Friday, November 18, 2011

Do ideas really take too long?

There's an article in today's AdAge arguing, as many people do today, that agencies take too long to produce ideas.

It's an interesting read. And makes some valid points.

But in my experience it's not the creation of ideas that eats up time it's the sheer number of people circling around the process.

Whether that's internal meetings and review sessions. Client presentations. Debriefings. Legals. Etc etc.

Regardless of all that the key to success when having an idea, and also understanding how ideas happen, was put into words by the legendary James Webb Young a long long time ago.

His book "A Technique for Producing Ideas" is as relevant today as it was when it was first published.

I put it on the reading list of the Advertising Degree at RMIT.

For those who are not familiar with it. And for those who think the clever people who have ideas take too long doing it. Here is James Webb Young's book reduced to a short list. I found it in the comments to the AdAge article.

1. Gather your raw materials

2. Work over these materials in your mind

3. Stop thinking about it and let the unconscious mind take over.

4. Give birth to the idea

5. Shape and develop the idea

It's not the creating that takes timeā€”it's the incubating.

Hat tip to Steven Stark for the comment.