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The Anatomy of a Creative Idea

Creativity is made up of both broad concepts and specific details. And while theory and abstract concepts are useful as a launching pad, you must move beyond the abstract to more specific concepts so the rubber can meet the road.


Some leaders think it is sufficient to deal in general concepts in a creative meeting. But if you don’t move beyond these general concepts into something concrete, you will have wasted a lot of time for your key people.


As our own planning process has matured, I’ve learned that teams are prolific when they’re specific. More toward specificity for the majority of your meeting time. Once the ball is rolling, pare down to the doable details. In our creative meetings before a weekend message, our team will formulate detailed wording for the introduction, specific transitional phrases, illustrations, main points, and even concluding remarks.


The abstract part of that process is where I study by myself prior to our team meeting. For each talk, I spend some time doing a mind dump and formulate a rough draft based on my research and notes. By the time the meeting is called, I have a rough structure in place that is eventually sharpened and molded with the help of my creative team–another example of moving from the conceptual to the specific.


Excerpted with permission from The Creative Leader by Ed Young. Copyright 2006. Broadman & Holman Publishers.  

by Ed Young

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