When PulsAero began as a creative agency, the team had one thing in mind: all of us are going to traverse this journey of creativity with the learning mindset. Hmmm...let's not call it 'mindset'. Because we are flexible people with a good capacity to turn, twist, bend, and break our brains. I am at a loss for the ideal word...so, it was going to be a lasting experience of learning while we work.
Diving deep for the first time in the creative realm, we PRACTICALLY encountered 'what creativity is in reality'. That was our first project with our first client. Everything started from a blank page...and we started uncovering the new world around us.
When we started, our target was the health industry. Because the launch of our creative agency happened during the beginning of the pandemic. From the in-depth research, we knew that the future of the health industry is going to change, disrupt, and rise. You can say the launch was more or less historical.
So, naturally, our first client was from the health industry. Her service as a nutritionist was long-established. She was seeking brand repositioning to bestow her brand with a fresh perspective. She wanted her customer base to perceive the brand with a different mindset. Of course, increasing clinic walk-ins was intrinsic.
I am not going to bore you with a lot of tales stuffed into one page. This phase of our learning about creativity was during the 'brainstorming sessions' of rebuilding the brand identity. So this entire blog post revolves just around that.
Every brand strategy project commences with 'Brand Discovery Process.' So, that's what we did. We immersed ourselves in the client's brand to dig out answers to all key questions. At the end of the discovery phase, when we got the necessary visual direction, we kick-started our creative process with brainstorming sessions.
The team sat on the brainstorming table. Together everyone began clarifying the expectations and goals for the project. Our very first task was brand naming**.** We had to come up with a name that exactly matches our client’s personality, vision, mission and values. While everyone in the room began sharing ideas, one person got busy taking notes. Some ideas were dropped immediately, some seemed irrelevant, and others remained unclear. One or two participants felt exhausted in the middle of the sessions. This happened for a few brainstorming sessions and nobody was able to further evolve those ideas.
We figured out where we were going wrong. It was time-consuming and challenging but worth the effort. Before the next session, all of us spoke about our individual strengths and tendencies. The participants that got quickly exhausted were introverts who required their own personal space to generate ideas before they could put it publicly. This was one of the most essential things we discovered. And the rest follows ahead.
How do you find out whether the ideas being shared on the brainstorming table are creative? When we began sharing ideas they were vague, coming from nowhere. When ideas come out unclear without purpose, they are not creative.
But what if someone puts ahead a crazy idea without any relevance to the problem at hand? Sometimes, people who find the idea creative strive to pull it hard and connect it with the problem. But in reality, the idea needs to sprout only from the seed of necessity. Because when you are sowing the seed of cherry, you don’t want an apple to grow there. Despite the fact that both are fruits, there is a huge difference between the taste and the benefits. So, we can call an idea creative only when it solves the challenge and meets the objective.
Typically, most of us assume that individuals with great imagination power are the most creative. But, interestingly, ‘imagination’ and ‘creativity’ are two different things. Imagination is the brain’s capacity to think of things that don’t really exist. Creativity is the process of transforming these intangible thoughts into something which you can look at and feel. Imagination is only the first step towards generating ideas. People who can imagine all night long without being able to act on it are not creative. However, a collaboration between an imaginative and creative person can be a key to reap extraordinary results.
Hence, the PulsAero team split itself for independent brainstorms before meeting up at the brainstorming table. Imaginative individuals sunk into thoughts their own ways and creative people took a different path. Extroverts came up with ideas while engaging in conversations and introverts excelled in their quiet cozy space. We hit the hurdles, jumped over it, and finally learned the art.
Even the greatest creations of all times were inspired by something created in the past. So, that’s how creativity stays forever in what has been created yesterday. It is ironic when we praise someone by saying, “your idea is so unique.” But immersing ourselves in that idea with a different spectacle reveals that it is the perfect permutation and combination of things. That’s what gives rise to an idea!
You may relate creativity with the laws of conservation of energy. With all the things considered, we can say creativity is neither created nor destroyed. Yet, it can change from one form to another to give rise to something purposeful. In other words, it means focusing on what’s already there, what’s not there, and bridging the gap.
A lot of people give up in frustration when they are trying hard to accomplish a project. Regardless of whether it is developing a brand strategy or designing a brand identity. At that point in time, they feel this as the ‘roadblock’. No! It’s actually a ‘milestone’ in the creative process. Ask any number of experts and they will tell you. Frustration, the ‘I don’t know what to do with this thing now’ is a part of the creative process. Best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, explains this aspect in an Inc. interview.
So, frustration is an essential part of being creative. When the problem at hand is extremely challenging and you are trying to solve that, you are headed on a creative journey. Would it be worth being creative when there is no challenge? Absolutely NO! Because the challenge itself triggers your creative brain to find the answer.
So we just got it right that creativity is neither created nor destroyed. It is just a discovery of things that mingle and match to give birth to innovation. PulsAero has now conquered it. And today, we have our very own ‘NICHE’ Rule to master brainstorming to unlock creativity.
Note down the Necessity
The most critical step before brainstorming: We gather to note down all the necessary points and to frame the brainstorming questions. For example, are you asking for ideas for a nutritionist or a way to holistic health? The latter was one of the key questions in our brand naming process. A small difference in the manner we ask the question dramatically changes the tone and scope of the solutions.
Spread for Independent brainstorming
After each one has the questions at hand, we disperse for independent brainstorming. This allows each participant to reach the full potential in their own space. Individuals with different personalities, the way of thinking and ideating create their brainstorming space and explore all possibilities.
Take time to Contemplate again
At this stage, every team member is ready with plenty of ideas, among which some are way too crazy. No matter how strange the idea feels, there may be a hidden treasure inside. On the other side, sometimes, the ideas that we like the most seem ‘not so good’ after second thoughts. Hence, this step enables every brainstormer to contemplate again and shortlist the most relevant ones.
Huddle on the brainstorming table
After each brainstormer is prepped up with the ideas, all huddle on the brainstorming table. Each one of us share the ideas one by one ensuring no idea is missed out. This step is also about sharing individual experience while brainstorming independently. Because it’s always useful to have insights into the approach each one of us took to explore the answers. Who knows, that might turn out as a provocative prompt?
Engage all the ideas
Without any judgements, without any criticism, we engage all the ideas. I know, it's hard not to criticize… but we learnt it overtime. Regardless of whether the ideas are excellent, simple, crazy, stupid or silly. All the ideas are stringed to play the best beats. Finally arrives the 'handpick' time when the best ideas are pulled out to meet the purpose.
This is not the end of PulsAero's brainstorming sessions - but the foundation.
In the effort to create the 'best beat' we just stopped trying to be A.R Rehman. We finally realized creativity is nothing when it has no connection with immediate reality and relevance.