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When creativity strikes

Posted by Debby Penton on 5th February 2018

Working in PR, I’ve spent a lot of time over the years researching the best ways to generate ideas. And being in an agency a lot of that focus has been around conducting more effective brainstorms. We’ve worn six de Bono hats, we’ve got out the Play Doh to stimulate the left brain and even eaten peanuts, but I’ve often found the best ideas happen outside of these forums.

So I was interested to see that Marriott hotel is introducing touch-sensitive shower doors, that act as a shareable canvas and allow guests to capture their moments of inspiration on a steaming surface, which are then sent automatically to their email so the thoughts aren’t lost. This is a result of their research that 50% of business travellers have their best ideas in the shower.

I’ve found that I often have my best ideas when I’m near water – whether that’s in the shower, in the swimming pool or just sitting by the river outside the office. And there is science behind this. Apparently, being around water gives our brains and our senses a rest from overstimulation, and when you have a simplified quieter space, your brain becomes better at a different set of processes. And sometimes this is can be subconscious problem solving, or creativity.

Many people struggle with brainstorms and “forced creativity”, and therefore label themselves as “not creative”. But everyone can be creative, they just need to find the right way to unlock the ideas. Sometimes it’s as simple as doing a lot of reading and research around a problem or a brief, and then just going off to do something else, like go for a walk, or do the washing up. If you’re lucky the idea will come.

Great thinkers of the past went to more extreme measures to find that perfect mental state. Dali, Einstein and Aristotle believed that the liminal in-between states where you are just beginning to dream but are still conscious is the optimal time for inspiration. Dali was known to drift off with a key in his hand so he would awake just as he reached that moment.

But for the rest of us, perhaps the ideas-capture shower door is not a bad shout. And even if it’s just a bit of a gimmick, perhaps it will be responsible for capturing one or two of the best innovative ideas of the future that will really give us something to talk about.

Debby Penton

Motivated, competitive and highly experienced, Debby drives excellence across the agency and leads by example, going the extra mile to create stand-out campaigns and a dynamic agency culture. As CEO, Debby champions a new breed of PR that meets the evolving communication needs of today’s tech companies.