How creativity works

James Adidas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Carnes, Global Creative Director, Senior VP, Adidas

It’s not difficult to generate ideas, to generate something new. What is hard is to find out what resonates to people, so that they have this Ha-Ha moment when they see it, or use it.

For years we went through loads of creativity sessions, brainstorming of all sorts… those workshops never really succeeded. They have not even helped us show the value of creativity. When you let free thinking rule the agenda, nothing comes out of it.

The only thing I truly believe in is Insight – Customer Insight. As simple as that: talk to people. Why things have to be this way? You need to uncover things. You need to think about the benefit they see in things. So go ahead, and spend time with them!

What is a Big Idea?

Do you solve anything? Do you bring anything new to someone’s life?

What’s not??

How to make runners run better? Or run faster?

We were missing the only right question: why are they running to begin with? We just made the assumption for decades that people run because they wanted to be good runners. So they went to buy running shoes. In fact, that is true for way below 10% of the market… and declining.

People want to stay in shape, or they want to socialize, or connect with other people, a way of feeling better about themselves, an escape from work pressure, a confidence builder, … we really need to find out why they run to begin with. Our goal is just to increase the pleasure while they are at it – or reduce the pain, most of our customers hate running.

So it does not happen in a lab. You have to go and visit the locker room. What’s in their mind? What’s the ritual? The ceremonial?

If you – just – listen to what people say (focus group), you will come up with something small and boring. If you want to go for the Big Idea, you need to go beyond and uncover what is it they do not say, what is it they cannot articulate.

So, No, creativity is Not Design Thinking.

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