Ted Talks are a great source of inspiration for the forward-thinking individual. With speakers ranging from ex-presidents to world-renown comedians, Ted’s content always feels fresh and insightful. In May the company welcomed American rock band, OK Go, to take the stage and discuss the thought process behind the band’s number of unique and entrancing music videos. The talk, How To Find a Wonderful Idea, uncovered some of the technical aspects buried beneath the band’s videography, but the gist of the conversation centered around how to spark creativity when looking for your next great idea. It’s an issue we’re no strangers to here at Magnatag, and we’d venture to guess the same could be said for your business too. Here are some of the bands takeaways:
- Be Receptive and Observant
Inspiration can come from virtually anywhere! Perhaps it’s the posters in your bedroom, or maybe it’s the architecture of your office building. The problem with inspiration for the band’s lead singer, Damian Kulash, is that inspiration isn’t necessarily something that’s apparent at first glance—it’s more of a stumble-upon type of scenario if anything. If you take it upon yourself to absorb things as they happen in real life, ideas don’t have to feel as though they have been created out of thin air. Rather than treating ideas as unique concepts, Kulash suggests ideas can be built upon pre-exisiting concepts as if “they are a set of relationships you have unlocked”.
- Search For Wonder and Surprise
Kulash directly relates this point to the band’s collection of music videos and their unique perspectives on music as it relates to videography. He mentions that every idea the band chases has to hold a degree of both wonder and surprise, and here’s why: Wonder piques the interest of the audience, presenting the idea as something that feels new—and the same can be said for surprise too. An idea that one would describe as filed with both wonder and surprise could also be classified as unique, but rather than chase after uniqueness in our ideas, we should think about our ideas as wonderful or surprising, as uniqueness is something that’s difficult to achieve and quantify on its own.
- Avoid The Think, Plan, Execute Process For Idea & Project Development
We’ll start with this typical workflow structure: You start with brainstorming ideas and quickly plan how they’ll fit into the big picture. Once all is said and done, the final step of the process is to execute those plans to perfection, and that’s where the problems set in. When you’re using a similar project structure like the one outlined above, you want to ensure every moving part in your process will go off without a hitch. The problem is that in creating an essentially bulletproof project, you’re actually limiting the scope of the project itself by using ideas that are proven to be reliable 100% of the time. If the only ideas you are able to use in your project have been proven time and time again, the less likely you will be able to capture something that can truly stand out on its own. In order to avoid retracing and rebooting old ideas, the band suggests abandoning the traditional project management structure we’re so accustomed to.
- Don’t Be Afraid of Playful Experimentation
A large benefit of abandoning the routine project management structure is that doing so gives creators more time for experimentation, but not in the traditional sense. When the word “experimentation” is typically thrown around in a boardroom in regards to project management, many of us will look to a collection of potential ideas that will be competitively put to the test, and while it may be an effective way for teams to the most reliable idea in a group, it fails to encourage the discovery of new ideas and methods. In many business circles, mindless and unsupervised experimentation is considered to be a waste of resources since nothing is guaranteed, but it’s because of this unknown element of discovery that makes the discovery of new ideas all the more special. Kulash notes how for one particular music video which features the band performing in an anti-gravity plane, over a third of the video’s budget was spent on a week’s worth of time playing within the plane itself. For those looking to take their ideas to the next level, more time and resources should be spent nurturing and discovering the creation of out-of-the-box ideas.
How do you find inspiration for new ideas? We think whiteboarding is a great place to start!