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The Speed of an Idea

Us marketers are in the industry of ideas and as we all know, ideas are valuable. How many times have you seen a great ad or concept and thought 'damn, I wish I had come up with that'.

Ideas can change the world. They have the power to change human behaviour, the power to create social change. However, coming up with the perfect idea can sometimes seem a little tricky. Sometimes we get stuck and can spend hours dwelling on one concept while neglecting the opportunity to develop another.

So, to make idea generating a little easier when working on creative projects, we introduce you to a new ideology in itself: The Speed of an Idea.

The Speed of an Idea

The Speed of an Idea is all about generating ideas quickly. It’s about not giving your brain the time to decide against it. It’s forcing your mind to build upon initial ideas and solve solutions. It’s a way of filling in the gaps and making weak ideas strong. It’s a form of thought shower, if you will.

Crazy 8’s

So how does it work? We introduce to you: Crazy 8’s. No, we don’t mean the notorious Breaking Bad meth distributor and gangster Krazy 8. We mean Crazy 8’s, the Design Sprint idea generating exercise.

Crazy 8’s is the process of folding an A4 bit of paper, (no bigger, no smaller) into 8 rectangles. Each rectangle warrants one idea, and one idea must never take longer to generate than one minute. Draw it. Write it. Do whatever you want to it but, make sure once the minute's up, you move onto the next idea. This kind of thinking and pressure forces your mind to generate, to produce. Do this in a room of 25 people, you have 200 ideas in 8 minutes. That’s pretty good going.

Stand back, choose your favourite (you only have a minute to decide, of course) and then go again. You’ve got another 8 minutes to build upon that idea. Produce eight versions of the same concept, fill in the gaps, make it better.

It’s high pressure, but very rewarding and almost always produces amazing results. Whether its a new social media concept you need to come up with or an innovative brand hook, Crazy 8’s is something you can use in everyday work. Made mainstream by Google, Crazy 8’s is a great way to get rid of that 'writers block'.

To explore more about the Crazy 8 concept click here.

One Minute Briefs

Another great example of The Speed of an Idea is 'One Minute Briefs'. A daily brain warm-up, One Minute Briefs (OMBs) is a innovative Twitter community. With a following of 15k, OMBs announce a random brief every day.

The aim of the game? To come up with a clever and intuitive answer to the brief in just one minute. The briefs aren’t your conventional briefs. They’re to the point. For example ‘Advertise: National Kiss a Ginger Day’, ‘Advertise: Nutella’ or ‘Advertise: Braille’. OMBs invites its vast following (also known as OMBLEs) to take to Twitter to answer these short briefs in a bid to be crowned winner of the best idea. OMBs as a concept encourages imperfection, it encourages conceptual thinking and big ideas in a small space of time.

Creative Designer, Tommy Mason's, OMB for 'National Nutella Day' - just before Valentines day!

Creative Designer, Tommy Mason's, OMB for 'Braille'.

Creative Designer, Tommy Mason's, OMB for 'National Ginger Day'.

A supportive online community, OMBs are not only a great way to get your work out there, but also a fun way to make new connections within the industry. Often, brands will get involved by setting their product or brand name as the brief of the day as a way of generating hundreds of ideas in under a minute. It’s a great example of using social media, to be social.

Want to explore more of OMB and get involved with fast thinking? Follow them on Twitter here.

So, the next time you’re struggling with a new idea, grab a bit of A4… you know what to do. (Or give us a DM and we can help you come up with something new and innovative!).


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Marketing Island is an award-winning online marketing magazine set to inspire those in the digital industry.