One of the major economic beliefs is that demand dictates supply.
So before anyone opens a factory to make anything, they have to check out that there’s a market for it.
It’s no good building something on a whim.
Much better to find out what’s wanted first, then make that.
That way there’s less risk.
This really doesn’t work with creativity.
We can’t sit around waiting to have an idea until someone gives us a brief to have one.
Then we turn on the idea tap, have a brilliant idea to that brief.
And turn the tap off again until the next brief.
Ideas are like sport or music.
You have to train every day or you go stale.
And, like training, the purpose of having ideas is to get better at having ideas.
We had one art director who was holding onto a video he wouldn’t let anyone else watch.
I asked his writer what it was.
He said, “It’s a technique he’s seen that he knows will be great for something. He doesn’t want anyone else to see it and use it before him.”
You know what, he never used that technique.
And, what’s worse, that guy harmed his own creative ability.
People think their creative ability is like a well: the more they take out the less they’ve got left.
The truth is your creative ability is like a muscle: the more you use it the better it gets.
Think of the message that guy was sending out to everyone, including himself.
“I find it so hard having ideas I have to protect them like crazy.
Oh, and I’m not interested in helping anyone else at the agency, I’m just looking after number one.”
So what sort of reputation do you think he got?
Probably the exact opposite of what he was trying to get.
He thought creativity was precious.
So he hung onto it, scared stiff of losing it.
And, in doing so, caused it to wither.
And actually what are you saving it for anyway?
As George Bernard Shaw said, “I want to be totally used up when I die. I don’t want them to bury any unused parts.”
Use it or lose it basically.