MT Expert - Innovation: Get your ideas out there

Savvy businesses can take lessons from the rescue of the Chilean miners this week.

Last Updated: 15 Oct 2010
I think its safe to say we were all glued to our screens watching the 24-hour coverage of the amazing scenes unfolding in the Chilean desert this week. It was a story that had it all; tension, drama, emotion, pride and, best of all, a very, very happy ending. You could almost hear the keyboards of any number of Hollywood screenwriters rattling along in time with the rescue capsule.

‘Now what’s all that got do with advertising?’ I hear you ask. Well, think of getting those 33 brave men out of the ground as the brief. Then think of the fact that all 33 men actually did get out of the ground as the final produced work. Now think of the team that took the project from brief to reality.

The job could have been given to the mine team, but they probably wouldn’t have cracked it on their own (tough brief!). So they looked at whom else they could pull in. That meant drilling specialists from the oil industry, mine rescue specialists from around the world, specialists in operating in confined spaces from the Chilean navy, psychologists, nutritionists and so on. And that’s before you even start thinking about all of those family members who kept giving those miners something to hold on to, to aim for.

So answering the brief called for some truly radical thinking and risks to be taken in an incredibly pressured situation. The Chileans took on the challenge, used every brain and resource they could muster and they absolutely cracked it - a clear two months before their deadline too.

The lesson is that they took themselves out of their usual way of thinking – ‘it’s a mine problem, let’s stick with miners to fix it’ – and managed to unearth (sorry!) a quicker, smarter and ultimately hugely successful solution.

Ok, its not saving lives, but when working in our industry you face similar obstacles. The way in which you approach these obstacles will inevitably play a huge part in the development of the idea. By taking yourself out of your usual way of thinking, by seeking stimulus from other worlds and sources I think you will come up with richer more engaging ideas.

We call this way of working Connected Creativity. It’s about involving people in the generation of ideas that might not be part of a traditional model.

It is often said that the most innovative ideas are born of necessity, and many times with little or no budget. What makes these ideas or hidden gems so powerful is their ability to forge deep connections with people, which will happen when you put the right people in the right environment.

It’s an old saying but great ideas can come from anywhere, so why wouldn’t you want people who come from as many different disciplines thinking about your business? If all of these great creative minds hadn’t come together for the miners then who knows where they would be now.

Connected creativity is our way to best collaborate; using our multitude of different skill sets.

Now more than ever, when budgets are tight and expectations are high, who can afford to lose great ideas. It feels like a ripe time to truly innovate and to give great ideas the best chance of seeing the light of day.

Paul Hamilton is managing director of Addiction London, a communications agency who work with some of the world's most well known brands including Remington, Krispy Kreme and B&Q.

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