Sleeping on the job: a creativity workshop with Andy Green

Sleeping on the job: a creativity workshop with Andy Green

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Innovation and creativity is the solution to thriving in a period of dramatic change in the public relations industry. That’s the view of author and brand communicator Andy Green. PR practitioners need to seize upon the disruption caused by double whammy of a toughening global financial environment and unprecedented media change, and make the shift from media relations to direct audience engagement says Green.

That’s a mantra you’ll hear oft repeated on this blog.

“The alternative is that the industry will either die or be relegated to a content generation arm for digital firms,” said Green

Green hosted an engaging and frequently hilarious workshop in Newcastle today for the CIPR North East group as part of a road show of events to launch the CIPR Innovation and Creativity Toolkit. The toolkit consists of 57 tools to enable practitioners to think and change faster.

Green believes that anyone has the capacity to be creative and that creative thinking should always start by asking a smart question.

Any problem he believes can be framed as a critical, tame or wicked question. Critical is good and can be used to kickstart creative thinking, tame questions have easy answers and won’t force fresh thinking and wicked questions are dead ends and should simply be dismissed.

“The heart of flexible thinking is asking the right creative question. Far too often in business we ask the wrong question,” said Green.

Green used a live example from the audience to encourage the group to try out some of the tools in his kit.

To Green’s credit he wasn’t fazed in any way when he was asked to help devise a plan to launch SmoothGroove, a product invented by a local firm that addresses the crudely named Camel Toe. Look it up for yourself.

Snakes and ladders sought to reframe the task in terms of the attributes of snakes (negatives) and ladders (positives). Solving the creative question comes from reducing the snakes and extending the ladders.

Another exercise reframed the positive and negative features of the London Tube Map to tackle the creative question. Borrowing the best and worst attributes of the iconic map forced fresh thinking.

Green believes that it is only by challenging a question using tools in this way that that it is possible to arrive at a strategic solution. Instead most people dive straight into tactics.

“The best ideas always come from reflection and incubation. The brain can process 500 stimuli per minute yet it is assaulted by 3 million,” said Green.

“If you want the best solution to a problem always sleep on it”, he said.

CIPR North East chairman Chris Taylor has also written up the event on his blog.

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