Monday, 11 June 2012


Dotty enough for PR?

Nick Woods
At every agency I’ve worked at there has been a demand for ‘creative training’. Friends in other agencies say it’s the same in their places.

But is it worth paying for? Can an agency make its staff ‘more creative’ or should professional PR people, for whom creative thinking is a core skill, be accepting more onus personally to develop their abilities?

Steve Jobs geeks among you might recognise this quote:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

“Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.”

It’s not a big leap to see that this is as true of the PR industry as it was for Jobs and the design world. This is why I suggest to anyone working in an agency - don’t rely on creative facilitation or any other kind of creative ‘training’ to make you more creative – only you can achieve this by the way you live your life.

If you choose to experience new things, new people, new places, new experiences, new media, new holidays, new books, new sites and if you embrace variety, the likelihood is you will become a more creative person.

If you choose to contemplate links between things, you will become better at making those links.

You’ll create more dots and be better at joining them.

If you like what you know and know what you like and don’t ever look beyond, the likelihood is you’ll never have new ideas.

Creative training may have a role. But show me an exec who is constantly telling tales of new and interesting things and an exec who asks for creativity training and I know which I’d choose…

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