Ideas that have value are important for the progression of any organisation. As a result, an emphasis on the perceived ability of the communicator to generate winning ideas is becoming commonplace. However, you may feel that you aren’t naturally creative and struggle to think of ideas that carry much weight, and, quite frankly you would prefer to leave it to the ‘arty’ types to do what they do best thank you very much.
Consequently, with that thought process, we are only contributing to one of the biggest myths that surrounds creativity, the ‘eureka moment’. Lets face it such moments are few and far between, even for ‘creatives’ and in trying to come up with something totally original we try to hard, over engineer things and look for something that ultimately isn’t there. Most creativity is actually incremental – ideas grow, develop, progress, adapt and often emerge in a fairly haphazard way. For example according to the UK Patent Office, 95% of new patents are merely adaptations of existing ones.
Take a look around at some well known products and services that have contributed to the most successful companies in history. There you will find that the majority have been born out of slow burning ideas or mere adaptations of something that already exists.
One of the best examples of this comes from a man called, Alfred Bird. After serving an apprenticeship to Phillip Harris of Birmingham, he registered as a pharmacist in 1842 and became a qualified chemist and druggist. In 1837, Bird invented an egg-free custard, (due to his wife being allergic to eggs) supplied in powdered form. Advertising started around 1875 and Bird’s Custard quickly became known as a wholesome and nutritious food. It is now considered one of the most recognised brands in the market, consumed by millions and a great British export.
We can all learn from Mr Bird, his idea was a simple adaptation to something that was already there, he didn’t reinvent the wheel and nor did he try to, most people who do try are doomed to be run over by it. As communicators, we shouldn’t be scared to express ourselves, nor scared of ideas that are laden in simplicity. In truth, the solutions to many problems can be found on our own doorstep, yet we are all guilty of trying to desperately seek them elsewhere first.