back to the drawing board. Having some good stuff in reserve might just help alleviate the impending all-nighter.

Another some subtle reason for holding onto back pocket ideas is that you never want your job to look easy. If you start tossing around ideas like they are a cheap commodity that anyone can make, then that is exactly how they will be treated.