Creativity and making connections

Creativity is connecting the dots

Creativity is essentially about making connections. Whether it is through our experiences, or knowledge – connecting the dots between things becomes the fuel to new ideas and thinking. Creativity in fact is a skill that can be cultivated. Anybody and everybody is creative.

“Creativity is just the ability to look at things in a new way. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.” – Steve Jobs


Why discuss creativity?

Creativity is one of the most important asset in advertising. As we discuss creativity, we are looking for ways to nurture our own creativity. It’s widely established that creativity increases the effectiveness of ads. Scores of research have found this fact to be true.

And judging from our own experiences, successful brands create successful advertisements. The kind of ads that make you go, “Oh that’s interesting. I’ve never thought of it this way before.”

Checkout these ads that we think make interesting connections:

Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge – Edgy – Extreme Sports – Parkour


Jaguar F-Type Coupé – “stylish, calm, calculating, and a little sexy” – British villains


The Creative Process*

So, how do we get to that one ‘eureka’ moment? While this 4-stage process isn’t definitive, it can serve as a general guideline when it comes to coming up with creative ideas and solutions.

Stage 1: Preparation

Prepare to devour anything and everything that your brain can handle. This is the stage where you are nourishing your creativity with information, knowledge and experience. The more input, the better your output strength later on.

Stage 2: Incubation

Let your mind relax and wander. This stage is where your brain is incubating an idea, and making all those tiny, million connections. This is also where you’ve to trust your own mind to do its thing. You’ve put in all the ingredients for a stew, so just let it simmer. If anything, creativity cannot be forced.

Stage 3: Illumination

Your ‘eureka’ moment happens here. This is where you experience the jolt in your consciousness telling you that you’ve got an idea, which you can then put into action. It’s interesting to note that a lot of our ‘aha’ moments happen when we are least expecting it – in the shower, during long drives, when we’re resting thus signifying the importance of Stage 2.

Stage 4: Verification

This is where you take the cue from your ‘aha’ moment and refine the idea. At this stage, you’re building the frameworks and taking all the steps necessary to execute the idea.


The ‘stickiness’ factor

Research have found that creative ads score high on the ‘stickiness’ factor. Meaning, these ads are easily recalled by the consumer. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, researchers found that “you can improve your ability to predict the likely effectiveness of your creative ads and make smarter investments” by assessing these factors:

  • Originality: Is the ad “out of the ordinary”? Does it depart from stereotypical thinking? Is it unique?
  • Flexibility: Does the ad contain ideas that move from one subject to another?
  • Elaboration: Does the ad contain numerous details?
  • Synthesis: Does the ad connect objects that are usually unrelated?

Curiosity spurs learning, which in turn spurs creativity. Nurturing the creative mind is something that we can definitely benefit from.


*Adopted from ‘The Science of Creativity’ by Jesse Marranco, based on the writings of Graham Wallace, in his book The Art of Thought, published in 1926.


Other sources:

Creativity in advertising: when it works and when it doesn’t, Werner Reinartz and Peter Saffert, June 2013.

The Secret to Creativity, Intelligence and Scientific Thinking, Belle Beth Cooper, 18 June 2014.


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