Brain Pickings

Pure Process: Picking the Creative Brain

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What coffee, ironing and crying newborns have to do with the birth of an idea.

UPDATED: The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising’s Big Ideas Are Born is now out and we highly recommend it.

What if we knew how great ideas were born? Do great minds really think alike, or is the creative process as unique as our DNA? Can insight into another person’s process help you enrich and polish your own?

Creative academics and researchers Glenn Griffin, PhD and Deborah Morrison, PhD set out to answer these questions and more in an exploratory project-turned-book-deal dubbed Pure Process — an investigation into the minds of the advertising industry’s greatest creative thinkers. In a series of experiments, the researchers analyzed the “process drawings” of these top creative professionals — a visual answer to the question:

 What does your creative process look like?

Illustrated with a Sharpie on what Griffin and Morrison call a “process canvas,” the creatives revealed the routes they take to finding and catching ideas. The results: Just as incredibly diverse, wild and, yes, messy as you’d expect them to be.

So far, the lineup includes all-stars like Alex Bogusky, David Kennedy, Luke Sullivan, Kevin Roddy, Nancy Rice, and David Baldwin, among others. But they’re still looking for submissions — so if you live and work in the larger world of ideas, and you’d like your own creative process dissected and shared with the world, shoot them an email to be considered for inclusion.

It’s important to spend time NOT thinking of ideas. It often comes together when I’m neutral and quiet like in the shower or sound asleep. ~ Danny Gregory, ECD of McGarry Bowen

Pure Process is set for publication next summer by How Books. You can follow Glenn and Deborah on Twitter for updates on the project.

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