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Diversity: Your Surprise Button

By | News

Disruption. Reinvention. Transformation. Those are the buzz words that have shaped much of the editorial in the ad agency biz over the last few years. Rightfully so. A curious force that goes by the name Digital has been reshaping every facet of the trade for more than a decade. And continues to do so. But it was at a big trade conference hosted in the name of transformation (4A’s 2016) that another buzz word got a grip on the conversation: DIVERSITY. And it’s still buzzy months later.

The issue of diversity surfaced in the wake of too many Mad Men scenarios in too many upper management circles in too many geographies, typically expressed in gender inequality and sexual harassment, ethnic tensions and lookalike cultures (rather than lookalike audiences).

Let’s agree: it is ironic that an industry so shaped by culture, so reflective of culture, so immersed in culture, lags so far behind culture in erasing boundaries, shattering stereotypes and rising above exploitation.

Ali Merifield has wise words regarding diversity in her May 11, 2017, column in Campaign US:

“Diverse teams mean people coming together from different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and educational baselines.” – Ali Merifield

Notice she doesn’t even mention gender or ethnicity, which are the diversity hot buttons. Perhaps that’s by design. Ms. Merifield’s wisdom is in going beyond the headlines to get at the real values that make diversity worth seeking:

• celebrating individual perspective,

• stimulating remixes of culture and cultures,

• dissolving echo chambers,

• welcoming discomfort.

Of course, agencies can pursue diversity in staffing and even approach the mix of thinking it’s meant to deliver. But the aim of diversity will be scuttled if clients do not also accept or demand diverse thinking themselves. Clients have been known to train agencies to turn over strategies and ideas that fall into a comfort zone, in the name of branding. But even brands languish that seek stasis rather than dynamism. Clients, like their agencies, are subject to their own echo chambers, even as they often do lip service to seeking an expansive world of ideas.

To borrow from David Krakauer of Santa Fe Institute, we need to be open to SURPRISE. In this algorithm-driven digital world, we are growing accustomed to being served up films, songs, books and products that match our preferences. In social platforms we immerse ourselves in virtual gatherings of like-minded “friends.” Adjacency is efficient and comforting and can even be interesting. For a while. But finally, it grows boring.

“The tools we now possess, which are so incredible, should be allowing us to have freedoms that are unprecedented.” – David Krakauer

Algorithms end up narrowing our field of view when in fact, they should be instruments of surprise. And frankly, for the foreseeable future, it is the “human algorithm” that promises to be the most creative force we can imagine. As it always has been. We can all benefit from a surprise button as we surf through experiences, both virtual and real, all the while becoming more creative rather than more silo’d. Frankly diversity is not merely the just goal of enterprises and organizations, it makes the world a far more interesting – surprising – place!

Diversity Is That Surprise Button

We may achieve diversity by staffing diverse talents. But we should be doing everything we can to elicit additional points of view. Even ideas that are off-center can lead to a fresh place. Clients should revel in surprise, step out of the comfort zone, see where discomfort takes them. Agencies should engineer themselves to generate surprise. Diversity will deliver, assuming we have the will to pursue it.

“Championing diversity won’t be easy, but it will take you into new directions you didn’t expect.” – Ali Merifield

Boom Ideanet is one of those new directions: An on demand diversity resource that delivers creative thinking from trusted outsiders in a model you’d never expect to generate so much value. In-house agencies, agencies, brands can press the surprise button by engaging Boom. Diversity by design. Boom connects a network of talented people from across the geographic and cultural spectrum. Members hail from 25 U.S. states and 17 countries. While the network is vetted and members sign non-disclosure agreements, they are never asked to identify their gender or ethnicity. When they accept creative challenges they are asked to respect brand guidelines, but more importantly, they are expected to dig into their individual orientations, leverage their cultural experiences — and differences — to create original answers and offer up unexpected solutions. It’s a plug-and-play creative model predicated entirely on diversity.

Diversity, finally, becomes a kind of disruption. Which takes us full circle.

Boom.

Need a Great Idea? Breathe Genius.

By | News

“To have a great idea,” Thomas Edison – possibly America’s greatest inventor – proposed, “have a lot of them.”

“If you want to have good ideas,” Linus Pauling – renown scientist and only person to ever win two unshared Nobel Prizes – recommended, “you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away.”

Granted, this sound advice should be taken with a grain of 21st century salt. While these may have been two of history’s greatest minds, neither gentleman invented Uber…or, for that matter, even just “the Uber of something”; nor did either live in an era when they could’ve merely proposed, “Ideas? Easy. Google it.”

And, thus, following such facile and modern-day direction one discovers the wisdom of Wily Walnut and “10 Things to Do When You Need Ideas Fast!” Mr. Walnut’s initial sage nugget:

1. Breathe and get into state! You are a genius. 

Attention Uberpreneur: Don’t overestimate this glowing assessment; the same man who deemed you a genius felt it necessary to remind you to breathe straight out of the gate.

Speaking from experience, one need not be brilliant to remember to breathe or even to realize that if we all were, indeed, geniuses then the distinction and the very term to describe it never would’ve been necessary. Suddenly, to err is no longer human, to be a genius is.

“You are a genius, so move, breathe and act like one! It’s easy for someone like you to generate ideas – you are an Ideas Person!” 

God bless Google…not only am a genius, I’m an Ideas Person!

If only we could believe everything we read on the internet…if only more people realized we couldn’t…yet, even though we know better, it’d be difficult to deny our current collective philosophy – More! Better! Faster! Cheaper! – aligns far more fluidly with Wily’s wisdom than with Edison’s and Pauling’s disciplined, proven, and synonymous approaches.

Of course, we’re all mostly defined by the state of our era and its inherent limitations…well, most of us “geniuses” are, anyway. True genius defies supposed restraints, persistently asks “What if…” and eventually topples barriers, expands horizons, and recalibrates the limitations that define the rest of us. Be that as it may, and for all we owe the true genius of Thomas Edison (1847-1932) and Linus Pauling (1901-1994), neither esteemed mastermind benefitted from the abundant technology that defines our era.

To put it in perspective, the output of a 1950 forty-hour workweek only took 29 hours to duplicate in 1990. By 2015 that same production could be accomplished in merely eleven hours. It took the first forty years to improve by eleven hours, yet over the next twenty-five years we progressed to the point where the total output could be completed in only eleven hours. Eleven. Hours. Awesome…in it’s purest sense…intoxicatingly so…which might explain why we began to confuse this drastic and seemingly unfathomable advancement for our own personal evolution. We have the technology…we have the capability… we are better than we were before…better, stronger, faster. At everything.

Linds Redding – a former Art Director and unfortunate cancer casualty – kept a journal in which he attributed the origin of our misconstrued evolution and false feeling of bionic prowess to the moment when “the bean counters upstairs quickly realized we could just do three times as many jobs in the same amount of time, and make them three times as much money.” 

“Time moved on…technology overran, and transformed the creative industry like it did most others. Exciting new tools. Endless new possibilities. Pressing new deadlines… As fast as we could pin an idea on the wall, some red-faced account manager in a bad suit would run away with it. Where we used to rely on taking a break and ‘stretching the eyes’ to allow us to see the wood from the trees…we now fell back on experience and gut-feel. It worked most of the time, but nobody is infallible…generally standards plummeted.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (though, like Edison & Pauling, they recognize the power of mass input) to detect an indirect correlation between the technological revolution – the supreme intellect it’s bestowed each of us – and these plummeting standards. Of course, when considering the billion dollar valuations of companies at the forefront of this revolution, it’s hard to blame the bean counters, or damn-near anyone, for putting their standards on hold, or even up for sale, in an attempt to cash-in.

And thus driven by a desire to capture a unicorn, fortified by time-slaying technological tools, and tempered by a constantly imminent deadline…if we don’t do it someone else will…we prioritize ‘faster’ convinced speed will breed ‘more’ and ‘better’…or, at the very least, compensate for them. We debunk and dismiss Edison’s and Pauling’s wisdom as outdated advice from a seemingly prehistoric time handicapped by analog thought.

In the process we handicap ourselves and relinquish the true power technology has bestowed on us – tools that improve our vision to mine, recognize, and develop the best ideas; ideas that move us collectively forward while maintaining a set of standards to optimize that momentum. Otherwise, as Mr. Redding noted, “That one thing that we prize and value above all else – the idea – turns out to be just another plastic gizmo or widget to be touted and traded.” It was this very assessment that led Mr. Redding to the sobering revelation: “I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the whole thing was a bit of a con. A scam. An elaborate hoax.” 

Everything starts with an idea; to have a great one, have a lot of them. Armed with ample ideas you can do what you do best, whatever that is…like Edison, Pauling, or even Redding…to make something ‘better,’ ‘faster,’ ‘smarter.’ Earnestly addressing these goals fosters palpable value – something with far greater reach and lasting impact than ‘cheaper.’

Then, take a deep breath and get into state, you’re truly a genius.

-Gooch Denice, Relationship Director at Boom Ideanet

Infographic: A Snapshot Of The Idea Energy That Fuels Boom Ideanet

By | Blog, News

Who Powers The Ideanet?

Boom is not an unidentified mass. We’re a network of vetted, creative problem-solvers. Each with a signed NDA. Our free agent network is more selective, more motivated, more eager, more rewarded and rewarding.

If you have creative energy to spare, you want to enhance your experience, be exposed to new brands and new channels, find out more here. And consider creating a profile here.

7 Days. 31 Concepts. Client WOW’d. Boom.

By | Marketing Proof, Showcase

Atlantic Coast Agency Disregards Convention.

A mid-size shop who has a long-standing client relationship with a bank recently tested the Boom model. In the wake of bank leadership changes, the shop, looking to deliver robust creative thinking and impress the new team employed the Boom model and received innovative campaign ideas.

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Welcome to Anywhere

By | Blog

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“Good Ideas Can Come From Anywhere.”

Yeah, you’ve heard that one before. The claim has champions and detractors. Consider the LinkedIn posting by Jeremy Feldman in the Creative Directors Group, referring to Bob Hoffman’s essay on the “Devaluation of Creativity.” And, as I shared in Mr. Feldman’s comment stream, this argument is an endless loop. Both sides will endure, which is as it should be. But I’ll still weigh in.

Creative Directors get defensive about the source of ideas. Understandable, perhaps. Traditionally, agencies have had the corner on creativity, owning the conception and execution of great ideas. That may once have been the state of affairs. I dare say, no longer.

Believe me, there are great CDs and great creative agencies; agencies who have built hugely successful careers and businesses on the backs of great ideas. But great ideas are rare, even at those shops. Index the curve of idea quality for even the most notable agencies, and I’m confident you’ll see peaks and valleys, if not outright rises and falls. Not even the most renowned and disciplined creative talent can pull off a category-defining or brand-shaping bit of brilliance at will.

That’s why, perhaps even secretly, creative directors would love to have an endless source of ideas: A trustable source of fresh thinking to sift through, to finesse, to riff on. A resource that starts off being close-in, while also stretching the boundaries, manages to be both fresh and disciplined, as well as honoring a brief and respecting the brand.

Imagine: An “anywhere” that CDs can tap into any time.

Thanks to technology and idle creative capacity, anywhere is everywhere; as a network of vetted talent, distributed across the States and around the globe, designed to work with agencies and CDs. Not against them.

  • CDs don’t have to give up control.
  • CDs don’t have to abandon the brand or embrace user-generated content.
  • CDs don’t have to exploit the talent or break the bank.
  • CDs do get to do what they do: identify, refine, extend, enhance … direct.

Good ideas are out there. On occasion rare ideas. Especially when triggered by inspired and inspiring briefs. CDs can now focus a world of idea energy on a challenge. CDs can apply their genius to spotting a promising idea AND nurturing it into greatness. Just as CDs have always done. Boom.

-Swood

4 Teams. 25 Concepts. 2 Campaigns Pitched. Boom.

By | Marketing Proof, News, Showcase

Hot Chicago Shop Runs Cool With Boom As A Resource.

A hot shop in the Chicago market was caught under-staffed when a financial services client requested a fresh take on its branding in the digital space. The firm, pressed for time and in need of ample experienced input, tapped Boom and received more than 25 campaign concepts and dozens of tactical ideas

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5 Days. 39 Creators. 600+ Ideas. Winning Tagline. Boom.

By | Marketing Proof, News

In-House Team Taps Boom Firepower For New Tagline.

HyDrive Energy Water approached Boom to help develop a new tagline to augment its reformulation and rebranding effort. In just five days, 39 Boom creators generated over 600 tagline ideas. The HyDrive team narrowed that list down to10 favorites and one winner. Proof that our model is one great way to generate a volume of original thinking, fast. Boom. Read More

AICP Show

By | Blog

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Boom Ideanet recently had the privilege of sponsoring the 2016 Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) Show, touring in Kansas City on November 2 in the Crossroads Arts District of the city. The AICP Show, titled ‘The Art & Technique of the American Commercial’, truly lived up to its name. The event prides itself on moving beyond simply judging and awarding the best work in production and advertising throughout the year. Rather, the AICP Show creates an ongoing archive of top creative advertising pieces, all which have cultural and artistic significance. The work featured for the year, along with all honored work since its inception in 1992, is showcased in the archives the Film Department at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York. The work included in the Show is judged by more than 400 industry experts in the advertising and production professions.

The work showcased in this year’s Show included everything from music videos, to :30/:60 brand commercials, to public service announcements. Each of these pieces of work, in their own individual right, pushed the typical advertising and broadcast boundaries and raised the bar for campaign ideas and marketing content in general. The campaigns are on the leading edge of technology and production, while continuing to communicate the advertiser’s message.  Click here to view this year’s showcase.

In viewing even just a handful of these pieces, it is easy to see the high standard of work that is represented in this showcase. Boom Ideanet is pleased to have sponsored the event — and it is our goal that our work  would also reflect such a standard and culture of boundary-pushing creative thinking. It’s our belief that brands and agencies alike can use fresh, creative thinking to create significant, captivating advertising campaigns and rejuvenate current efforts. We pride ourselves on our ability to deliver just this. Of course, if your agency or brand would like captivating, original ideas contact Boom. We’re on it.