We hear a lot about "diversity" these days. And we've been conditioned to believe that "diversity" is a goal that can only be achieved by looking at the diverse physical traits of people - gender and race, primarily. Diversity, as defined in this limited way, is noble to be sure, but at Ideasicle we employ a different kind of diversity: the diversity of thought.

And it's what makes Ideasicle, Ideasicle.

Diversity of thought improves creative output.

When I started Ideasicle I figured if I could provide access to a collection of individual brilliant creative people, we'd be unstoppable. There'd be no other way to get access to individuals this brilliant, all in one place, on the market today. 

But what I've realized since launching Ideasicle in 2010 is that the real value is when these individuals work together as a team, posting ideas, getting reactions and builds from others, and riffing away on other ideas posted. The magic happens in the interactions between our teams of four, not in the individuals themselves.

And that's where diversity of thought comes into play. 

For each assignment, I try to find four experts from our stable who have very different talents, experience, and outlooks on life and then bring them together virtually. Their differences increase the chances of "idea collisions," as Steven Johnson calls them in his book "Where Good Ideas Come From." Their differences increase the likelihood of inspiring the others and inspiration is our fuel.

For example, I will usually include two classic creative-director types on each assignment, but I will work to make sure their thinking is diverse from one another. Then I will find a PR person, maybe, because PR people think differently, have different marketing realities, and will push the other two creatives in directions they're not used to. And finally the fourth member might be retail expert, if it's a retail assignment.

Put those four together and you've got some serious diversity of thought. As a result, each very-different perspective pushes the others, opens their eyes, and inspires them to think differently about the assignment.

Are some experts women, men, black, Hispanic, young, old, or some other more traditionally-defined form of "diversity"? Of course, but I only care about those things as they relate to diversifying the team's perspectives on life. 

The three kinds of diversity at Ideasicle.

When assembling the perfect team for an assignment, I have three kinds of diversity I can look to to maximize creative impact. And those are talent, experience, and outlook on life. Let's take them one at a time.

Talent. This is an easy one. Ideasicle experts each bring some kind of wild-ass talent to the group. We have amazing writers, film directors, art directors, and designers. We have mobile experts, social media masters, naming experts, PR nuts, and retail mavens. And we even have a few who have a knack for understanding culture. Diversity in talent, diversity of thought.

 

Experience. Experience in these parts is primarily defined as category experience (e.g. auto, sports, etc.), client experience (e.g. Nike, Mr. Clean, etc.), audience experience (e.g. Millennials, seniors, marketing to women, etc.). One extreme example of this is Liz Gumbinner, who is on TV all the time talking about her experience understanding the parenting market. Liz doubles as an ex-Deutsch creative director so she is a diverse individual! Diversity of experience, diversity of thought.

 

Outlook on life. This form of diversity is influenced by race, gender, religion, etc., but is not defined by those things. It's about who they are as people and how they look at life. I know every single expert in our ranks as I've worked with them personally. To a certain extent I know their values, politics (mostly), and cultural tastes and opinions. I even know what kind of music some of them like. Diversity of outlook, diversity of thought.

 

What does it all mean?

When it comes to creative outcomes, "diversity" when defined only by the color of one's skin or by one's gender is not enough. The only "diversity" that matters to creativity is diversity of thought

Because in the end all we care about here at Ideasicle is solving our clients' problems using a flurry of ideas. When everyone thinks the same, the outcome is predictable. When diversity of thought is deployed, there's no telling what the team will come up with.

Contact me to learn more at willb@ideasicle.com.

 

Will Burns, Founder & CEO

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