TED Talk: Taking Inspiration from Mess

Creating something good out of a mess can be difficult… but the advantages to our problem-solving are immense.

In this TED Talk, Tim Harford tells the unusual story behind the best-selling solo piano and Jazz album of all time. The artist, Keith Jarrett, created a breath-taking experience, one that is still being enjoyed some 41 years later, out of a less than ideal situation.

What we can learn from Jarrett’s performance, and the other examples Harford provides in his speech, is that approaching a problem from a different angle has unforeseen and often extraordinary consequences. Stepping out of our comfort zone can do wonders for our work!

TED Talk: What’s your TRUE calling?

Plagued by the curse of having too many interests? Do you love to paint, write, do math, research….. and a multitude of other tasks?

In her TED Talk, Emilie Wapnick discusses what happens when you feel like you don’t have just one TRUE calling. But what happens if you don’t have to choose? Wapnick encourages us to think about all that we can be, incorporating all of our interests, rather than trying to simply think of one thing to be. Allowing ourselves to be these complex people makes us not only happier personally, but improves our quality of work. Can you imagine how much more dynamic (and happier) our world would be if we lived like this?

As far as product and product development goes, this means that you can develop products and services that fall into a wide range, but must still align with your brand. For example, if you sell organic fruits and vegetables, it would make sense to also offer health-conscious cooking classes or meal delivery. It would not, however, make the most sense to suddenly sell children’s clothing. While it’s great to diversify yourself and your brand, it must stay true to your intent—otherwise, it may be time for an entirely new brand, or at least some extensive rebranding.

TED Talk: Be Original

Be original. Be unique. Be fresh. Be different.

These are all things we strive to do in our campaigns. We spend weeks, months and even years developing strategies and ideas all in the hopes of differentiating our clients from their competition—of showing our clients that we offer them something different than anyone else can.

In his TEDTalk, Shimpei Takahashi proposes that we take time to step away from the traditional formulas for coming up with “data-proven” ideas, and create our own methods. While no new products or campaign strategies may in themselves come from these “games,” they take use out of our heads for a little while and encourage us to see things from a different perspective, one that isn’t consumed with the project and how to be cutting-edge. Takahashi makes the great assessment that in this time of brainstorming and developing, “Ridiculous ideas are okay. The key is to keep them flowing.” When we’re in the mindset of constantly creating new ideas, we are bound to eventually think of one that is exactly what we’re looking for.

So, next time you’re stumped, take a minute and let your mind run free… and see where it takes you.