I am often asked what makes PROXIBA’s projects stand out in terms of creativity and what is our approach. I like to tell our clients that if you really want teams to think outside the box, you have to commit to letting them play outside the box.Yes, it takes fun, time and space to invent.
We firmly believe that creativity should be an ongoing commitment. Creativity is a state of mind that must reside at all levels of an organization. All PROXIBA projects, large and small, imperatively include periods of “limitless creativity,” a real remedy for creative blocks. As a PR firm, we are committed to being an interface for creativity and new ideas and to thinking outside the box to cover all angles and to offer our clients innovative approaches. Our business model is entirely based on a very simple, but relatively rare concept in public relations: we must give ourselves the time (and the means) to invent.
What is our recipe for creativity?
For each project, we set up specialized “mercenary brigades” for brainstorming sessions. These teams of four or five people comprise professionals from totally different backgrounds and vocations. They are cultivated and certainly have an interest in communications, but they do not work together and are not assigned to the daily management of the client-project. They therefore do not feel any pressure and are paid to “go crazy” in four-hour sessions, much like mercenaries. During these periods of “limitless creativity,” mercenaries:
- Can say absolutely anything;
- Have no obligation to produce a result;
- Do not receive any positive or negative comments on their contributions (only laughter is allowed), nor the
- right to comment on the ideas of others;
- Cannot interrupt or practice any form of mansplaining;
- Cannot use the words “difficult,” “improbable,” “impossible,” “not feasible” or any other term that denotes constraint, censorship or limitation.
Over time, we have used no less than seven different “limitless creativity” techniques with these mercenary brigades and we are constantly developing new methods. The truth is that we have bet everything on creativity since the founding of PROXIBA and our clients have been willing to follow us in this madness since 2014.
Creativity for all
The expression brainstorming (which comes from the word “brain” and the military term “storming”) dates back to 1939 and is attributed to Alex Faickney Osborn, then executive vice-president of the giant advertising and marketing firm BDDO. It is therefore an expression that first spread in the world of agencies. Today, all types of organizations are adopting brainstorming sessions with varying degrees of consistency. Brainstorming is however an activity that innovative organizations must practice often to stay mentally fit. There are many techniques out there to stimulate discussion and incite truly new ideas to spring up in meetings. You just have to adapt the meeting format to the composition of the groups or to the nature of the problem.
We believe that fostering internal brainstorming is creating a culture where everyone can participate, where no one is afraid of ridicule, where no one seeks to shine at the expense of others and where participants do not have to feel bad for not having proposed the “miracle idea.” It’s up to the managers to sort it all out, organize the content and get inspired by the crazy ideas that can emerge.