feather pen in the sandI love being exposed to new ideas, new approaches and new ways of looking at things. It was brought to my attention this week that what I regarded as the beginning is not necessarily a universal construct.

Although I come across as being driven by process and form, my natural instincts are towards the beautiful and at times chaotic creative. I love brainstorming and free form thinking. I get pleasure from trusting my instincts, especially in situations where I have the experience and confidence that flows from that.

Seeking out creative solutions and thinking on my feet are my natural states.

I have had to discipline myself through applying process and form. I have had to develop processes and methodologies in order to provide a framework for the creative. This is especially true in situations where I am not a subject expert or I do not have first hand experience.

In order to allow the creative to flow I need to feel confident, informed and have the self belief that I will find the right answer. In order to do that I need context.

For me the beginning is gaining an understanding of the audiences. I mean really understanding them, not from a quantitative survey, or closed product focus group, but in terms of who they are, what their learning styles are, their aspirations, influencers, values and desires. I need to talk to them, to explore and seek clarity. I need to understand the industry. Not only from the perspective of the organisation I am working with, but in relation to their competitors, industry experts and real time conversations. I also need to learn about the organisation. Just as the customer knows best what the customer wants, so too the people of an organisation are best placed to pass on its personality, culture, objectives and unique business rules.

Armed with the right information from the best sources, the creativity can begin and the often surprising findings lead the strategic direction for the rest of the project.