Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Technique for Producing Ideas (Advertising Age Classics Library) by James Webb Young 1965

As the title says a book about the process of how to get ideas. But instead of describing this process for you here, I urge you to read the book yourself. And I just give you the best ideas from the book. Not the process.-

„This has brought me to the conclusion that the production of ideas is just as definite a process as the production of Fords; that the production of ideas, too, runs on an assembly line; that in this production the mind follows an operative technique which can be learned and controlled;“

He is convinced that most people in advertising can have ideas. They are just no pursuing them hard enough. Or work for it.  „The speculator is the speculative type of person. And the distinguishing characteristic of this type, according to Pareto, is that he is constantly preoccupied with the possibilities of new combinations.” „Every really good creative person in advertising whom I have ever know has always had two noticeable characteristics. First, there was no subject under the sun in which he could not easily get interested-from, say, Egyptian burial customs to modern art. Every facet of life had fascination for him. Second, he was an extensive browser in all sorts of fields of information. For it is with the advertising man as with the cow: no browsing, no milk.“„The more of the elements of that world which are stored away in that pattern-making machine, the mind, the more the chances are increased for the production of new and striking combinations, or ideas.“

He cites Pareto in the following „namely, that an idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.“ „The second important principle involved is that the capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships.“„To some minds each fact is a separate bit of knowledge. To others it is a link in a chain of knowledge. It has relationships and similarities.“ „It is not so much a fact as it is an illustration of a general law applying to a whole series of facts.“

Young then goes on to describe a process of 5 steps to develop ideas. Two steps in his process we tend to ignore today. The first one is surprising: „Getting it (all information on the subject and the people we talk to) is something like the process which was recommended to De Maupassant as the way to learn to write. "Go out into the streets of Paris," he was told by an older writer, "and pick out a cab driver. He will look to you very much like every other cab driver. But study him until you can describe him so that he is seen in your description to be an individual, different from every other cab driver in the world." This is the real meaning of that trite talk about getting an intimate knowledge of a product and its consumers.“

„Instead of working systematically at the job of gathering raw material we sit around hoping for inspiration to strike us.“ I’d like to add that the constant feeling of a quick deadline doesn’t help either and that we after we had 2 days of coming up with the idea, it then gets lost for weeks in alignment meetings.

The other step in the process that is easily to be lost in an achievement to be more effective is equally important: „In this third stage you make absolutely no effort of a direct nature.“ „It is important to realize that this is just as definite and just as necessary a stage in the process as the two preceding ones. What you have to do at this time, apparently, is to turn the problem over to your unconscious mind and let it work while you sleep.“ „So when you reach this third stage in the production of an idea, drop the problem completely and turn to whatever stimulates your imagination and emotions. Listen to music, go to the theater or movies, read poetry or a detective story.“

„In the first stage you have gathered your food. In the second you have masticated it well. Now the digestive process is on. Let it alone-but stimulate the flow of gastric juices.“

"Constantly Thinking About It" Now, if you have really done your part in these three stages of the process you will almost surely experience the fourth. Out of nowhere the Idea will appear.”

No comments:

Post a Comment