Can you create an association between a dolphin and a windmill?
Non-linear thinking is an essential exercise for creative development.
Take two random objects and try to create a scenario that links them.
It puts your brain in a state of creative thinking, forcing abstract, tangential ways to solve problems.
Which is essentially the difference between thinking like an engineer (literal, lateral) and a creative (non-lateral).
Briefing an engineer, I reckon, looks a lot like most people brief creatives - a piece of paper with specific details on it that map out the specs needed for the job to be done.
The creative brief is a funny old beast, and plenty had been discussed about how that’s done on the web - see Beeker Northam from Dentsu speaking for D&AD on that topic.
I’m interested here on how we brief.
Because much of how it’s done now doesn’t put creatives in the best place to come up with ideas.
I guarantee the first thing most creatives do after receiving a brief is Google the client, or similar advertising solutions.
It makes the work derivative of other work.
It’s one step of free association from the starting place.
One degree of inspiration.
I like to take them further degrees away from this.
Make the work more original, and therefore more successful.
So here are a couple of key things we do that are designed to work with the creative mind:
They’re called the 'Nolans':
1. Inception - seed the brief early and let it grow in the mind. We do it a week early.
2. Memento - Write it all out super clearly so it makes sense when you wake up the next day.
3. Interstellar - We go far away from the office. For our record label client, we go to Rough Trade Records. For Glenfiddich we go to a high-end bar.
And it works.
We get better work, sooner.
Oh, and my answer is a wind machine making waves in a dolphin tank at Sea World.