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Being dangerous

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Being dangerous
Sunday 24 November, 2013

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas wrapped up in Sydney recently.

It brought with it a series of discussions and debates on all manner of interesting topics. Among them, Hanna Rosin asked whether men are an endangered species and Dan Savage put forward the argument that monogamy is on its way out and infidelity is now a more normal way of life (I don’t want to believe it but is this a strong possibility!).

It got me thinking about dangerous ideas and how potent they can be, not just from a societal or cultural perspective but when working with clients and brands too.

Dangerous or deviant thinking - coming up with ideas or solutions to a challenge that would get you sacked or put in prison - is often a good way to break out of the traditional modes of thought when brainstorming or thinking creatively. It will force you to think outside of the norm and take you down different avenues, often in the dark and in a bad part of town. But through this process of divergent thinking, you can often come up with all manner of workable solutions, some of which might never have been thought about if you hadn’t embraced your inner deviant and gone down that pathway.

This type of thinking is truly exciting and in addition to teaching you a thing or two about your colleagues, it can often result in quick growing and fast evolving ideas. Something gnarly, disjointed and gross can quickly become a beautiful budding idea, albeit with a little pruning required.

I took deviant thinking to a client brainstorm and workshop recently and it was an insightful and worthwhile exercise which provided a lot of ideas and food for thought.

We started by asking everyone to think of ideas which would likely get them fired or make their stomach turn. All manner of things were put forward - spit, foreign objects, speeding/breaking the law, excessive charges and child labour – it was no holds barred deviance! After letting out all of our darkest thoughts, we forced ourselves to think of workable solutions from those initial ideas. The idea involving spit was turned around to focus on taste and flavour and the suggestion which focused on foreign objects turned into a fun casino-focused stunt.

So my new rule for creative thinking - even if it feels uncomfortable, be deviant, be mischievous and be daring and see where it takes you.

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