Let us just say that, as a founder of Heflo, a business management tool, I’m irked and inspired by anything on business process optimization.
Whether you like the six hat approach or not, there’s no getting away from the fact that rational thinking is the lifeblood of creativity within business. The godfather of advertising, David Ogilvy, is on record as saying that “you don’t stand a tinker’s chance of producing successful advertising unless you start doing your homework. I have always found this extremely tedious but there is no substitute for it”. His point being that you need to understand a situation in fine detail in order to produce something that pushes at the boundaries of current thinking.
Gathering this information is the first step in a five-step creative process developed by Green, which also includes incubation, illumination, integration and illustration. Green believes that most ideas presented at pitches are “irrelevant, unworkable, or outside the client’s value system”. In his view, this can only be overcome through diligent information gathering and by asking the right questions, which requires a number of different ‘thinking hats’. Once this information has been gathered, it needs to be incubated in order to allow a great idea to germinate as part of the illumination phase.
The incubation phase can be brief, or it could take some time depending on the scope of the task at hand. It’s about giving your mind the time and space it needs to mull things over and make connections. That may happen while you’re sat at your desk, but for most people it tends to occur when they’re thinking about something else, or not actively thinking at all. While the conscious mind is distracted, the subconscious will be working away in the background, sifting information and linking things together in unexpected ways, until an idea pops into your head when you least expect it.
Often these unexpected ideas appear while falling asleep or waking up, or doing something mundane like showering or cleaning the kitchen. During exercise is another common time for a great idea to burst into life. I distinctly remember having a ‘eureka’ moment a few years ago while cycling across the Sussex Downs that provided the basis for a big upcoming pitch (which I’m pleased to say we won). The moral of the story here is that great ideas can take time, so that’s something that should be built into the creative process.
Happy ideation from us @Heflo.