Creativity and Harnessing the Power of Brainstorming

This month, I attended Innotech’s Digital Marketing Summit as well as Spredfast’s 4th Annual Summit. During these two conferences, I noticed a common topic — creativity and making time to ideate and fail.

At the Austin Digital Marketing Summit, Yvonne Tocquigny‘s panel “Where to Draw the Line Between Tools and Talent” especially resonated with me because it reminded me that “good enough” is the enemy of great and success can’t come without failure. Yvonne argued that today’s CEOs and consequently marketers are addicted to the marshmallow a.k.a we have become satisfied with knowing what’s going to happen next. The problem with that is that creativity leads to problem solving and innovative solutions. Here are a few things Yvonne asked us to think about:

Are you allowing yourself the time to fail 1/3 of the time so that you can really learn?

  • The only way you’re ever going to be able to leave a trail is if you take the risk.
  • “The gut is about as scientific as art gets.”

How can we help the company innovate and create something that’s completely new?

How can we take the hassle out of our customer’s experience?

  • No one likes buying a mattress. Casper completely transformed the experience of buying a mattress.

Why aren’t we all doing this for our customers?

  • It’s a lot more satisfying to know what’s going to happen next.
    • “As long as the clients are happy enough, we probably don’t need to try any harder.”
  • People have to be passionate and driven.
  • It’s extremely hard. It can’t be done predictably.

At Spredfast Summit, we had the pleasure of hearing Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative and Louder than Words, talk about balancing creativity, productivity and sanity. In the marketing industry, out of the box ideas are usually the ones with the wow factor involved. Todd Henry provided five ways to find the balance between prolific, brilliant AND healthy:

5 Elements of Rhythm


  • We need to build buffers around the problems that we’re solving in order to focus on our most important work.
  • Define your work by establishing challenges.


  • Be purposeful about your relationships.
  • Create a circle of like-minded creatives and get together every 3-4 weeks to share insights, help you think differently about problems and inspire you.


  • Energy is crucial to the creative process. Put your full resources into something.
  • What do you need to say no to, so that you can yes to something better? Practice pruning.
  • Think whole life and be strategic about how you make commitments.


  • Fill your head with valuable stimuli.
    • Make a study plan that incorporates “mind-stretching” ideas for motivation.
    • Do a stimulus dive. Put yourself in an out of the ordinary situation.


  • Treat your time as an investment.
    • “Unnecessary Creating”: Dedicate time in your life to sharpen yourself. Off-the-clock risks can be tremendously beneficial.
    • Regularly dedicate time to solving your most important tasks at hand by putting one hour on the calendar in the next week to focus on your three biggest problems.

So why aren’t we all setting aside time out of daily routines for ideation? Stumps me. With Social Distillery’s newest addition, Ariele Roche, our Art Director, we are very much looking forward to leaving the mundane behind and harnessing the power of brainstorming. If you’d like to share a personal success story about creativity, tweet me at @hwhidden or @SocialDistiller.

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