Blog: Scott Trudeau

In today's interactive web world, businesses in the Great Lakes region need to be more than just a flash in the big 'ole pond. Avid windsurfer Scott Trudeau, president of Daggerfin, a growing creative services agency, will dish on marketing and branding for the little guy and how we can attract more creative types to the area.

Scott Trudeau - Post 2: Creativity is a Buoy in Our Tough Economy

If thinking outside the box is critical for survival in poor economic times, how do you get outside the box in the first place? I like to leverage creativity. Creativity is manifested in many different forms: through ideas, concepts, processes, language, visuals, communication, etc. — just about any task or situation you can think of, creativity can be applied to it. Multiple solutions await any given challenge. The key is fostering an environment and mindset that continually stretches your organizations approach to finding "out of the box" or "creative" solutions.

Getting started:

When we apply creativity to help a client address their challenge, the first step is to think and act like our client. Viewing the world through their eyes is a refreshing exercise. Experiencing situations from their perspective creates a springboard from which solutions can germinate. Having critical insight from our client's point of view helps us better understand their pains and the immediacy of a situation. Therefore, we can more effectively act as an extension of their team.

Second, we can now fully take advantage of contrast (looking at the problem objectively from multiple outside perspectives). These can include stakeholders, influencers, partners, and customers. Now that we understand the situation from all angles and have empathy for user experiences, it's time to share insights within a team environment. Every detail.

Creating an environment to share ideas.

Creating a sharing environment takes time, practice, and commitment from everyone. Sharing and collaboration is paramount to creating successful creative solutions. It sets the stage for gathering different perspectives while triggering a chain of thoughts that lead to bigger, better, and unexpected ideas. The progression of great ideas does not happen in a vacuum or by one individual.

Brainstorming is one of my favorite activities to foster this process. It's where great ideas are born or expanded. Following are a few simple rules we apply to maximize our brainstorming sessions.

 • Create a comfortable environment. If it is indoors, I like to select a location with windows so everyone can see out. This helps eliminate the feeling of being "boxed in."

• Keep it open and free flowing. No suggestion is off limits. A good idea can come from anyone, anywhere. Participation by everyone is key. Make sure everyone feels comfortable with expression. Laugh, lighten up, have fun. Sometimes a good joke will trigger a great idea.

• Movement is critical. Have enough room to walk around, get up off your seat, wave your arms and stretch if you need to. Good ideas are often filled with excitement and passion. Embrace it!

• Document everything. Write your ideas down, take photos or capture the event on video. It's a good exercise for everyone to see them after the session as well as hear them live.

Leverage your creativity.

While it's important to foster a creative environment for ideation purposes, leveraging the creative process is just as important:

•    Filter your ideas from your brainstorming session. Remember the insights gleaned from the multiple perspectives exercise?

•    Present solutions that can be implemented - solutions that directly address the mission-critical challenges.
•    Present your ideas from your client's perspective, through the lens of their world. Presenting from this perspective will ensure buy-in and a greater chance of successful implementation.

Once you and your team get comfortable with the brainstorming process, invite your clients to join you the next time.