I was explaining the Ideasicle concept to a prospect on the phone the other day—specifically, how virtual idea generation allows our Experts to be creative in the way they want to be creative—and after I was done there was a short pause. Then the woman said, “Sounds so…human.” I had never heard someone say that before, but it’s very true and got me thinking about all the ways our virtual model of idea generation, while 100% virtual, is still 100% human.
Humans create differently.
Let’s start with the point that inspired our prospect to this “human” idea. Not everyone creates the same way. Some like to focus for three hours and crank out ideas. Some like to take in the inspiring brief and then live life knowing that ideas will hit them when they damn well please. Others will do a combination, where they schedule an hour a day to focus hard and then let it go for incubation time.
Further, some people are most creative in the morning, others at night. Some while walking, some while staring out at the lake off their back porch.
At Ideasicle we have no meetings. No designated times for creativity. No designated “ways” to be creative. We simply post the assignment, invite the Experts team and then let them be creative the way they want to be creative. They can post from their computer, their tablet and even their phone, so no matter where in life an idea hits them, they can post it.
As one Expert put it, “I wouldn’t say we’re more creative because we’re virtual, we’re just allowed to be creative in an environment and at a time that’s conducive to our own individual creative process.”
Of course, we expect ideas to be posted frequently, but we don’t prescribe when or how. We leave it to each Expert’s individual humanity.
Minimizes human insecurities.
Creativity is a very intimate and delicate thing. Sharing an idea with someone is like sharing a piece of yourself and, if you have any insecurities (and who doesn’t?), then traditional methods of creativity can unwittingly filter out genius ideas.
Take a typical brainstorm. You’ve got a room full of 8-10 people, maybe a moderator, empty whiteboards on the walls and exactly one hour. Ironically, at this point it’s our humanity that gets in the way of creativity. There’s the loud guy dominating the conversation. There’s the quiet, shy person not saying anything. There are politics between colleagues that they may not admit exists, but still does. And, yes, there is bias in the room—gender bias, racial bias, age bias, you name it.
If creativity is an intimate and delicate thing, a physical brainstorm is its kryptonite.
At Ideasicle the Experts working on an assignment are reduced to a typeface. None of the bad side of humanity can get in the way of the creative good side. No intimidation, no talking over each other, no bias, nothing. Just a computer screen in the comfort of an Expert’s home, the visibility into the ideas that the others have posted, an easy way to think about and post your own ideas and, yes, the typeface in which your ideas are posted.
As one Expert put it, ““I think we relish the discussion and ideation with zero inhibitions because most of us don’t see each other face to face and, so, have no worries about boundaries.”
Four humans are better than two.
Typically, ideas in the communications space are demanded of teams of two: a writer and art director. That’s better than putting all the pressure on one person, but we’ve found that four is exponentially better than two. Here’s why.
With two people working on an assignment you get two perspectives colliding. Not bad. But if you have four people working on it together, each with a different outlook on life, a different set of talents, a different roster of professional experience, then more magic can happen in less time.
Interestingly, we’ve found that more than four becomes a problem, too. Too many people can dilute responsibility, but it can also increase the tension. These Experts are tier one professionals in the ad biz, so if there are too many on the team I’ve noticed the Experts tend to clam up and/or try too hard to impress by posting only perfectly polished and thought-through ideas.
Four is the ideal number because we get the exponential effect compared to one or two, but it’s not so many that they are inhibited to post half-baked and sometimes stupid ideas (which often lead to brilliant ideas).
So imagine a PR person, a cultural anthropologist, a writer and an art director all working together, all emboldened, all on equal footing and all powerfully “reduced to a typeface.”
That’s maximizing human creativity.
Ideas are who the Experts are.
This might be my favorite proof-point that Ideasicle is a more human way to create. These Experts were born to create, to come up with ideas, to innovate. They were NOT born to attend boring meetings, carefully manage client expectations or navigate the politics of a corporation.
In that sense, Ideasicle allows these Experts to be more of who they are, at least for a little while. They don’t have to worry about clients or meetings or expectations (other than mine or those of their team) or presentations or any other bothersome logistics typically loaded onto the creative process.
All they have to do is come up with ideas. And they love it. One Expert called Ideasicle “an idea video game.”
Another said, ““It’s a rare setting. Ideas are all our conversation threads are about. Ideas and momentum and building off one another. It’s pure ideation and in there is where the secret sauce is for Ideasicle.”
And yet another was quite clear, ““The way I see it, Will handles all the bullshit parts of this business that I hate and that frankly I suck at. I like thinking and writing about ideas, and I like daydreaming. That’s what I know how to do.”
So there you have it. At Ideasicle, we make humans more creative by making creativity more human.
Take that, AI.