Great ideas often come from debate

I’ve been in hundreds of idea sessions over the years, both productive and not so much. One thing that I have learned from these sessions is that ideas come in layers. There has to be a base off which to build, and that starts with the client’s message. After that’s been established, the conceptual floodgates should open up.

Start the conversation by asking a few questions:

  •  Who are you trying to reach? Even if the target audience is familiar, the content may be focused in a new direction to better connect.
  • How can this be illustrated differently? Ask “what if” questions. Don’t be shy and miss an opportunity to throw out innovative ideas. Provocative questions can often kick-start a conversation that points to an unexplored path.
  • How do you see the content visually? The writer may have imagined the content in a certain way. Understanding what they envision will help you tell the story.
  • Understand your client. Know when to let go and when to be passionate. If there’s no air in the room for change, don’t push. But if you have the type of team that allows for innovation and respects the creative process, make your case.

A bit of advice: Do your homework. Prepare before the meeting to familiarize yourself with the subject and what the client is currently doing. Preparation will ensure that you can lead the creative discussion.

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