The formula for great ideas

After 50 years of intensive research in the laboratories of Soho, the darkened rooms of Cannes and the viewing facilities of Surbiton, our experts have finally identified the formula for creating a great idea. Here, leading boffin Andy Nairn explains the DNA that is shared by sarcastic aliens, secret lemonade drinkers and drumming gorillas alike...

The right culture

The best ideas come out of places where the culture actively encourages people to mix things up, blow things up and occasionally fuck things up.

A flash of insight

The biggest breakthroughs don't always start with traditional research, but shining fresh light on the consumer is rarely a bad idea. 

Distilled thinking

The cleverest planners aren't rocket scientists – they're simplifiers. They know the difference between boiling a strategy down and overcooking it. 

A big bang

The most brilliant creatives think big and worry about the consequences later; they embrace danger and tread the right line between risk and recklessness.

Burning ambition

The most successful chief executives, marketers, suits and producers know that even the best ideas disintegrate without lots of energy; they make them happen by applying the heat.

Mercurial media

The finest media people are alchemists too; their quicksilver brains turn leaden plans into shiny, sticky, fluid ideas.

An experimental mindset

The best teams are obsessed by effectiveness but don't test for perfection; they believe in rigour, not rigor mortis.

A pinch of salt

The smartest Campaign readers will realise that, really, there's no such thing as a formula so beware anybody promoting a pseudo-scientific process like this!

Pure gold

Finally, the best ideas generate huge commercial value, for years to come. Which is why marketers and agencies alike would kill to find a formula for guaranteed success – and why they will still be looking in another 50 years.

Andy Nairn is a founding partner at Lucky Generals

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