The Intro #35: Creativity on demand

July 16, 2020
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Home 9 The Intro 9 The Intro #35: Creativity on demand

As marketers, one of the things that we get asked to do on a near-daily basis is be creative on demand.

You know how it goes.

Someone has a half-baked idea about something, and then they turn to you, the “creative” person with the “creative” job, and say something along the lines of, “Hey, you can figure this out, right? Go be creative. I need it tomorrow.”


You are not alone in this craziness! It’s a universal challenge without a great solution — but one that we are constantly learning to better manage. Here are our go-to strategies:

1. Seek out inspiration all the time. You know the demands will come, so you might as well stock up ideas in advance.
2. Prioritize. Is this a big question that requires a big answer (and therefore big brain space)? Or can you spend 12 minutes on it and call it a day?
3. Anticipate. Who on your team asks for the most deliverables with the least reasonable deadlines? Can you guess what they might ask for next? Start ideating (or, even better, asking about it) now so that you’re ready when the task hits your desk.
4. Push back. When it’s a really impossible demand, say no. Or at least ask for more time. Creativity requires brain space, and sometimes you have to fight for that margin.

Bring your own ideas to the table. If you have a great idea, preempt the brainstorming madness by presenting it first. We’ve found it super useful to write (or draw or design) it out as a fully-fledged concept — leaving less room for wild goose chase departures and idea bombs that explode something that’s already almost ready to go.
What would you add to the list? How have you learned to be creative on demand? And how do you maintain the space you need to think creatively?

Allison Kooser

Allison is Chief Storyteller at Swell+Good, where she partners with amazing organizations to help them bring their stories to life. She is an avid traveler, an expert takeout orderer, and a big believer in curiosity and kindness. She tries to learn something new every day, and she reads, writes, and paddleboards more than the average human.
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