How Practiced Spontaneity Inspires the Creative Process

By James Thorpe     |     November 29, 2017

Room 2 Think is our agency’s process for producing stellar creative work. It takes a deep dive over the course of many weeks and is a reliable and in-depth process for creating inspired campaigns. We also use a pared-down version of this process for our client’s monthly custom content. Here’s how we employ the same concepts on a smaller, quicker scale.

Practiced spontaneity

The energy of spontaneous expression is key to the creative process. But equally important is having the context and understanding to channel that energy in a productive way. The sweet spot is “practiced spontaneity.”

When team members are steeped in the brand’s identity, business goals, voice and personality, they bring that knowledge to bear while engaging in the spontaneity of the what we call a “spill”. In the spill, a diverse set of team members present ideas (or the start of one) to the group. At this point, it’s all about volume and getting past the obvious ideas to arrive at the more provocative and inspired ones. Combining a deep understanding of the brand with the openness of an uninhibited environment lets us produce new and exciting ideas.

Responsible concepting

After the spill phase, we move into concepting, where we dig into our favorite ideas, debate the execution, and hash out sketches and copy. Responsible concepting means developing ideas that are not only aligned with the brand strategy, but are also workable within the given constraints (timeline, budget). 

Paradoxically, the right limitations don’t limit creativity, they focus it. Putting guardrails on your concepting can help avoid too much meandering.  In addition to the creative brief, we also use our content strategy and themes to provide a consistent message and guide creative from month to month.

Act out of love instead of fear

An overlooked aspect of the creative process is the intent you bring to your work. Especially when practicing group creativity, ego and pride can damage the flow of ideas because vulnerability and empathy are crucial to the process. Being kind and curious about your fellow creatives is key: ideas that come up in the process aren’t always fully formed or presentable, and that messiness needs to be embraced. And when your in the middle of that messiness, it’s important to trust in the process – reminding yourself and the team that by continuing to agitate and vet the ideas, things will indeed come together.

With a fearless mind and an open heart, the creative process is always accessible. But it is an elusive companion and isn’t going to just fall into your lap. As Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

About James Thorpe

Copywriter, wannabe rockstar. James is a lifelong creative with an MBA who passionately eschews the right/left brain divide and moonlights as a puffy Cheeto evangelist.

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