June 4, 2014 ben

Creativity with Limits

Creativity without limits is something that is banded about a lot. However is creativity really unleashed when there are no limits? Is the best work really achieved from a broad brief? Possibly, but the best creative ideas I have seen are where the brief is really narrow and tightly defined and the creative team come up with something genius from no where.

How have limits changed the way we communicate today then?

To give an example, if you look at all the blogs out there with limitless potential, who’d have thought of limiting your point of view to the masses would take off. Then twitter came along with its 140 characters and redefined how we consume our own personal news feed. It’s worth thinking, what would happen if meetings were only 30 minutes, emails only one sentence long and conference calls 10 minutes long? Ok maybe that is an irrational thought. Can this continue to evolve then? Think YouTube. Limitless video, create any video of any length on any topic. Then Vine comes along with its 6-second video length and some examples out there are incredibly creative, Zach King as one such example. Does this mean limits create the best creative ideas? Not always, but challenging individuals to think differently, can produce extraordinary results. So how does this change in the real world in relation to brands and their products?

Who is doing this today?

Here are some examples of where limitless and restricted creativity have created Frankenstein’s monster or a Faberge Egg. The first example I want to take a look at is in the automotive industry. A car design brief is issued to refresh an existing model, the Morris Marina. The result being a face lifted car called the Morris Ital. A car, which only shared its name with the Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign studio nothing else!

We’ve also seen other examples, in the form of the Austin Allegro and more recently the Renault Vel Satis, and I certainly thought “what were they thinking?!” In the other extreme is the motor sport industry. A sport which has strict regulations so that the teams are always pushing the boundaries within the limits or the rules, or interpretation of the rules. Some of the greatest innovations have come from this incredibly competitive and restrictive championship. Think of the 6 wheel Tyrrell, the ground effect Lotus or the Brabham Fan car. It doesn’t stop there with the recent double diffuser or F-duct, which was a clever exploitation of the rules in 2009.

So what has this given us then?

Simple, maybe we need to start thinking within boundaries and see how this affects our creativity. Can we brief our teams with a loose and very strict brief to see the output? How are you creating innovative compelling ideas in a restricted or regulated environment? Maybe this post is a little idealistic and now it has been mentioned probably a Schrodinger’s cat moment. Time to get back to the data and numbers and not the beautiful pictures!


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