In an industry in which individuals and agencies are worth as much as their most recent work, i.e. campaign, the search for cool ideas is constant. That elusive cool idea, the next best thing, is the holy grail of every creative worker and agency. It is always elusive, because there is no formula or single definition for “cool”. But that “cool”, new and original is the easiest to catch at agencies, and most of the time – by copying!
Yes, by copying! Not THAT copying, though.
We are one of the industries lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with a range of different industries and gain insight from various forms and ways of doing business, various patterns of consumer behaviour in different segments, and simply gain access to a range of things that others do not have.
What we can do is replicate and copy these insights from one industry to another. From one environment to another. The in-depth insight or tried-and-tested mechanisms from one industry or one type of business become new insights and original ideas as they move into the new environment of another industry.
What do a car dealer and a foreign-language school have in common? The answer is: a test drive. Everyone in the automotive industry knows that if you can get a potential buyer to have a test drive, a successful sale is guaranteed. When the same model is applied to education, e.g. a foreign language school, and students are allowed to take a “test drive” at a trial class – the outcome is the same.
Two unrelated industries, one insight and one new and cool idea in the field of education.
This is also in line with modern theories and research that has shown that creativity is stimulated through exposure to a variety of different inputs.
Another element crucial to giving birth to cool ideas is time. Time we spend exposed to various industries and inputs, time we spend actively thinking and creating ideas – in short: experience! It also takes time for the idea itself to mature. After absorbing all the inputs, it takes time to process them and rearrange them into new and cool ideas.
But the most important role of time in creating cool ideas is timing. Cool ideas are ahead of their time as they are on the hunt for zeitgeist and predict what will happen.
And when they do, it’s only a matter of time before someone else will see them, absorb, reinterpret, upgrade, and copy them in one of their own new stories.