Daily Dose

Creativity through Collaboration?

Dave Posted by Dave Creativity through Collaboration?

The other day, I listened to an iTunes University audio podcast about a company called FastPencil and I was quite intrigued. FastPencil claims that they will revolutionize the book publishing industry with fast print-on-demand technologies and no-pain publishing via their sophisticated online workflow system.

That's not new, but what caught my attention is their social "collaboration capabilities". They make it possible for you to receive public input into your book as you make your way through the writing of it.

It's an innovative application of social collaboration on the web, but while near the end of writing a book myself, the idea of engaging the public now or at any time while writing it scares the hell out of me. To think that after every time I post my writing to FastPencil, I might have anyone and his friend posting on what I should do next and what I should have done differently blows my mind. Would I ever be able to stick to my vision? Would I ever keep the faith that my original idea was a good one? How do I deal with the mass of opinions that aren’t mine at all?

I wondered if this kind of collaboration might creep into other areas of creativity, including my first passion, advertising. While various forms of this type of creative crowd-sourcing and collaboration have made their way into the realm of advertising, everything I've learned and witnessed in almost 25 years of advertising creation would suggest that the answer is a pretty solid “no”.

Will an online collaborator tell us that they wouldn't buy the product with the version of the ad that we just posted, but they would if we changed it up a bit? Can anyone know what would truly engage them without first experiencing the action of engagement? I really don't think so. To these kinds of questions, we offer answers that are what we think we should be giving, that we believe that a person of our character and intelligence should do. Not what we would do. People don't know what creative concept will grab them until it does.

And I think the same goes for books, especially fiction. There needs to be a vision followed by creative growth and a progression along the way to build something that can thrill a bunch of readers. Design works that way too. It works best, and almost only, if an individual massages a strategic vision through to fruition. Too many cooks spoil the pudding in more than just cooking.

The New Coffee Break

Lenore Posted by Lenore

Ahhh, the coffee break. Such a defined event in many industries, occurring at the same time every day, twice a day. Classic.

Not so much in advertising. It’s more like a ‘grab it when you can’ kind of thing around here. Coffee is gulped during pitch meetings, as drafts are proofread, while pushing out double-timed file prep and as presentation boards are being mounted. Oh sure, we (okay, mostly me) pop out to Starbucks occasionally for an overpriced caffeine fix, but for the most part it’s a treat rather than a twice-daily ritual.

But that doesn’t mean the brain doesn’t need a little downtime to reload.

As a copywriter, I can be working on 10-20 projects at any given time. That’s a lot of mind shifting - to dive into one project and give it my full attention, only to have to refocus shortly after on something completely different.

That’s where social media comes in. Running through the constantly updating news feeds on Twitter and Facebook (or more efficiently on Hootsuite) is like the ultimate palette cleanser between projects. I catch up on tomorrow’s breaking news in Asia, read a blog post about marketing to gamers, check out what’s for lunch at The Current, see how Lindsay Lohan accessorized her ankle-monitoring bracelet on the weekend…you get the picture. Not only does it create a break between the required compartmentalized thinking, it’s informative and inspiring. Which in turn, helps me become better at my job with each and every login. With a head full of fresh ideas, thoughts and images - I'm ready to put my head down and produce.

So I propose the classic coffee break become the new social media break. A ritual we all can (and should - given our careers of choice) adopt into our daily routine. A chance to pause, let the mind wander and even learn a thing or two before diving back into the day’s workload. 

Of course, don’t forget the coffee itself…because that never really goes out of style.

What others had to say:

Exactly what I do throughout the day and IT WORKS!!

Posted by: Leighton Wiebe | July 10, 2015

Great note! I agree. While we can be amazingly creative in our own world at Fusion, we need to connect with the rest of the world. That's what makes you so good, Lenore.


Posted by: Dave Wilkie | July 10, 2015