Thursday, October 1, 2015

Where are all the good ideas?

I have a good idea: let's stop saying, "a good idea can come from anyone and anywhere."

It's Bullshit.
And the people spouting that nonsense know it's bullshit.

It's Morale Building 101.

"Yeah, we can't give out raises or bonuses this year. And nobody gets an office. And we'll need you to work the weekend, Christmas weekend, but the good news is we're all in this together and who knows who'll come up with the game changing idea."

Based on years of experience, I can tell you it won't be the Assistant Account Coordinator who regularly messes up the late night dinner orders.

It won't be the old Media dude who has been crunching numbers since they introduced the Donovan Data System.

And I'll put my nuts on the block and posit it won't be the bean-counting office manager Nazi who has set up a DropCam in the mailroom to see who has been pinching the purple Post It notes.

Because here's the truth of the matter, a good idea is rare. And it needs to be nurtured, protected and supported. Not tossed in the waste basket because it's only the first or second round of presentations. Not marginalized because it's a smidge to the left or right of the precious strategy. And not minimized by pinning it up on a wall with a hundred, scratch that, a thousand mediocre ideas gathered at the agency brainstorming session.

Or Idea Rumble.

Or Synapse Symposium.

Or Conceptapolluzza.

Or whatever fakarkta name some clever ass-nugget in Planning came up with.

I'm all for the democratization of technology, but diametrically opposed to its ugly cousin, the commoditization of creativity.

There isn't a formula for what we do. There's no science to it. It's a little commerce mixed in with a lot of magic. And sometimes the recipe can be amended with a generous helping of caffeine and a dash of Vicoden.

Moreover, it takes experience. I didn't have a good idea until I spent 17 years spitting out bad ones.

Sadly, at least in the ad world, we are not drowning in a sea of good ideas. The landscape is as barren  as a 10 acre parcel of unsold land in the Mojave desert.

Of course, this is just my opinion. A perspective. A theory, if you will.

Should you require any further evidence, I invite you to turn on your television.


george tannenbaum said...

Thank you for this.
I would have written it myself.
But it was your idea.

gl said...

Good ideas are not rare at all. Though people with with the vision to recognize a good idea, the ability to push it forward, and who lack counter-good idea agendas, they're extremely rare.

Salty said...

Good ideas come in the first round. And are killed because they're in the first round and shmucks with not one milliliter of creativity believe that "more is better." I've wanted to affect fantastic violence against the owner of my agency because he is one of those people whose built a career on dressing up shitty ideas and selling them with a pound of sugar because he can't do any better. And when he sees better ideas than his, he thinks it's a fucking competition. To him, this is just an image business. The craft of it is lost upon his barren right brain.

Would be assassins please reply @Salty. I can pay in cheap beer and snappy headlines.

Conor said...

Excellent, excellent post. I'm going to share it on Linked In. And maybe buy your book.

Anonymous said...

My personal experience is that when I put forward dozens of fully integrated campaign ideas on the wall everyone thinks that's just my job (I'm a copywriter) but when someone outside the creative department puts a single solitary one-off on the wall people stroke themselves raw from giving them praise and adulation.