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Experiment to innovate:
Exploring non-linear creativity

By Dan Sillifant | Creative Director

I recently found myself rummaging through the garage and stumbled across my old creative work from my university days – the usual sketchbooks, cut-and-stick design layouts, and my ambitious dreams of becoming the next David Carson. What really stood out however, was the focus on experimentation that featured so heavily throughout all those pages.

Back then, the goal wasn’t to craft a masterpiece; it was to master the art of experimentation. It was about breaking free from the norm, trying out ideas that were different, and looking at concepts from various perspectives. The freedom to experiment became a catalyst for creativity, an essential aspect of my creative process.

Experimentation involved trying out unconventional methods and recording the outcomes – what worked, what didn't, and why. It was a journey through uncharted waters, where failures were not setbacks but stepping stones to progress. Killing bad ideas, though not easy, emerged as a vital component of the creative process. Discarding concepts that failed to resonate allowed room for evolution, refinement, and the birth of more innovative ideas.

I’m a strong believer that we need to continue challenging ourselves, and the learnings I’ve had over my career have really shaped some ways of thinking for me creatively. Looking to be more experiential in your own approach to creativity? Here are some of my top things to consider:

  • Be open: Experimentation encourages a shift in mindset – one that needs to be open to exploring unconventional ideas. In the world of B2B, where being safe often wins, trying the unconventional might just be the thing that breaks through a sea of same-same.

  • Break your routine: Don’t be afraid of breaking out of habitual thinking patterns. Experimentation is all about fostering creativity by challenging the status quo.

  • Embrace technology: AI tools are still learning, but working alongside humans it can provide new perspectives, help bring unique ideas to life, and streamline the iteration process, enhancing overall creativity and innovation.

  • Encourage collaboration: Sharing experimental results and collaborating on experiments can lead to collective creativity and the fusion of diverse perspectives.

  • Fail often: Not all experiments will be successful. Failure is a valuable part of the process, offering insights and guiding future creative decisions.

  • But have fun: Approach experimentation with a playful attitude. Not only will it reduce the fear of failure but also helps you to explore "what if" scenarios, driving continuous innovation and creativity.

The creative reality

As the pace of life quickens and the demands of budgets and deadlines intensify, it's easy to forget the crucial role experimentation plays in the creative process. The pressure to deliver results swiftly often overshadows the significance of taking risks and trying something different.

Yet, it is in the discarded ideas, the ones that didn't quite cut it, that the seeds of groundbreaking concepts lie. Those seemingly failed attempts serve as the groundwork for more refined, more resonant ideas. The process of experimentation is not a linear one but a cyclical journey that encourages revisiting, reimagining, and refinement.

It's about understanding how to take the lessons learned from those early days and bring them into our everyday creative projects. Taking any opportunity to push ideas beyond their initial boundaries and having the courage to explore something different.


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