www.hornallanderson.com/blog/brainstorming-out-to-launch

Brainstorming, Out to Launch

POSTED BY on Nov 18, 2014

Can’t have a brainstorm without Post-It pads and gold stars for golden ideas. A quick jaunt to Staples on Broadway for supplies.

One of the things that I may have in common with clients is my mixed-feelings about brainstorming sessions. When they work, they work. When they don’t, you leave wondering if anything valuable came of the time at all. That feeling happens after the good ones too, doesn’t it? But like anything else in our business, the truth is it just comes down to having the right people in the room and the right problem to solve.

Working from home takes on a bigger meaning when you host brainstorming sessions.

So enter the brainstorm of Eric, Loren, Kaz, Scott, Kristin and Tina. Once again, I borrowed the brainpower of exceptional people I know and trust for an evening of eating, laughing, debating and drinking. Or, just another night of industry geeks talking about the state of our business, only with big, newly purchased Post-It pads, markers and gold stars.

There was no shortage of hilarious ideas to do for the launch, including some involving actually launching things into space. If you are anything like Loren and Eric, designing, engineering and launching a satellite isn’t really that difficult.

Ultimately, what was promising to me was that as I laid out the philosophy of the breath of fresh Seattle air – an approach to a studio that operates with sincerity and openness – the group perked up. I found everybody not only agreeing, but also able to build and build on things rather easily. To me, the mark of a great idea is not how complex it is, but how easy it is for everybody to get it immediately.

Loren get’s a gold star for his brilliant, open, contribution.

When Loren likened the idea to open source platforms, everyone paused and then exploded. Being “open” was a thought that had been around, but it took this unconventional twist to send it into more interesting directions. I knew we were on to something when we were able to give it a bigger life than when we started.

We also tossed around ideas about how to communicate not just that we’re opening, but why. Scott's idea of “Do it” inspired a healthy debate about what it means to work in our industry. After what was a passionate conversation, we knew that something inspiring lived in this territory when someone said, “Do it – and mean it."

At the end of the evening, there were pages and pages of ideas — but what I had were a lot of disorganized ideas. Guys, another truth about brainstorms. The expectation that you’ll magically come up with the perfect idea in its perfect form right in that room is completely unrealistic (and is part of my mixed feelings about brainstorming). At the end of the evening, the most you can ask is to be further along in your journey than you were before.

It’s no surprise that after 5 hours of drinking we concluded that our signatures on a gigantic Post-It would make for the perfect artwork in our new studio…whenever and wherever that will be.

WRITTEN BY
Kathy Soranno is the Executive Creative Director and Managing Director of Hornall Anderson's New York studio. You can contact her at: k_soranno@hornallanderson.com.

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