Arek Dvornechuck: What's up branding expert! Arek here at Ebaqdesign, particularly and welcome to On Branding Podcast, the only podcast where I interview branding experts to give you actionable tips on everything, branding and beyond. And in this episode, I interview Kevin Duncan, and we talk about effective brainstorming techniques. And Kevin is from the UK. And he's a business advisor, marketing expert, and the author of several successful business books. And Kevin previously worked in the communications and advertising sector for over 25 years. So in agencies, he has worked with over 400 clients deployed 600 million pounds of funds to own more than 200 brands. So he has overseen over 1000 projects and won 35 awards for creativity and effectiveness. So, Kevin is an expert when it comes to generating ideas visually. And he share his tips in the book, the ideas book, and this is the book we are going to talk about today. Because I mentioned Kevin is an expert when it comes to brainstorming. And that's why I really wanted to have him on our podcast today to talk about effective brainstorming techniques. Hello, Kevin, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on our podcast.
Kevin Duncan: You're welcome. Nice to be here.
2. Best brainstorming techniques
Arek Dvornechuck: Thank you. So let's imagine a scenario in which we need to solve some kind of a branding challenge. Like for example, there is a team of creatives on the agency side, or there is a team on on the business side, let's say like a startup. And we just want to run a brainstorming session to come up with some creative ideas. So whether it be a new name for a brand, or a product, or some ideas for a logo and visual identity, or we need an idea for for a new advertising campaign, or we just need to reposition our brand and communicate better. So make some strategic decisions. So anyhow, we just need to solve some some kind of a branding challenge. And we need to be effective at coming up with, you know, create great ideas. So in your book, you present a lot of essential exercises and tools to help us make our brainstorming session more effective, right, so so that we can stimulate more or better ideas. So okay, so we're going to talk about those specific tools and techniques. But before that, I just wanted to set the rules for how to brainstorm So can you talk to us about some of the best practices when it comes to generating ideas? What kind of mistakes do we make and how we should prepare for that session? What are the some of the best approaches?
Kevin Duncan: Sure, yeah. Thank you for your introduction. So I think, as a backdrop to all of this, the whole business of idea generation, there's a lot of people will tell you that they're not creative. Now, that's very unlikely to happen. In your line of work. branding people presumably think they're creative, all designers do as well. But a lot of people don't think they're creative. So the overall message of the book is that anybody can be creative if they investigate some techniques and work through them. And they might surprise themselves. And in fact, in a lot of our training, they very frequently do. But to answer your question directly. First of all, it's all about preparation. There are far too many brainstorms that happen every day all around the world, and people just dive into them with no thought. And really, they just rushed to a soft area and say, guys, let's have your best ideas, no such thing as a bad idea. And of course, there is such a thing as a bad idea. And if you do it that randomly, it really doesn't work very well. And what a surprise, the teams there end up with large numbers of things on the wall, but many of them is likely impractical. So in The Ideas Book, so I spend the first chapter explaining how you should prepare, I won't bore you with all the details, but the types of things that one looks at is exactly what are we trying to achieve here? What are the constraints? Are we running this idea of session? in the right place? Have we got the right people? Are we doing it at the right time? Is it the right time length? Because amazingly, you can run very productive brainstorms in just five minutes. And of course, there are all sorts of rules of engagement. Because we all know, we've sat in brainstorms, where people's behavior has not been suitable. A classic ideal point would be something like an idea killer, someone who just sits there with their arms folded and says, Well, that's not gonna work, is it? That's not gonna work, is it? And of course, these types of people aren't helpful at all, to generating great ideas.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. So, just to sum up for our listeners, you mentioned that, you know, preparation is really, really important. And it's all about, you know, about the things like, where are we gonna hold that meeting? How much time it's about the schedule, you know, we need to set time for each exercise, right, we need to have some agenda. We do have right stimulus, do some homework so that everyone knows that, you know, is familiar with the brief and our goals and objectives, and some background information, and things like that. Also, in your book, I took some notes, you mentioned that, you know. The brief should be restricted to one sentence, preferably just one short sentence. There shouldn't be the optimal number of people in a room is four to eight people. The environment and the location is really important, right? So we need to be relaxed, preferably high ceilings, blue rooms, natural light, fresh air. And we should start initial idea generation with some short sessions. And he also advised that the session shouldn't be actually longer than 30 minutes because the energy and attention the productivity the window as time elapses, right? Um, oh, yeah, go ahead.
Kevin Duncan: Exactly. So you've covered many things. You've done very diligent research. By the way, I must say, you've read this thing in detail. So I'm very flattered by that. Let me attend to one or two of those points, because they might interest your listeners here. So interestingly enough, the word brainstorm, and the rough technique that most people believe it involves was invented by a guy called Alex Osborn. And that was way back in the 50s. And he is the earl in the well known communications ad network called BBDO. So he was Mr. O, and he invented it as a technique to impress prospects to his agency so that he could conduct these meetings in an apparently free flowing way. And make it apparent that all his employees were fantastically creative. And were able to spark ideas at speed in a meeting spontaneously. So that's where the idea of a brainstorm came from. It's quite interesting if you fast forward to the modern day with regard to who and how ideas are best generated. And in a way, it's a little bit sad to report. But if you brief four people individually, and they go away separately, and generate ideas, they are shown to generate better quality ideas than four people sitting in a room doing it together. So that's a little bit depressing. But it is actually true that if you're going to convene people, a smaller number, as you say, between four and eight is the optimum type of number. Anything over that number? And you find hangers on and people who aren't really interested in being there. Yeah, another point you mentioned was the environments. And there are some fascinating things you mentioned, it is amazing. Everyone knows really, that it's hard to have a good idea if you're sitting in a darkened room, like a basement. Natural light definitely helps. And high ceilings help. And yes, painting the room blue helps. And the psychology behind it, they believe is that it makes people feel that they are unfettered, and in the open air surrounded by either water or sky. And it leads to better, more broader thinking if you like.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yes. Right. Okay, so since we have some, since we know some of the do's and don'ts, also some of the best practices of how to run brainstorming session. Or how to not run a brainstorming session. So let's talk about now the juicy stuff, you know, the actual exercises and tools. So in your book, you say, quote, a true creativity needs to be disciplined, highly directed, capable of withstanding deep scrutiny. So we want to increase creativity by learning those some of those techniques right. So can you speak to that? How should we approach generating work? What are some of the best tools to start with, to you know, at the beginning of our brainstorming session?
Kevin Duncan: Certainly, yeah. And the first thing to say is that pretty much all the evidence now shows that it is almost impossible for somebody to have a eureka moment where they just magically pluck a brilliant idea seemingly out of nowhere. It doesn't work like that. And even if you look fantastic authors and things like that, they actually work really hard to generate these apparently brilliant ideas. So it is all about discipline and approach and you've got to start somewhere. So I say in the book, the beginning of Section two, that one really good starter technique is called three good, three bad. And what you do is you get everyone in the room to write down the three best things about the product, or the brand, or the brief, or whatever the thing is that you're dealing with. And the three worst. And the idea is you do this in silence, because if they start talking, then then people tend to just copy the most important person in the room, and that doesn't get you anywhere. So you do it silently. And what this does is you then put this stuff on the wall. And obviously, if things are really good, and you've got lots to go on, then you focus on that, that's fine. But if you've got lots of what bad stuff that outweighs the good, that isn't a disaster, because some of the best communications briefs and brand difficulties come about by solving really tricky issues. And so the bad thing that everybody agrees needs attending to becomes the epicenter of the brief that you're then going to deal with. And the significance of a tech like technique like this is that far too many brand solutions. And advertising campaigns, for example, are too fanciful, they ignore the difficulties that the brand has got, and instead gloss over and do a campaign on something that's rather more lightweight and not really attending to the issue?
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Okay, so you mentioned the three, a three good three bad as some of the, you know, some of the best tools for initial brainstorming session, right?
Kevin Duncan: Yeah.
Arek Dvornechuck: I have taken some notes. And I just want it for our listeners just to go over like, some of those tools. And maybe you can talk a bit about like, give us an overview of those. So, for set, for example, think inside the box. So this is a this is a tool to you know, define the constraints first, to avoid wasting time or inappropriate ideas like going some directions, like let's, let's imagine we are coming up with a brand name or or, or we are coming up with a campaign idea. And a lot of people say like, you need to think outside the box, right. But this to actually focus on helps us focus on constraints so that we are, you know, avoid wasting time on some ideas that are not viable anyways, right?
Kevin Duncan: That's exactly right. And you get a lot of people complaining about this suggestion, usually, because it's very trendy for people to say, ah, we need to think outside the box on this one. And actually, a lot of people don't know where the phrase comes from, but quick history. This is a very popular puzzle from Victorian times. And there are there are nine dots on a page. And your challenge is to join them together with four strokes of the pen without taking your pen off the paper. And I suppose I've got to sort of tell you the answer in order to make sense of the expression. But the fact of the matter is that the human brain sees those nine dots as a box. And if the brain sees it as a box, then you cannot solve the problem, you have to draw a lines outside the box in order to complete the challenge. And that's where the expression came from. So if we fast forward to now, this has now become a glib path phrase for people having all sorts of mad and crazy ideas. Now, that's easy enough, if you work in a something like branding, but not for example, or if you work in engineering or architecture. And so most engineers do their best work just at the fringes of what is possible, but it must be practically possible. Otherwise, it's not a decent idea.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Some of some of the other tools, for example, and there's a lot of them it's a whole bunch of them. So I recommend all of you guys check out the book, but I just wanted to quickly talk about a couple of them. So for example, let's see what we have here. What's hot? Can you talk to us about that. So yeah, we can use trends, events or affairs, right or celebrities to attach our brand to those to those things, those hot things.
Kevin Duncan: Exactly, what's hot is essentially something that is frequently used by PR agencies. And it's not supposed to be a trick or a fudge. But basically, if you haven't got a vast amount to say about your brand, then what you can do is think laterally and try to attach the brand to some current trend or event or thing that is helpful and suitable. I should stress by the way that it doesn't work if you force fit it, because consumers are very able to spot what they regard as an inappropriate lack of fit between a brand that tries to associate itself with an inappropriate event or task or thing that's going on. But broadly speaking, yeah, what's hot is quite a nice way of doing it. Do you want me to pluck out a couple of other things?
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, sure. Sure go ahead.
Kevin Duncan: Yeah. So eyes of experts is a lovely technique where you simply choose an expert or a personality with known characteristics. And then you ask the group, how would this person launch or promote this brand? And it leads to some really interesting answers, it gives you new perspectives. Another one is called, category stealing. And that is where we based on the principle that almost everybody everywhere else has done some really clever thinking, but not necessarily in your field. You pretend that you're working in a different category? And you essentially say, right, how would an automotive manufacturer promote my brand? How would a bank do it? How would a telecoms provided it? And you find interesting strategies that come across from other categories that you may be able to deploy in yours?
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Also, our think of very interesting is this talk about exaggeration and deprivation, like we over exaggerate the benefits of a product, we take it to the extremes, or we envisage like a war without it.
Kevin Duncan: Yeah, it's tremendous fun. This one, this is in the kind of slightly more advanced set of ideas. There was a fantastic ad for a company called Dunlop in the UK over many years ago, 20,30 years ago. And essentially what they wanted to do was dramatize all the things that Dunlop made other than what they were mainly famous for, which was tennis rackets. And during the course of the ad, everything that Dunlop made strangely disappeared, every about every second or two. Until at the end, everything had gone essentially including the tennis players clothes, so they were left naked at the end. And it demonstrated a range point. So that's an example of deprivation. In other words, what would the world be like if my product didn't exist, and then use that to dramatize what its benefit and contribution is?
Arek Dvornechuck: Right? Also, I just wanted to mention this one that I'm concealing. So in your book, he said that the best ideas arrive when the mind is distracted, or allowed to relax. And this is actually true. And I've got from, you know, I've experienced this myself, probably everyone of us does, at some point, you know, like, we, we are thinking, we are trying to focus on a problem and come up with a solution, whether it is like, let's say, we're working on a logo, just something as simple as that, or our new name for our brand. And we're very try hard to do that. But actually, the way our mind works is, you know, we don't sometimes we just, we just need to let it, let it work into something else. And be busy, like, for example, we take a shower, or we do some activities, and then suddenly, you know, we come up with this great idea. So can you talk to that a bit?
Kevin Duncan: Of course, yes. This is a process which I call training your depth mind. And your depth mind is essentially just a phrase for what most people to call their subconscious. Now, the more experienced you get, and the more you relaxed, and the more confident you are. What you realize is that, first of all, when you've got an issue that you're dealing with, you should brief your depth mind. In other words, make sure that you've thoroughly understood what the issue is. But then do not sit at a desk with a blank sheet of paper fretting over that for days on end, because the more more you force it, the less it's likely to come. So what happens is the analogy if you like, if you can imagine a submarine setting off towards its destination. Now it's below the waterline, so you can't see that it's going somewhere, but it is going somewhere. And eventually it does surface. And you're absolutely right. It tends to surface when you're not concentrating specifically on that task. And one of the things which quite fascinating. A lot of people say oh, I had a I had an up really had a solution and idea came up when I was having a jog or walking the dog or something. And it is biologically true and proven now that if you move, you are more likely to think more productively just because on pure physiology, more blood, and therefore oxygen goes to your brain to stimulate your thoughts.
Arek Dvornechuck: Now, we are going to take a quick break here, but we'll be right back. Listen, my mission is to help people design iconic brands. So whether you're a business leader who wants to be more intentional with branding and all of its aspects, or you are a creative who wants to attract powerful clients and surely be able to help them with branding, then you need to start with a discovery session and then develop a strategy that will inform all your creative work. And everything you need to learn how to do that you can find in my online courses, at ebaqdesign.com/shop, where I shared with you my worksheets, case studies, video tutorials, and all other additional resources to help you feel safe and strong about your process. So now let's get back to our conversation with Kevin Duncan. This is really interesting. And I want to wrap this up by talking about conceptual blending, because I think it's really relevant to our discipline. So, basically, what we do is we take one concept, and then blend it with another and you give this example like deodorant plus a boil point pen. And that led to all deodorant, right? So blending two different concepts to try to create some new concept.
Kevin Duncan: That's exactly right. And they often call this recombination. And it's something that comes a lot from the world of biology as well, where two separate things are sort of mixed together to create a new solution. And that story about deodorant is actually is rather charming. And the nice thing is, it's true. So essentially, when most deodorants were aerosol, and it became apparent that CFCs, were destroying the ozone layer. The design challenge was how can we invent a new delivery system for deodorant. And the designer who was working on that was actually, here's an example where someone was actually sitting at their desk. But what they're looking for is a delivery mechanism that can get what is apparently a liquid onto the skin in a way that isn't messy and impossible. And they just saw on their desk, a buy arrow. And they thought well hang on. That is a delivery mechanism, which manages to get a liquid onto a surface in a way that is acceptable. So all they did really was changed the scale of it. So you can imagine a roll on deodorant delivery mechanism as essentially being an enormous ballpoint pen. And that's how it came out.
3. How to judge creative Ideas
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, right, right. Yeah, I did. It was really interesting. I didn't know about that. I learned a lot about that from your book. And it just stuck, stuck into my, into my head. So this is really interesting. Okay, so there is a lot of different exercises, like post-it voting, for example, I think designers and creatives, probably familiar with that, too. But okay, so you guys can check out the book. And there is a lot of different exercises, and Kevin describes them in detail. But so let's assume that we have plenty of ideas at this point, right? We've gone through some of those exercises. And now our challenge is to decide which one to progress with. So because in your book, you say, when judging ideas, we need to be ruthless. And we need to eliminate, you know, those weak ideas, and that are either of brave, or they're just not viable, or just they're just plain stupid. So how do we judge those ideas? What are some of the best tools to help us decide on what we should do and what we should move forward with?
Kevin Duncan: Yes, well, I've got 10 techniques, at least it's a whole section on judging ideas, because funnily enough, a lot of people, they get a bit anxious about generating ideas in the first place. But actually, what tends to happen is that teams and people end up with far too many ideas. And then it's a case of editing. And this is what I call task triage, where you must regularly chop off all the stuff at the bottom that isn't quite as good as the stuff at the top. So it's almost like a volume game. You know, it depends how many ideas but if you've got 100 ideas, you don't really want 100 you want one brilliant one. So yeah, so we've got all sorts of ways of doing this one broad principle that your listeners might like. And yes, it is related to this post-it voting is to regularly call the work as you go along during a session. Because over time people get emotionally committed to things. And they keep digging in and saying this is good, this is good. And so you might end up with 65 things on the wall, but you shouldn't. So every five or 10 minutes, or whatever the duration of your session, you should say, right, we're going to take a vote now. And the stuff that sinks to the bottom, you chuck it in the bin. And you don't want people that are wedded to this stuff. Because it's not good enough. As the old saying goes, the good is the enemy of the Great. Another thing we do is sometimes in extreme cases, we will issue people with what I called kill-it cards. And a kill-it card is essentially one where when someone's been digging in and just going on and on about an idea, but it's not going anywhere. You play your kill-it card and say that I'm really sorry. But this particular one, I think we're spending wasting too much time on it. Let's take it out. So that's quite a good one. Another one, I think might be relevant, this may, I make this my last one on this is a thing called the pre mortem. Everyone's heard of a post mortem, where you analyze what went wrong at the end. But a pre mortem gets you to do it at the beginning. And this is just before you present the idea or commit the budget or whatever the crucial decision moment is. And essentially you get the group together and you say, right, imagine we have done this, we spent all the money and it's finished. And it was a complete disaster. Could you now write a quick history please of what went wrong and why it didn't work. And sometimes if you do a bit of disaster planning like that, you flush it out at the very beginning, something that isn't good, that's actually a fundamental flaw. And that prevents you from making a bad mistake.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right? This is actually the one of the, this is the exercise that I wanted to talk about. Because I can imagine a you know, how we can know we can apply to negotiation or whether you know, like, for example, we are working on on a new name, or a new logo or visual identity or a marketing thing, or whatever it is, you know that many examples of, you know, some blunders, when it comes to branding, like let's say Tropicana, you know, the packaging was redesigned, and people couldn't find the packaging. This was not announced, and they lost millions of dollars in sales, people were frustrated. So if they have done, they could have done this pre mortem exercise and imagine in you know, in one year in the future, why, you know, if we launched this totally different packaging, that is not an evolution of what we have now. And we've built a lot of equity around our brands with this packaging, then people are people going to be able to find our packaging on the shelf. So it was a revolutionary change. And it was a revolutionary redesign. So I think that in any exercise could really, you know, eliminate those like, you know, as you said, show us those, you know, fundamentals flaws in those ideas.
Kevin Duncan: I think that's absolutely right. And it's linked to a point. It's very interesting. But broadly speaking, in the communications, industry, design and any form of creativity, people are just really, really optimistic. And so it doesn't sit very happily with them normally to say, Well, what could possibly go wrong? But it is a very good thing to do that exercise. So that's why the pre mortem is a close cousin of the exercise I described at the beginning called "three good, three bad". Let's be candid at the beginning. And just before we spend all the money, what could possibly go wrong with this. And in your example, with Tropicana, we can immediately think of a lots of things that could go wrong, which as you rightly say, include I've changed the packaging packaging, so nobody can find it in a supermarket. But interestingly, in most drinks markets, people drink with their eyes. In other words, if you do blind tastings, got the logo on it, as they're familiar with it. They're inclined to say this tastes better. And so there are all sorts of reasons why you could make everything worse, depending on the decisions you make in these brainstorms.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. And also a great tool I think is we can use it you know, as creatives to help us identify barriers to an ideal profile. So for example, whether it's a new name for our product or brand or a new visual identity. So the tool I'm talking about is the chance of success. So can you talk to us about that, you know, how to how it helps us identify those bodies to ideal profile, you know, either from senior executives or some committee or things like that?
Kevin Duncan: Absolutely, yes, this is a technique, which are often used in negotiation skills, actually, and also presentation skills. And it sounds pessimistic, but it isn't. And what you do is, before you make your proposal, or present your idea, you work out all the reasons why the person you're presenting it to will reject it. And by thinking like them, you work out what the barriers to their purchasing it are, you can then build your case and circumnavigate all the reasons why actually, they should be buying your idea, if indeed, it's a good thing. If the designer subjects themselves to that degree of self scrutiny, first, they're being very tough on the idea. And if the idea can indeed pass those tests, then chances are that it is a very good idea. And it is worth presenting, and it should be a success. But on the other hand, there's a degree of self-honesty required. And if on examination, the idea isn't robust enough to pass those tests, then you're better off not presenting it and coming up with something better. And of course, you can extend that analogy to include, once the client has approved the work and the work is going to run, you need to think forward in time to think what are all the reasons why the customer will put barriers in the way of the thing that we're creating. So, it's a very good piece of self-analysis. I commend it to people.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah. And I wanted to wrap up this this point about charging our ideas with, can you talk to us about the difference between the potential pyramid and that decision wedge? So basically, both of those exercises allow us to group ideas into like three, three sections. One is about creativity. The other is about practicality, right
Kevin Duncan: Yeah. So this is pretty much an example or a technique that helps with the triage process that I was describing late earlier on. So in the potential pyramid, we've got the most promising ideas at the top with possible, halfway down, and then the poor ones at the bottom. And so that's our first example of doing a cut. So we've got 60 ideas on the wall. And once we've got those sorted out, and we all agree, the bottom 20 have got to go immediately. And that's the first piece of brutal discipline. If you then move on to the decision wedge, and it's called a wedge, not surprisingly, because it's, it's like a block of cheese and you're going down to the final point, then you take all your possible, and you do what often sports coaches do, and they're playing a match. They'll play their possible team versus their probable team. And sometimes they learn a bit about Ah, I thought that was probable But no, that's better than that, and they sorted out. So then the possible become weaker and drop away, the probable get better, and then you push it even further to work out whether you're going to proceed. And so I don't know, if you had 60 ideas, you've got it down to 40. You take it to that stage, you probably say near 2530 of those are possible. We've got 10 probable, and then we're going to make a decision and get it down to 123. Proceed ones to actually do.
4. How to enact an idea
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Okay, so let's wrap this up by talking about the tools that would allow us to increase the chances of, of, you know, that idea actually being enacted. So as we might see, has some, a couple of those winners. Because you're saying your book, The world is full of people who had a great idea, but never made it happen. So knocking an idea, may well be the hardest part. Right? So how to deal with that. Can you speak to that? What are some of the best tools that you know, would help us bring those ideas to life?
Kevin Duncan: Yeah, and this always makes me chuckle because it's fascinating. We've all got friends who say, God, I've got a great idea. And then you meet them three years later, and you say did you do anything about that idea? "No, I didn't do it." Now, we need to be really clear about this linguistically is that an idea doesn't technically exist until somebody has converted it into what it's trying to be. That's the crucial point. And of course design As brand consultants and so on and bless everybody, but can spend a huge amount of time discussing conceptual things. But we're still in that we're still in the concept stage. So it doesn't count. And of course, a lot of art directors have got a portfolio of work that never ran, sort of lovely ideas, but they never got made. And in a way, that's kind of cheating. No, it doesn't count if it hasn't been made. So at the end of the book, I'm putting a heavy emphasis to say it doesn't count unless you've actually done it. There's no point of being an artist and having 200 paintings in your cellar that nobody's seen. There's no point in being a musician, with 200 demos that no one's heard, you have to do what Seth Godin calls "ship your work". You have to have the courage to ship it out the door and get a reaction to it. Now, I say all that as a principle, of course, most people are in the hands of a client that will or will not approve their work, and so forth. And if you can't get it approved, well, obviously, you try everything you can. But really, the best people have a high strike rate of getting their work approved, because they they've done it really well. And they're very creative.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. So if those those just for our listeners, those those would help you just to prioritize that. So you know, we can use it. For example, let's say, we are working as a team, and we want to learn, we want to bring awareness to our brands, let's just take this as an example. And we are trying to brainstorm different. So we can have an idea of how to do that. Now we are trying to brainstorm and prioritize different tasks. So those exercises could help us, you know, think about what's urgent, what's more important, what's less important. And things like that. Also, I think of it interesting, a toolkit is the Panic Early Line, because most people, and this is especially applies to creatives as well, you know, we tend to leave things too late before you know, start acting upon them. Like when we are faced with a deadline, and then we rush through, you know, so can you talk to us about this, too?
Kevin Duncan: Yes, of course, I use this in a lot of my work. And to describe because we're on audios it were on there, so I don't have the opportunity to draw this. But if I can describe it to your listeners, the wrong way to operate is a flatline going along, which is essentially a procrastination timeline in which you do nothing, followed by a huge set of mountains and statics, at the end, where there's a huge panic. at the last minute, the correct way is to turn that the other way around, so that all the hard-agitated work becomes at the beginning. And then you have a flat line to execution, which is done in orderly fashion. And I roughly describe this as a student essay crisis, you get your brief on a Monday, you've got a week to do it, you do nothing for six days, and you have a mad panic at the end. And one of the dysfunctions, if you like of the communications and branding industry is that it tends to hire people who have worked like that, and are generally the types of people who will pull a rabbit out of the hat that the end and get away with it because they've got some flare. And the thing is if they then go into communications agencies and start working 10 years later, they're in charge, and they're still working like that. And they haven't got the discipline to do it the right way around. So in a nutshell, at the beginning, immediately, within 24 hours of getting the brief, get everybody in the room together who needs to have a bearing on this topic, and thrash out your best shot at what it might be. Because you're experienced and talented, the answer will probably be you're about 80% right. You then set direction and provide the evidence and get people working on these things. You've got more time therefore by any chance you discover something that means your opinion is wrong, you have time to course correct. So that's the correct way to manage your work. And finally, you get a lot of people saying but I work better under pressure. And I can tell you that's not true. It just means that people produce lower standard work in a rush at the end. And that's not good for anybody.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right? Yeah. So this is really there's a lot of tools and I recommend everyone to check out the book and and find out more. I'm really I took a highlight of the parts of the book and I'm going to use them I'm going to try to implement them whether it is to you know, working with my team or as a strategist working with my clients and running brainstorming sessions with my clients. So as we are approaching the end of our episode, please let us know how we can find more about you and the work you do or just, you know, contact with you. And our include those links in the description box.
Kevin Duncan: Thanks. It's very kind. Yeah, it’s been lovely chatting with you. You know, thank you for being so diligent about reading my book and I’m glad you like it. There are many others in series, my main website is expertadviceonline.com and every book that I produced has its own blog and the particular one that goes with this book is theideasbook.net and on there people can find all sorts of templates to download, videos of me explaining things and podcast and all sorts about bits and pieces and in fact that I’m pretty sure that when have produce this podcast, I will upload it to TheIdeasBook.net as well.
Arek Dvornechuck: That’s awesome! Thank you. Thanks, Kevin for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.
Kevin Duncan: You’re very welcome. Thanks for getting in touch.
Arek Dvornechuck: So this is it for today’s episode. Make sure to go and check out Kevin’s website and follow on social media. And you can find all the links on this episode’s page at ebaqdesign.com/podcast/18. So, thanks for tuning in, and if you enjoyed this episode please subscribe to my podcast for more tips on branding, strategy and design. This was Arek Dvornechuck from Ebaqdesign.
Arek Dvornechuck is a strategist and designer who helps brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch
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