Cannes takes place again next week. This festival of creativity is the holy grail for people in PR and advertising – who doesn’t want to be part of a team or agency that has won a Cannes Lion for their campaign? But this focus on the campaigns that hit the mark for Cannes has triggered me to ponder what creativity really means. Does it always have to be the big splash or a fame driver – or is the power of creativity the ability to think laterally and problem solve across a myriad of different scenarios? Many of them may be mundane to the outward glance, but often a small change that transforms the way we do things and has an immeasurable impact…
Our focus at Porter Novelli on creativity over the last six months has been focused on instilling a problem-solving mindset across everyone in the agency – from the finance and talent teams, to the strategic services team, to our account teams. Everyone, from the most junior to the most senior. Creativity is not just for the creative directors, it’s something everyone can benefit from – and despite many believing to the contrary, it’s something we can all do.
It can be finding a more efficient way to provide a report that frees up resources for activities that drive the results.
It can be a tweak of a headline or pitch that cuts through and grabs media attention.
It can be mining data in a new way that throws up an insight or stat that triggers the heart of a campaign.
It can be a new way of approaching a journalist to achieve that ever-elusive holy grail – a face-to-face meeting.
It can be how you host a meeting to get everyone engaged and ideas flowing.
It can be finding a different supplier or process that reduces costs and makes your client’s budget go further.
When considering everyday creativity we can all be inspired by two men who have achieved brilliant things by thinking creatively about the problems they encountered – Jeremy Gilley, founder of Peace One Day and Tim Smit, responsible for the Eden Project. Both brought me to tears as they delivered such an important message: don’t let anyone tell you no! If someone says you can’t do something, or an obstacle is put in your way – find a new way – and keep on going until you have achieved what you want to achieve. Both encountered naysaying in their quest to fulfil their vision and both went on to achieve great things that have a greater impact on the world.
Being creative requires having an open mind and perseverance to challenge yourself and those around you to think in a different way, building on ideas, rather than listening to our internal bias and shooting ideas down. So, get out of your rivers of thinking, quell that naysayer – have a positive mindset and can-do attitude. It doesn’t have to be the famous campaign that wins a Cannes Lion; small everyday acts of creativity can yield a huge impact.