Years ago I heard a motivational speaker at a conference make a very salient point about how as young people, our teachers first let us write, design and play with colorful crayons, only a few years later to have them replaced with No. 2 pencils and ultimately with ink pens. The point he was making, was that teachers –indeed the entire education system—was zapping the creativity out of us at a very young age –forcing us from freestyle thinking into the more stringent pencil –at least we could erase, leading up to the pen –where what we wrote was canonized for eternity. We could never go back from what we wrote in pen –it would be there forever.
The problem with this simple step was that it forced us all to become conformists. If we colored outside the lines, we got in trouble. It had to be a No. 2 pencil, no other, and pens had to be blue.
What is fascinating to me, is that while the crayon lives on with generation of young children who have fun creating with colorful tools, the pencil is virtually non-existent today, and the pen is on the verge of extinction. Our stylus, computers and mobile devices are replacing the latter two tools. Could it be more than a co-incidence that the tools that restricted us as kids are dying?
The point here is to never lose your creativity, that spark that keeps your thinking fresh, your clients happy and results for their programs pouring in. Public relations programs must have creative talent who develop creative ideas in order for all of us to be successful. We are not talking necessarily about creative expression, but the way, but more about ideas. Remember, almost everyone looked the same in Madmen even though agencies flowed with creative ideas.
So, go buy a box of Crayola, find a white sheet of paper and have a great time. Think, explore and create. Our entire universe of clients, employees and the media will benefit.