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Unlocking creativity in the workplace

Posted by janelle on October 27, 2010 in Uncategorized |

I listened to an intriguing free webinar on encouraging creativity in the workplace Tuesday during my lunch hour thanks to PRSA and Thomson Reuters.

Our instructors from CRT/tanaka, included:

  • Ellen LaNicca Albanese, executive vice president, consumer practice director, CRT/tanaka, who has more than 25 years of public relations experience creating programs for Fortune 500 companies like American Express, Avon Products, BISSELL Homecare, Charles Schwab & Co., Dyson, Liz Claiborne, Microsoft and Target.
  • Patrice Tanaka, co-chair, chief creative officer and whatcanbe ambassador, CRT/tanaka. Prior to leading the acquisition of her former agency by Carter Ryley Thomas, Tanaka led PT&Co., to become one of the nation’s most highly-regarded, independent public relations firms. During that time, the agency won 180 industry awards for its breakthrough campaigns.
  • Brian Ellis, executive vice president, whatcanbe director, CRT/tanaka. He is a 20-year veteran of CRT/tanaka and a member of its executive management team. He serves as the strategic leader of CRT/tanaka’s whatcanbe laboratory, where he is charged with helping existing clients and new prospects explore the possibilities of “whatcanbe” through the agency’s unique creative intelligence planning and programming model.

Brian led off with a fantastic two-minute drill to gather creative ideas.  I’m going to start using this when we’re brainstorming new ideas in staff meetings.

Then Ellen shared ways to diffuse negativity in the creativity process. How many of us have heard “It’ll never work” or “We’ve done that before” or “We don’t have the budget?”

Don’t give up when you receive these kinds of negative responses, Ellen advised. Use them as a means of starting the conversation. “Why do you think it won’t work?” “What did we do before?” “What is our budget?”

Then take the feedback you receive and demonstrate why your idea will work, how you can do it within budget and how your idea is a fresh version of something you may have done before. Offer to try your idea as a pilot project or scale it back to reduce anxiety about cost or scope.

Take-away tips for increased creativity:

  • Get focused
  • Start with smaller teams
  • Gather lots of ideas then build on the best

I’ll update with the slide deck when the link is available. Thanks, PRSA, CRT/tanaka and Thomson Reuters for the great free professional development.

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