Watt creates light bulb moments
If I had a dime for every time someone asked me, ‘How do you come up with your ideas”, I’d have a lot of dimes. Of course, when you’re younger in ad agencies, you work in a team and bounce ideas off each other. There was a certain team etiquette. We always gave credit privately to the one who actually said the words or produced the visual. Bad form to say it was your idea after a brainstorming. It was a shared glory, a collective ownership.
The thing is, years of brainstormings do ultimately train you to brainstorm on your own. Seems like an oxymoron, but it’s kind of like creating a flash mob in your head. You just have to be willing to be surprised by yourself. And you have to let go as there is enormous comfort in sharing responsibility with someone for all that money the client is spending.
But life is about growing after all, the caterpillar becoming a butterfly etc. etc., and the moment arrives when you need to stretch your own gossamers and present ideas that you sign your name to – and take sole responsibility for. But that’s the bugbear– the ideas part. Where do they come from, these aftermaths of the brainstorms?
When the famous English poet, Stevie Smith, was presented to the Queen to receive her Gold Metal for Poetry, the Queen asked her, ‘How do you come up with your ideas’? Stevie froze. Both women stared at each other with fixed grins until the moment passed. But the question remains. Inspiration? Perspiration? Stevie couldn’t answer it, and neither can I. Meanwhile, I continue collecting dimes in my imaginary piggy bank.