When developing a brand, whether it is the concept, the look and feel or the logo, there is a typical creative process everyone seems to go through:
The Creative Process
- This is awesome
- This is tricky
- This is shit
- I am shit
- This might be ok
- This is awesome
Inspired by the work of others, we sometimes wonder, “How did they think of that? What is it they are doing differently?” (Grant, 2016) have noticed some things that a lot of creative people have in common. They are usually a little late to the party – procrastinating until they have to take action. Their creative process is a little different. Instead of doubting themselves, they question their ideas. Yes, they are afraid of failure (who isn’t?), but they aren’t afraid to take chances. These people choose to go their own way – let’s call them Originals.
Originals procrastinate, but they know the sweet spot. Finishing something right away (pre-crastinating) doesn’t allow time to THINK or come up with new ideas. Waiting until the very last second could rush the process and make the outcome an obvious afterthought. Have you ever put something aside only to come back to it later and find that the solution comes much more naturally? The procrastination sweet spot allows for time to be creative and the freedom to improvise and think of new ideas without over-thinking.
Originals are not afraid of bad ideas. Self-doubt is one thing, making people freeze with indecision. Idea-doubt is better. Test. Experiment. Refine. Instead of saying they are crap, Originals view the first few drafts of an idea as a work in progress. When someone is afraid to try out an idea, their biggest regret is often not trying it at all, not a fear of failure. Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t that judgmental of bad ideas. Originals have tons of bad ideas. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 way that won’t work.” If you want to be more original, you need more ideas.
Just because something has been done, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. The failure rate of a brand new idea (47%) versus one that has been improved upon (8%) is a huge margin*. Some food for thought: Facebook came after MySpace and Warby Parker came after others who sold eyeglasses online.
Originals are not that different from us. They procrastinate and have the same fears are doubts we all do. Whether you are coming up with a business concept of developing your brand – motivation can come from doubting ideas, allowing enough time for creativity and letting go of the fear of failure. You need a lot of bad ideas to come up with a good one.
Adam Grant, “The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers,” 2016 TED Talks; ted.com
Marcus Romer, “The Creative Process,” Twitter 2013; twitter.com