I was fascinated by a recent news article that opened up with the question, “Were you told off at school for gazing out of the window during lessons?”
A forward thinking group, has decided to encourage children to do just that, in controlled conditions of course, as it has been determined that, in contrast to the long held belief that it was simply ‘day dreaming’ or lack of concentration, it is the ideal medium for creative thinking.
Ask any creative professional where they were or what they were doing when they came up with some of their best ideas and they’ll tell you, “I was walking the dog, I was ironing or I was half asleep at 4 in the morning.”
We used to call the lack of an idea, ‘blank layout pad syndrome’ but technology has moved on a bit since then. It was interesting to watch some of the best creative harness different ways of ‘staring into space’.
It was amazing how getting up from the desk, wandering around the studio or even going out for a short work, helped one award winning designer to return to his desk and start to sketch out a good idea.
Another design director, used to go home ‘stumped’ but would often phone the office a couple of hours later saying that she had come up with an idea whilst ironing.
One well-known Scottish double glazing company, refused to pay the advertising agency’s invoice, because when asked, “When did you come up with this great idea?” the creative director said. “Whilst I was digging my garden on Sunday.” The business owner said, “I’m not paying you to dig your garden.”
So, this concept is not new but it’s great to hear that it is now understood. I recommend to anyone who’s struggling to solve a problem, to take a break for a while, stare into space and see what happens. Do remember that once you have the germ of an idea or solution, you still have to knuckle down to the hard work of developing it to completion. It may appear to be a great idea but it must be checked against the brief or the practical constraints.