March 3, 2013

Ideas come in many forms and sizes, and they can be a complicated lot. Ideas can be simple or complex in nature. And by their very characteristically subjective nature, we can assume that ideas vary depending on what or how it is presented. Some may come in fancy, bow-tied packages, others come in simple wrappings, others are just as natural as they can get. Regardless how they come, it is only those which stand out that actually gets in the mill and survives brainstorming sessions. Spot on ideas are those that can withstand the rigors of planning and development, and can be structured to be able to make it to the last process of content ideation strategy.

As I have mentioned in the previous blog, there is a science as to how ideas are created. This creative process demonstrates how a structured approach on ideation results in high quality digital content that is effective and consistent with the demands of time and technology. This approach ensures that the quality of output is equally of top line and caliber. Maximizing this structural process allows for a varied yet cohesive strategy that sets your digital content apart from the rest.

Setting up the Environment

So let us begin. First, it is important to know the environment with which you are making your ideation strategy. To set this up, we have to consider how often you need to create ideas for content. Going further, it is also imperative to understand who you are writing for and what resources you have to maximize content. Because ideation strategy may vary depending on the business or industry you belong to, knowing your audience or your market is a key element. Now that may not be enough. Consequently, when you have targeted your audience, understanding them in terms of expectations and identifying short or long term needs will be valuable. This allows you to set up objectives and target goals with an almost impeccable accuracy that leads to lasting and solid results.

Understanding Your Environment

The frequency of content ideation also depends on the company you are working with. If you are, for example, copywriting for a big in-house agency like Wazzle Media, and with multifarious resources and channels, you are expected to deliver several times per month. If you work independently or freelance, it could be as often as three or four times a year.

The physical environment as to where ideation originates is crucial in this process. Say, your workstation is full to files and paperwork cluttered on top of the desk, reminding you of your impending deadlines, is not as conducive as you want it to be for making that light bulb moment. The physical space you work in may actually condition your brain to slow down and therefore hamper content ideation strategy.

The Evolution of Idea

The biological process of content ideation starts from (where else) the brain. Understanding how ideas are created would lead us to three key elements or networks working together as a system and fundamental in this structure—the salience network, the endogenous or executive attention network, and the imagination network. These are default networks in the brain that control synapses and give the brain its ability to do its primary job—to think.

The Salience Network

The salience network takes charge with processing, working like a switch, the things around you which is then channeled into proper areas of the brain.

The Endogenous or Executive Attention Network

The endogenous or executive network is that part of the brain which is linked to the memory and stores on information and data for future use. This is tasked with the actual thinking process, the part that we use when we are really thinking deeply, like in a meeting or a business deal you want to seal.

The Imagination Network

Processing information, classifying and relating them to other scenarios is the function of the imagination network. It basically links past, present and future scenarios which are expected to trigger new ideas.

The Physical Environment

Working in an environment away from the commonplace of a busy and noisy office can help maximize the function of these three networks. Shutting off from the otherwise hurly-burly ambiance of the office helps the brain to relax a bit—which in fact makes the brain to “loosen up” and be able to work on its full capacity. Sometimes a new environment helps in this process, like a quiet café where you can work with your team and casually discuss content ideation without being constantly interrupted by other colleagues. A different milieu helps encourage the brain to create new and imaginative ideas.