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Saturday September 22, 2012

Eight habits of highly creative people


OGILVY & Mather Asia-Pacific chief creative officer Eugene Cheong seemed like a walking book of familiar quotations as he delivered his talk on “Eight Habits of Highly Creative People” at the Spikes Asia festival in Singapore recently.

He quoted people from Aristotle to a Navajo medicine man to his ad agency’s founder David Ogilvy to Kurt Vonnegut to Jack Welch to Carl Jung.

Thomas also provides his checklist. Thomas also provides his checklist.

“This is what a very wise man said: We are what we repeatedly do,” he said at the start of his session, quoting Aristotle.

“Excellence is really an accumulation of all our acts,” Cheong extrapolated, and then quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

And two sentences later he quoted US soccer celebrity Mia Hamm as saying: “I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light a match.”

Cheong, who was Craft jury president at Spikes Awards 2012 and was described by the Spikes Festival programme book as “Asia’s most awarded copywriter and creative director”, did finally “light the match” by giving the eight habits of creative people.

According to him, they are: courage, idealism, curiousity, playfulness, candour, intuition, free-spiritedness and persistence.

On the first habit, he quoted Crispin Porter + Bogusky founding partner Alex Bogusky: “Fear is the mortal enemy of creativity.”

“To do great work, we have to be brave and fearless,” Cheong said.

On intuition, he said that it is the “art of listening to the guru inside us.”

Cheong easily furnishes quotations. Cheong easily furnishes quotations.

“In an age dominated by computer spreadsheet – you know, lots of research – the super logic of intuition is dismissed as hocus-pocus... We need to stop behaving like business people and go back to being ad people. We should start all our board meetings by looking at ads and not numbers,” he said.

BBDO Asia, Middle East and Africa chairman and CEO Chris Thomas, who spoke on “Creativity and Effectivenes” at the seminar, gave his own checklist.

Thomas, who was jury president for the Creative Effectiveness category, said the jury members debated about certain question that, if addressed by brands and businesses, would drive more effectiveness cases and even better creative work around the region.

The first question was on hiring method: “Are we hiring the most original, different people who are going to bring specialness and originality to our work or are we on occasion putting the ‘faces to the fees’ that everybody’s comfortable with and don’t rock the boat?”

The others were:

·“Are we investing, as an industry, on our own research and development, education and training of our people, working to educate and train with our clients on their businesses as well as on how creativity and effectiveness work so that we get to the best work?”

·“Are we leading in research techniques or are we outsourcing decision-making?”

·“Are we thinking about what is the right kind of research for the modern-day communications environment that we are all operating in?”

·“Are we linking our remuneration to our results and output – the effect that we’re having in the marketplace – or are we tying it to the time that it takes us to produce that work? For me, this is why the creativity and effectiveness awards are so important; it gives us an opportunity to have a discussion about the value and impact of what we do.”

·“Are we setting new practice or are we just living up to best practice? If we only measure ourselves by best practice, we won’t get to a greater body of work that is more unique and more special.” - By M. Hafidz Mahpar

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