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Optimizing Creativity for Business Impact: Part Two

Sarah IsbitzFebruary 24, 2021 / 3 min read

In part one, we looked at three methods for optimizing individual creativity. In part two, we’ll continue to examine this topic in the context of team creativity, through five methods that work at the scale of the group.

Editing

Businesses need an authentic narrative to connect with consumers and create impact, and this requires editing. There can be no clear, compelling story without it.

We arrive at cogent, impactful solutions by distilling all of the ideas we’ve generated down to one: the end result of what’s often a messy, fluid editing process. As necessary as ruthless editing can be, it can be challenging when clients develop an attachment to the ideas they’ve generated. This makes sense, of course—we all fall in love with ideas! But the role of design is to balance idea generation with editing, to guide the distillation process and arrive at a refined solution that can be understood and implemented.

Simplification

Organizations that lack momentum are discovering that simplification can rally clients and consumers around a fresh, creative vision.

The goal of simplification is to train an organization to identify the essence of their ideas or concepts, leading them towards what is most critical in achieving their goals. For example, simplification helps organizations identify which products, processes, and concepts make them more agile and adaptive. Underlying this practice is the simple fact that we function better with fewer choices: simplicity is a path to confidence, through clarity.

Prioritization

When we move too quickly and embrace only what we already know, we don’t tap into the full richness of the mind and the heart. Harnessing the full potential of both is critical to creativity.

Prioritization means choosing what is most important at any given moment. Paradoxically, being able to prioritize with agility is a way of moving faster, not slower. It’s ultimately more effective to do the next best step, rather than trying to predict all the steps that will lead to a desired outcome. Especially since each step can often change the array of options as you move forward.

Iterating

Teams that feel confused, tired, and stuck are switching gears to re-energize and re-engage productivity and potential solutions.

When a team is deeply engaged in a design project, it’s tempting to refine ideas and solutions until they feel “perfect” before sending them out for feedback. But often, you’ll get more done by taking something 80% of the way to “perfect” and then getting it out there. By working in shorter, iterative segments, we become more productive than if we’d just pushed through to an end result. The value of getting feedback sooner opens up perspective and keeps us from spiraling. Switching gears is an opportunity to return to a more productive mindset; stepping away when we are stuck is usually more powerful than pressing on.

Communication

An idea goes nowhere unless it reaches others’ hearts and minds. Communicating effectively can start a movement, and catalyze change.

Good designers don’t just develop ideas, they also communicate them clearly. The best designers make sure they understand the problem, and the solution they’re proposing, as deeply as possible. This depth of familiarity makes it possible to speak in simple, bold, direct terms, which can ultimately make the difference between a good idea that gets executed and one that quietly dies.

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