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I love that first idea on inspiration. "Manipulate what they want" ... It's so much fun to do this! I love developing a body of material, turning it into a strong, suggestive piece, and turning loose the creative process. Invariably what comes back is spot-on.

well I do not agree with Collin (but I do agree the fact that he is smart and super nice). If we accept "creatives are very talented and smart so let's listen do them and support them without questioning", it would be so easy. It would be something like creatives working with genious planners, stop thinking of new ideas and start executing planners' ideas... In both cases awards and success may come but then?
Personally I love to work with creatives who are perfect startegic thinkers that I can learn from and work harder to do my job better than they do. And I believe that "creative" briefs make creatives feel the same way.

Russell, what's the difference between the dark art of re-framing the problem, and post-rationalising a creative idea? If it's mere sophistry, why's it so important? To convince the client? I'm not sure I follow. I'm sure you mean more than this, but I'm intrigued to know exactly what. 8-)


I'm not sure I know what I mean either. But I always wondered why post-rationalisation is such a crime. Surely it just means being rational after something, and if it just means being rational after (and about) a moment of creative inspiration, surely that's a bad thing.

What I might mean is this:

1. We look at a client problem. Make assumptions (collectively) about how it should be solved. We brief and proceed based on those assumptions.

2. The creatives do something unexpected and in terms of the problem we set; wrong. (Now it might just be wrong, if so if should be rejected).

3. But if there's something interesting about it (because interesting is so valuable) it's worth examining your original assumptions about the way to solve the problem and see if this new solution actually makes you re-see the problem.

4. You can call that post-rationalisation if you like.

5. I prefer to see it as the natural process of creating effective work. Which always involves doing creative and strategy simultaneously.

does that make any sense?

It makes excellent sense.
I suppose post-rationalising gets its bad name from the laziness and fudging that's often involved when trying to squash a bad solution into the right shape. Or when people pretend they always meant something they never did, just because it make them look better. Neither of which, I'd quickly add, you mean here, I can see.
Often the best creative minds will leap forward in some kind of weird synthesis to the 'right' solution spontaneously. But bashing the solution around a bit to make sure it's sound is crucial. Here's to positive post-rationalising. I like the idea of reclaiming these familiar criticisms.

Given the fever pitch of CPB buzz, Colin could have simply said that the source to CPBs ideas is that they had unearthed a black monolith that always whispered the truth in an undecipherable code intelligible to only his ears.

The presentation would have ended in 45 seconds and everyone would have believed him. Questions would have ensued, "Exactly how black does the monolith need to be, and which ear do you use to listen?"

Instead, he was very honest and approachable if not painfully humble. Refreshing.

ah, thanks for that re-framing bit

here's something we've used with a little success;
(think box with 4 directional arrows..i know, i know..)

2 axes cover; Speculation & Analogy -

What If..& How did another brand problem get solved, maybe in another category - call it best practice if you must..

What & How would be the other two axes (the actionable bits..)

a nice way to ideate if you're sitting around defining the problem - might be a nice start to sharpening the problem definition

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