How do they teach you to be creative at Google?
Creativity is one of the greatest skills any marketer can have. Max, Co-Founder of Bind, and ex-Googler, shares how they taught him, and his colleagues to be creative in practical steps.
Max approached his talk by structuring it the following way:
- How the brain works best when finding creativity
- The high level science of the brain and creativity
- Max’s three R’s for creativity – related worlds, random links, revolution
- How to practically create an environment where creativity flows
- How to get buy in from more traditional teams for creative ideas
- And much more!
Today, we’re really excited to have the Joint MD of Bind, a Manchester based agency, Max Hoppy.
Max runs Bind with his brother, Oliver. 2 years and 3 months into business, they’ve just won the Grand Prix award at The Drum Awards (that’s the big one). Max is creative and generous – the first time we met the man it was when he managed to gather up £3k of merchandise from local businesses to give to The Marketing Meetup community, just because he wanted to help.
On a personal level, here’s some mushiness for you. Thirteen weeks ago we had to cancel all our events. To some people, they were a small part of their lives. To other folks, it was more significant. We switched the business up on a pinhead for what has been an amazing journey. As we come to the end of what will be known as season one of the webinars, The Marketing Meetup community has been nothing but incredible. And as we say The Marketing Meetup community, we also very much include this man. Max is an attendee at marketing meetup events, but he has been nothing but supportive, gracious, inspiring, lovely, humble, present, kind, positive, informational, willing, and brilliant to me throughout this period.
Today’s session is relevant for many reasons, but perhaps the one that struck me the most is right now, we’re all sat in a place where we may have been slugging through these last few weeks, and creativity might have been at a premium. This session is designed to equip you with the tools to embrace your creative side.
Finally, we want to thank the sponsors, all of whom have been unbelievable. They’ve really kept this show on the road, and while we’ve been so blessed to have received so many messages from the community, these folks all deserve a huge amount of credit. Big thanks to thank Pitch, ContentCal, Fiverr, Redgate, Cambridge Marketing College, Leadoo, Brand, Further, Third Light, Bravo and Human.
Unknown Speaker 0:47
Joe Glover 0:48
well everyone how you doing right? It’s Tuesday. So the last, the last webinar of season one that’s crazy and Today I’m really, really excited to have the joint MD of bind a Manchester based agency. My good mate, Max hoppy. So max runs bind with his brother Oliver, which in itself i think is just brilliant. Two years and three months into business. They’ve just won the Grand Prix award at the Dremel awards. That’s the big one people. Max is creative, and he’s generous. The first time I met the man, it was when he managed to gather up three grands worth of merchandise from local businesses to give to the marketing meetup community just because he wanted to help this piece lady behind me, that’s also a max hoppy special. The guy is an absolute legend. On a personal level, if that machinist wasn’t enough, here’s some more for you. 13 weeks ago, we had to cancel all of our events. To some people, they’re a small part of their lives to others. It was most significant, we switch the business up on a pinhead for what has been an amazing journey these past 13 weeks. As we come to the end of what is known as Season One of the webinars, I just want to say thank you to the Marty meetup community because you’ve been nothing but incredible. And when I say the marketing metre community, I very much include this man who’s going to be speaking to us as well. Max is an attendee at the marketing meetup events. But he’s been nothing but supportive, generous, inspiring, lovely, humble, present, kind, positive, informational, willing and brilliant to me throughout this period, as I sit here on this chair, as I have these past 12 weeks, I sit here but nothing but proud to be associated with this community, but also proud to cap season one off from hearing from a friend like max. Today’s session is relevant for many many reasons. Perhaps The one that strikes me the most is that right now we’re all sat in a place where we may have been slugging through these past few weeks, creativity might have been a little bit a premium. This session is designed to equip you with the tools to help you embrace your creative side, and bring out your own creativity. This session will run as a presentation and then a q&a. So if you’ve got questions, you need to wiggle your mouse. And you will see the q&a feature, you can start asking questions right away, and then we’ll ask them after the presentation as we’ve done over these past 12 weeks, as ever, not that you would do anything else because you’re the most lovely people ever. I just encourage you to stay positively lovely. And don’t forget to use the thumbs up feature because I’ll be asking the questions from the top. Finally, before I hand over to Max, I just want to say a big big thank you to the sponsors. It’s no surprise to so many of you, I guess that I’m a guy that gets nostalgic, but you know, I feel what I feel deeply and I feel nothing but gratitude towards towards all these people. Even though I talk about the brand names, it’s very much the people behind them. And they’ve really helped us keep the show on the road. And you had it in the email before, you’ll have them in the email afterwards. So I’m not going to go into depth here. But there’s one ask as ever, just please take the time to thank the people behind these brands. But huge huge thank you to pitch content cow fibre red gate, came to Martin college leader, brand further third, light, bravo and human. As I say, please just take the time to thank them. So with an early morning start and a friend by my side, Max over to my friend
Max Hoppy 4:58
You just are a lovely, lovely man. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an intro quite like that. So if there is a recording, I need to send it to my mom. Probably. Yeah. I’ll remind the recording that anyway, right, let’s get into this. So by way of really quick introduction to this presentation, it’s not really an outward facing presentation. It’s actually a training. It’s a bit of a plagiarise training, I make no apologies for that, and that I was given five or six years ago. And then I packaged it up. And I use it internally to talk to my own team. So when I was talking to Jared about the kind of thing that might be interesting to the community, I mentioned this, he said, that’d be great. So yeah, I don’t know if that excites you or the opposites, but it is what it is. Let’s get into creativity training at Google. One other thing I mentioned, the points of it is really to give you an appreciation of how human beings work, really high level but quite interesting. And then give you up like applicable stuff to bring into work and using things like brainstorms, or you know, just ideation sessions. So that’s kind of the purpose of it. Okay, let’s go. quick intro to me. I started off life flogging washing machines online and working for startups at the time. aio.com. It was called DRL. Limited back in the day, and it’s gone on to do amazing things. If you haven’t heard of a.com they’re worth looking at as just just inspiration actually for how simple a website is how they approach customer service, really interesting business. I then did some stuff elsewhere and ended up getting a job at Google, which was like a university ask experience. I learned the two things that gave me my Three things really, it gave me you just learned a pace, the amount they invest in and still doing that people and is really, really impressive. And then surrounded by these clever clogs, you know, you feel deeply insecure every minute of that. Because next year, people that have like competed in the Olympics or like, you know, studied at MIT. So you are you have imposter syndrome the whole time either that goes with the territory, but because you’re around these bright individuals, you just, you know, it just gives you even more learning. And the third thing it gave me was probably the confidence to start my own business, which is this third thing on the slide bind, which is a digital marketing agency that Joe, you know, kindly mentioned in his intro, I started with my brother, and we could do a presentation a different presentation on what it’s like to do. A family business presentation would be a fun one, but we won’t do that today. Okay, a quick confession. I do not think of myself as a creative person. If marketers were on a spectrum. And at one end, you’ve got the crazy creatives, you know, doing batshit crazy stuff. And then at the other end, you’ve got the kind of accountants the kind of the the marketers that are comfortable with numbers. I’m at that end of the spectrum, but some of the stuff I’m going to share with you today allows me to punch above my ways. I think it does anyway. Okay, this is what we’ll cover. And we’re going to start off and talk a little bit about the brain. And we’ll move on from the brain. And I’m going to go through a really practical tool that helps kind of stimulate ideas. That is called the three R’s. And then, finally, we’ll build on that with some more practical stuff. And then we’ll do a recap. Okay, let’s begin. Okay, um, so, the beginning is bad. Okay, you’ve got involved participation. So let’s begin. I’d like everybody and I can’t check but go with the flow, Joseph. I can see jack He’s done his leaving everyone to stand up everyone to you know whether in your bedroom, get out of bed on your feet kitchen table, we also saw stand up, right? Okay, now like you as long as it’s safe to do so, to close your eyes. Close your eyes. Okay.
Now, I’d like you to get in your mind I’d like you to just consider where do you do your best thinking? What are you doing when you’re doing your best thinking? Okay, just a couple of moments to consider that. Okay, you can open your eyes the close of the eyes thing you didn’t really need to do I could have just all the standup really. I could stay stood up no job or backup backup I would stay stood up. Okay. So you’ve got in your mind where you do your best thinking. Now sit down if you do your best thinking while walking the dog. This might be Joe actually I know him well enough. Yeah, you Has he sat down? Okay, any other dog walkers Sit down. Okay. What about sit down if it’s when you’re in the shower, or any kind of washing activity, bathing if you’re in the bath you can sit down. Okay? Okay, good. I wish I could see count. Okay, next anyone brave on the toilets. Anyone do the best thinking on the loo you can sit down okay slightly more boring but probably more appropriate going for a run any runners. If Helen Johnson is on this and she will be sitting down right now I don’t know she is but she’s uh, she runs all sorts of crazy distances. Okay, runners, okay. Now sit down. If it’s any other type of exercise, anything you know, yoga, any other type of exercise, please sit down. Okay, now, falling asleep. Sleep is actually asleep, falling asleep and asleep. You can bundle them together. Sit down if you do your best thinking while falling. asleep. Okay, and finally anything else everybody else can sit down. And thank you for for that slightly annoying bit of class participation. There’s one last bit. So you know, Stay Stay alert. I can’t wait to stand back up. If you do your best thinking. When you’re really busy getting email such that your computer you feel like your brain is going to explode. You’re getting text messages, you’ve got 30 minutes to complete a few tasks. You’re getting LinkedIn messages, Whatsapp ups and slacks.
Anybody standing up? I don’t know if anyone did, hopefully you’re a minority in the minority. Because this isn’t that is not the right environment for Good thinking. And in fact, when the brain is too busy, it goes into a state called beta state, beta brain or the busy brain and in beta, the tunnel between our conscious and subconscious closes down and it stops Being able to think strategically, being able to think creatively. And interestingly, a lot of marketers are put under pressure to make decisions while in this state. I don’t know if any of you are unfortunate enough to have to go to like a weekly trading meeting. But basically, the numbers are raked over. And you know, everybody jumps on on the stuff that doesn’t look great and demands action and demands answers to what you know what you’re going to do. Well, nobody is going to come up with our best ideas in that environment. But But sadly, you know, I’d say the majority of businesses actually demand marketers to make decisions when our brains are in beta. Okay, so the dream is actually to get into the moments to be present because when we’re present, our brain moves from beta to a state called alpha. and in alpha, the tunnel between our conscious and subconscious opens up a little bit, and guess what we think better. We think more clearly, we think more strategically, we think more creatively. So, so big thing, if there was one takeaway from this, this deck this presentation, I’d encourage you to think before you start if you if you’re ever in a place where you’ve got to come up with ideas, whether it’s on your own or in a group or whatever, think about how you’re going to get out of beta, how you can get people’s brains out beats run into alpha. Now, there are two other states, there’s a state called Theatre in a state called Delta. And in theatre and delta, that tunnel between conscious and subconscious opens up even even further actually. And but they’re difficult to achieve in work because theatre happens as you’re about to fall asleep. It’s literally that window between being awake and asleep, and deleterious kind of deepest, darkest sleep. So difficult to kind of replicate those states and work Having said that, people don’t. And one of the most famous examples is, is an inventor that you may have heard of called Thomas Edison, and famous inventor. I think he did the light bulb, I should Can’t remember or he was like second with a light bulb or something. But like famous inventor, and Thomas Edison, famously used to sit in his comfy chair get nice and comfortable. He’d put a cup apart and a pencil to his right hand side. And he put his feet in a copper pan. Okay. And then lastly, he would trap a penny, between his knees, they’d kind of sit back and get comfortable, close his eyes.
And just as he was about to fall asleep, his body would totally relax, that Penny would drop from between his knees make a big claim to kind of wake him up, and it scribbled down whatever he was thinking about. And that’s where the expression the penny drops comes from. But by the way, I actually haven’t fact checked that story, but I like it too much to what like, I love the story. So I’m not doing it because if it’s if it’s if it’s factually incorrect, don’t want to know. I think it’s a great story. Anyway, feats are in works is tricky. But I think that thinking about getting the brain into alpha is is an interesting thoughts. And that’s the that’s the takeaway here. The takeaway to this is, it’s a bit like I was trying to think of an analogy. This is a really rubbish one, but I came up with it yesterday. So I’m looking when I used to back in the day, I used to teach kids to ski. That was my job for a few years. So it sounded quite glamorous. It really wasn’t glamorous, it was glorified babysitting, but the kids all want to be able to ski they want to do great turns and look great skiing. But actually, there were some foundations that you needed that were almost always wrong. And it was to do with the ski boots, the ski boots have got to fit in. It makes things so much easier if they’re a snug fit and critically, the ski sock. Yeah, the mount this is often missed. The ski stock needs to be pulled up really tight. So there’s this really thin and kind membrane probably the wrong word between booton skin that is that hasn’t got any wrinkles in it allows the skier to really feel like it should be touching the boot so that like small little flexes are felt in the boot and you can ski. And this is a bit like that. Or maybe it isn’t, but this is my dodgy analogy. And this is the foundational stuff, don’t jump into coming up with the ideas, if you haven’t got the environments kind of writes for your brain or brains if it’s lots of people to come up with the best ideas anyway, and you can you can’t delete that because it’s being it’s being live streamed on YouTube. So anyway, next, write the three R’s, and the three R’s. So there’s three of them. Hence the three R’s. These are three things that can be used to create stimulus for creative thoughts, and I’ll introduce them one at a time. So the first is called related worlds related worlds. So this our requires you to think about whatever your challenges or your problem or your the thing that you’re trying to come up with ideas about. It requires you to think about what is at the essence of it, what’s at the core of it. And then it asks you to consider where that essence has been solved elsewhere, and to use that related world, a stimulus for ideas, and I’ll give you an example it brings it to life. So Speedo, hopefully you’ve heard of Speedo, they make swimming trunks and costumes and goggles and things for swimmers. And that challenge was they wanted their products, their swimming trunks to help their swimmers perform better, to you know, swim faster. So they took inspiration, they thought, where’s this problem and solve before and they went and looked at sharks. You know, they went to an underwater world, and they looked at sharkskin and they found that shark skin is made up of a series of overlapping scales. And these scales trap air bubbles between them, which helps with buoyancy. And for whatever reason, it helps the sharks swimming faster. I don’t know why, but it does. Okay. So Speedo took that idea. And they quite literally put swimmers in bloody sharks suits. And, and these suits, these kind of all body suits have this sharkskin technology built into them. And in fact, the Olympics that these suits were introduced was, I think it was the Sydney and all of the world records were broken. Yeah, really impressive until they got banned. Because frankly, it’s cheating putting sharks in on swimmers. But that’s not the moral of the story. The moral of the story is this was a this was an inspiring, interesting creative thing. But you know, Come on, guys, you can’t you can’t do that. But I thought it was cool. Anyway, the next our revolution of rule breaking is a really nice one. So this one requires you to make a list of all the rules, all the stuff that exists around your challenge or problem or thing. And then pick a rule or a couple of rules and break, break breaking. And then use that revolution stimulus to think differently. So when I break rules, I use this and there are three things I’ll do with a rule, I might do the opposite of it. I might exaggerate it, or am I do something a bit weird with it? I’ll give an example. That brings that kind of point to life. So my example for this one is from KPMG. Not maybe not the brand, you’d consider, you know, inspiring creative marketing example. But KPMG they share. They share an office with me, well, I’m on floor two in a pokey little office. They’ve got floors eight, nine and 10. And you know the with the nice view, but nonetheless, one of my friends works there a few my friends were there, and I meet them for lunch from time to time. And on one occasion a few months ago. I met Dave said write me is in the KPMG reception. And we’ll go to Wagamama as well, I would say, I’m going up in the lift to that nice, nice top floor. And I’m thinking, What am I going to experience when I get to the reception? And I thought, well, I’ll see loads of briefcases, I’ll probably see copies of the Financial Times or The Economist. And it’s probably going to be quite a sterile, you know, clinical professional environment and probably a bit boring.
But somebody in KPMG, I suspect to market it, well, definitely a marketer is got a bit freaky with some of the rules of professional services reception. So I imagine one of the rules is this has got to look incredibly professional, very professional. Yeah. But somebody had taken that rule, and I believe that done the opposite of it and actually done something a bit weird with it. And when I walked in, I didn’t see copies of the Financial Times. In fact, I saw copies of the latest edition of the beaner And I also saw, I think they had some, like swizzles sweets and like really nice old school sweets presented in a really nice way my tie out, like it wasn’t like, like it wasn’t slapdash, it was very considered. And I was blown away. I mean, completely blew my mind. Because, I mean, first I thought it was a very brave thing to do, which I always think that’s quite inspiring. But secondly, there was genius in it because it made me think this company thinks differently. Yeah, if I’m going to trust them with my professional services needs, I think these guys might might come at it a bit, you know a bit differently, then they’re going to be innovative. And, you know, versus the PwC or a reception that I may have been in the week before making it up. But I just thought it was a very, very strong example of creativity in an environment where I was not expecting it.
Okay, the last star random links So this one, I don’t mind saying I struggle with this one the most, the first two I find naturally come quite naturally or I find them easy to use. This one I struggle with. And this one requires you to take something completely random. Yeah, completely disconnected from the problem. And then it asks you to kind of think deeply about the problem, the thing you’re trying to try to solve or whatever, and then force connections between those two things. Okay. And the way I visualise this, is I imagine my mind is full of this might just be me. Imagine my mind is full of boxes, okay? And everything in the world that I know about occupies a box, whether it’s my children, or I don’t know, Joe’s got his own box, and everyone’s got a box. And if things are quite similar, the boxes are close together. And if they’re completely like nothing to do with each other, the boxes are quite far apart. So I started off by saying In this presentation, I used to work io.com I thought a lot about flogging washing machines. Yeah. So if I was thinking of new ideas on how I may sell washing machines, and I’ve got a box for washing machines in my head, I’ve probably got a box for fridges that’s quite close to that box, kitchen appliance, similar price point is sold in the same place breaks down on average about the same, you know, similar brands, often the same brands, similar in a closed box. So forcing connections between those two things, is not a random link, and you’re not going to get lots of creative ideas. By looking at how fridges are sold and applying it to washing machines. You’ll get some safe ideas, you know, some probably well tested ideas, they won’t be that different or creative. However, if I were to take Las Vegas, which is a box that is bloody nowhere near washing machines in my mind, and of course the link between them, that is a truly random And I’m likely to come up with some ideas that are quite different. They may not all be good, like certain a lot of them will not be good, but they will be different. And in fact, one retailer in America has forced the connection between these two boxes. And it’s a retailer called apt electronics. They’re based out of Chicago. They’re a third generation family business started in the 50s. And I visited them about 10, maybe a bit more years ago, and I was doing some studying at university out there and they were used as a case studies, we went to the store. It’s super cool, super cool. And what they’ve done, the senior team once here go out to Las Vegas, and they look for inspiration to bring back and put into their store because they’ve realised that to survive in an era of Amazon and commodity. They’ve got to create differentiation in a store environment. They’ve got to create retail Theatre in the Store. So if you go into the store, this is it. And it feels like it feels like you’ve walked into the Bellagio like it literally feels like a casino their reception. And you’ll see at the back left of the of the picture, there’s a candy bar full of sweets for kids. And there’s something else in the in the right hand corner. I can’t I don’t know what it is, but it looks like some kind of Child’s Play thing. And they’ve brought these these amazing like entertainment things into the store. And what that leads to is when families like right now if anyone’s watching with families, you are craving ideas like of things to do. You’re desperate things to do. And pre co
I’m about 10 I was muted. Did I say something rude?
I missed it again. I’m unmuted jack, can you give me a thumbs up?
I’m gonna keep going, unless
I’m gonna keep going. I don’t know if
Ellen Johnson raise your hand I do.
I’m gonna keep I’m gonna keep going. I can backtrack. If nobody can hear. I can just backtrack. So, I think the story here is
Joe Glover 26:44
I think, Max, I think you’re okay, maybe it’s just me that I don’t think I can hear you but everyone else can. So if you’re the carry on mate, we might just have to cut it towards an end at the end of the presentation. So
Max Hoppy 27:00
For the satellite For everyone else, carry on me, go for it. Cheers, buddy. What I mean, I think that it’s not my lifestyle. It is it’s my lifestyle. So we’re now going to finish off by just talking a few a little bit more about how to bring some of this to live practically in a business. And which is hard. By the way, it’s not always easy to do. So I think the first thing we talked about, we talked about the brain and start this thing, and the environment is everything, like getting to alpha is the goal and environment is everything. So, you know, even this slide you will see and come up with is I think you’re okay, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think
Unknown Speaker 27:45
anyone else can say
Joe Glover 27:48
I just have to cut it towards the end
Unknown Speaker 27:50
at the end of the presentation. So sir
Max Hoppy 27:58
okay. So And okay, environment is massive and outdoor. So I’ve just shown for fun outdoors versus like crazy trading floor. Outdoors is actually a really interesting thing to experiment with when you’re coming up with ideas. It’s not always possible and the business that you’re in may not allow it actually. And I’d always encourage trying to get out of office, I definitely encourage things like own clothes, things that relax people. And but if your business isn’t going to let you leave, and the boardroom can work, and one example that springs to mind that I’ve used, this is a real one. And I was working with a tire retailer called tires on the drive that now been acquired by Halfords, and they sold tires online. And our challenge was how do we simplify the buying process online? Because most people we found that most people were not converting because they were scared of choosing the wrong tire. So we came up with a reasonably audacious goal. We said how, you know, how do we make it so that Grand can buy the rights higher online. How do we make it so easy that grant can do it? And that’s what we called our brainstorm. And we went into the boardroom, I put up pictures of big pictures of people’s grunts on the wall. I dressed up as an old woman, which was interesting. Oh, maybe no, it was a bit odd. And I also boarded up, we had a glass door, I made sure that people couldn’t see in, because the last thing you want if you’re running a brainstorm is for people to feel that others are watching them and like they’re getting judged while they’re coming up with ideas. So thinking about like working on the environment is a really important kind of hygiene factor in getting this right. Okay, next. Now, I could go down a rabbit hole with this slide. Whenever you bring an idea to life. Two things have got to have happened. You need to have had some expansive thoughts, you know, what’s the art of the possible and then you need to reduce that thought down And so what can actually be delivered and is practical, okay? And these two types of thoughts, they’re like oil and water like they really shouldn’t when that when that they don’t mix well at all. And if you if you bring reductive thought into an expansive discussion, it usually leads to no more God expansive thoughts. So my recommendation is break these things out, I’d actually i’d signal that there is no reductive thought today. And I do the reductive thought on a different day, ideally, possibly different people as well actually, because fewer people from experience a better together a bathroom, redemptive thought, expansive, you can really help as many people as possible. And there’s a few practical considerations i’ll come on to that. But but more is better often with expansive, but reductive Definitely not. A couple of other little practical tips. If you’re if people start bringing in reductive thoughts or an expansive discussion, have fun with it. Okay, either. Find out them, make them wear a silly hat, do something that signals that that’s not the behaviour that you want. But don’t do it in a way that makes them feel like you’re doing a silly way. And don’t do it in a way that like, you know, they feel they’ve been lambasted because as soon as that negativity comes in that will kill expansive thoughts as well. Okay, what I mean, I should have a slide on this, this next point I’m gonna make when somebody comes out with an expected thought that’s like, a bit dodgy. Yeah, don’t like the worst thing you can do is just is pounce on it. It’s rubbish, whatever. The best thing you can do is a technique. I call the sun technique. Okay? As is in what’s called an acronym. S, suspend judgement. So try not to judge it like, like, pause that that instinct of judgement, okay? Try and understand where they’re coming from. So probe around with questions because even if their idea is shit, the thing that’s triggered the audit probably isn’t. So try and understand. Why did you say Like that, explain why that is so important. And then in doing that, and try and nurture the idea, so so try and give it some positive energy. Okay, I like that bit of it. That’s interesting. Can you expand on that? And weirdly, if you use that some technique, some really bad ideas can become good ideas with a bit of probing is fascinating. And it takes some practice actually, and I’m still not great at it myself because I’m naturally going to judgement I can’t I can’t help it. We think we’re, we’re trained to do this at university critical thinking analysis. So so to get out of it’s difficult.
Okay, next, and we do this a lot. I did it today. So that stand up shenanigans at the start was was an example of an energizer or I’ve called it alpha sizer, because we now are all trained to get to alpha and alpha sizer. And when you’re coming up with little games are things to do at the start of presentations or discussions and encourage you to think about what would appeal to I think like a seven or eight year old girl. And I’ve got a four year old girl. She’s too young. She’s like, you know, she just like toilet humour and Peppa Pig probably not appropriate you know teenagers I work in schools a bit that now they probably don’t want to play seven or eight year old girl. Yeah. And it’s because we love even though we don’t even though we’re afraid to sometimes admitted particularly in work. We love being silly and being children. And there’s something in you know, people point to children as the creative, you know, creative brains, you know, it’s because they’re silly in the moment, their brains are an alpha. So doing something silly to start with can be really helpful. But again, the environments got to be right. You can’t do it in a glass boardroom with everybody looking at you. And I failed at that. I’ve done that before. three examples of energises. We use a tool called Kahoot which is a you may have come across it’s like an online quiz game. I’m a bit quiz that in the moment but pre lockdown, that was the thing. We did a lot of everyone participates and answer some silly questions. And we do a lot of exercising things like not not super strenuous, but we might do a little silly squat game, or we’ll do we’ll get in a circle and someone goes in the middle and does those the favourite stretch, and everyone’s got a copy it bit weird. And I’ve done that and failed when when I did it. And when everybody else could see in the business that we were doing lunges, and then everyone became insecure. And it didn’t work. Yeah. Like they’re suddenly thinking about what’s up, I’m thinking about me. So you’ve got to the environment, and this are very important to work together. And the last example I’ll give you is what I call Battle Royale. Which is a it’s a bit of a rock, scissors, paper, scissors, paper stone. So that rock scissors, paper stone game, whereby you pair up, have a game of scissors, paper stain, and the winner goes to find another winner. And the loser becomes the winners, biggest cheerleader. So they’re behind the person that’s just beat them going. Come on Joe Come up and you end up with two people playing scissors papers don’t like it depends on size, your group of 10 your 10 cheerleaders behind each, it’s really fun, really stupid, requires some bravery. Okay, next the rule of three to five. So if you’ve got a big group of people actually coming up with ideas, actually, it doesn’t work that well, you know, I said the more the merrier, kind of lied, and you’ve got to, you’ve got to chunk them up, in my experience, break them out into smaller groups of three to five, have them go and kind of come up with ideas and then present back. So the main group and it does two things, it means people are more likely to participate in a group of 22 people will not participate in a group of three, they’re much more likely to and secondly, the fact that having to present that puts a little bit of pressure on them that it’s a sit that they’ve got to package up their idea, you know, they’ve got to come up with it got to put put their effort and effort in. So I find that useful. Finally, stimulus. So turning up to write time for the ideas that can no uncertain thing will introduce some stimulus to get the ideas game. I’m not going to go through the art again. But another example may be we often use constraints in brainstorms, whereby we’ll say, right? For the next three minutes, I only want ideas that cost less than 1000 pounds to implement, or I only want ideas that we can actually deliver on in 48 hours. You know, arguably, it’s a bit of reductive, you know, a reductive constraint, but it can really make interesting ideas pop out, it just forces the brain to think in a slightly different way.
Okay, I mean, the takeaway here is counter-intuitively. This stuff needs planning. Yeah, like it’s not like some people may be gifted, just turn up and the ideas come. I’m not one of those people. If I plan it works, it works infinitely better than if I don’t and I’ll leave you with a final little story. This was actually my second to last day at Google. I had a I ran something called a brand lab with Optical Express with their senior team, the founder actually a guy called David Moorestown, and they were concerned about their online reputation. Online Express actually don’t really sell specs. They sell laser eye surgery. They’re the biggest seller of laser eye surgery in the country. And when somebody laser eye surgery goes wrong, as you can imagine, they write a negative review. I mean, they don’t try regularly. They go crazy negative online as kind of it should. The optic Express had a few examples of this that got out of control and they were very worried about their online reputation. So we try to use related worlds to create provide stimulus as to how they may think about their reputation. And I managed to get my wife my now wife’s to my wife’s friends to come into the meeting, and which they thought was very odd. At first I got a barrister guy called Chris Williams. I’m the lead singer of a band, a band that was trying to make it in London. It never But the guy bought it for five years. And both of those individuals think about reputation in court, you know, they don’t sell laser eye surgery, but they’re obsessed with reputation, the barrister for good, you know, for obvious reason. And the lead singer of the band obviously is thinking about his reputation. So we asked them to just share stories about how they produce reputation, the barista talks about how his chambers had to look and how his certificates are on the wall behind them and all that stuff that demonstrated expertise. And the lead singer of the band talks about how he really worked on community in a way that actually I think Joe Glover does very well, and nurturing these positive advocates that then spread the word and that actually helps reputation. And at the end of it, Optical Express was just blown away. They went and implemented a load of stuff, they weren’t going to try and present a much stronger, you know, reputational signal so that potential customers, and then they spent a million pounds on YouTube and I did I was pleased about, which was actually my secret goal. Anyway, let’s wrap this up. Let’s do a quick recap. We’ve talked about three things today, we started off talking about the brain, and how Actually, it’s the foundational thing needed. And for good ideas to come. You know, it’s the dog walking, it’s the showering, how do we replicate that kind of stuff without taking our clothes off and bringing the dog into work? How do we get to alpha? We then talked about a tool and I say we, I talked about a tool called the three R’s, which which doesn’t solve all your problems is just a tool that helps interesting ideas pop out, and we talked about related worlds rule breaking and random links. And then finally, I shared some some anecdotal stuff about things that have worked for me in how I approach ideation sessions in work. And the kind of takeaway that is is actually about planning as boring as that is is about putting time and effort into the plan. And it will, it will work a lot better and trying it. Like we’re not my agency ain’t great at this, by the way, we’re okay. But we get better each time by doing this stuff. And if you’ve got clients clients love it. I mean, they really enjoy it. And because it’s fun. Okay, that’s it. I’m Max hoppy. You can find me on LinkedIn if you want to connect lots of people like me to Joe Glover, but with none of the followers.
And that’s it. Thank you very much. Thanks, Joe.
Joe Glover 40:32
Oh, boy, so can you can you hear me, Max?
Max Hoppy 40:36
Yeah, I can hear you now. Fine.
Joe Glover 40:38
Yeah, great. Okay, so I can’t hear you through my computer, but I’ve locked on my phone in the meantime. So there’s been loads of great comments that have come in. And I think we’ll be able to manage q&a through my phone, and then get the Q and A’s on my computer if there’s a whole range of tech that’s been going on. But Dude, what an amazing presentation. Like everything that I caught in the first two thirds. And then, like I missed the gap in the middle with the practical bits, which I’m glad about something go back and look at that. But honestly, we’re getting so many great comments coming in from people who said they really enjoyed it. And the number of questions
Max Hoppy 41:15
wants the deck mate, I’m happy to share the deck and you if you if you work out how to do that I can just give it to you or whatever.
Joe Glover 41:21
Absolutely. Let him Thank you very much. So are you okay to take a few questions the next 1015 minutes or so? I’d love to you know, I’d love to fat. So the first one we’ve got from is from Karen, who it herself is just a lovely, lovely human being. And she says, What advice would you give for one person bands when it comes to sort of creating opportunities for creativity? Specifically, she says, where we are brainstorming on our own
Max Hoppy 41:54
one person band as in as in someone who’s on their own. Yeah, yeah. You know, I mean, it’s it. My view is, sadly that more humans together have got more chance of changing the world. But I don’t think it’s I don’t think it’s like you need 100 I think small groups of like three to five are interested in what I would do, I’d say the first thing is, I think there’s stuff that you can do on your own. I think actually, those are really useful on your own, because they give you somewhere to start. So if whatever the problem or thing or you know, I don’t, I don’t need need the context, whatever the thing is that this nice lady is thinking about, and go and find some different related worlds, you know, break some rules. There’s also a great book, I’d say it’s more strategic than like marketing focused called Blue Ocean Strategy, that I find a really helpful one. I mean, it actually incorporates some of those ours like rule breaking, it’s into kind of a breaking a rule. And the water what actually do is I wouldn’t do any of that. I’d actually go and find some humans. They don’t need to work for you. Like there’s people in this community, this community actually is a really good example. How do you get some people that are disconnected? They don’t need to be connected to your world to do zoom with you, and you know what, thank you, but you don’t spend a lot of money. I said, Thank you to Joe by sending in that dodgy plant. He talks about a lot of money to do actually. And, and so there’s things you can do to say thank you and build goodwill. And but that’s, that’s what I do. I mean, there is stuff you can do on your own. But I actually think more is better. People don’t need to work for you. And people want to help, or certain people do.
Joe Glover 43:37
Yeah, absolutely. That’s, that’s an awesome idea. They absolutely love that. And so got a question from Dan. And by the way, folks, we’ve got probably more questions than we can answer. So please use the thumbs up functionality if you have a question which you’d like answering, because that’ll help me take the ones from the top. So we’ve got a question here from Dan, who says That he’s running a film festival with some students. They’re very busy creating their own art and adapting to distance learning as well. How do you encourage your team to sort of buy in to being part of the creative process in the first place?
Max Hoppy 44:18
Well, I do, I do think there is, this is so this is so relevant this question, I think, on a few levels, because whenever you wanted, like we would do post this thing about creating change the other day, or No, you didn’t, you posted something about skills for marketers, and I wrote on that, actually, change management is really important. And actually, pulling off creativity requires change management. And there’s three things whenever you create change, three things need to happen. The first is you got to create the environment of change. The second is you start making the change. And the third is you build on the change. And most most change fails because people jump straight into doing and they don’t work on the environment and this is the exact This is kind of linked. If that’s a question, and expecting these students or people to help you on this, to just kind of go doesn’t work. So you got to create the environment first, which usually involves telling them why, and maybe more than once, like, why are we doing this? Like getting into the why it might be one to one, you know, guys just want a quick one to one and why we want to do this and you go around and use explain the why let them question that it gives them context. Context is everything. And if people are just asked to do stuff, and they do not have context, it doesn’t work, or it works. It doesn’t work that well. And, and then one of the things we do when we when we brainstorm is some of the things I’ve talked about today. I will actually pre do I will start to brainstorm. We’ll do like a mini refresher on how we’re going to approach this. And we do lots of signalling of what’s good and what’s bad like, and we don’t we don’t beat people up for making mistakes or doing wrong But we’ve signalled strongly the behaviours that are not for today. And we usually have a silly mechanic to manage it like wearing a stupid hat, like no one wants to wear the stupid hat. Everyone else loves it when you’ve got to wear the stupid hat. So it doesn’t bring negativity when you’ve got to wear the wizard hat. So
Joe Glover 46:20
that makes it that makes an awful lot of sense. And actually, I think you’re probably going to provide a very similar answer to the next question, which is from our friend, Penny, LinkedIn. Who says, What advice would you give to an internal marketing team wants to sell in new ideas to a business that seems new and untested or scary slash expensive?
Max Hoppy 46:46
I mean, I know a bit about Penny’s business. I won’t divulge anything confidential, but creating change in that business is harder than some of the other businesses that I know. It’s a very traditional business. Some of the wacky, okay, if I dressed up as an old woman and went into that business to run a branch, then I’d get booted out. I think that it’s, I think that it’s I think it’s really, really difficult. I think that under I think going back to the context is everything so panning out from senior stakeholders that are out there acts like PwC accountants that they like spreadsheet it like their world is spreadsheets data. So explaining the why in that terms, I think is helpful. And one of the other things that I do is when I’m trying to create change, or get buy into things, there’s often other people that influence the stakeholder you need to buy in. Yeah, so let’s say it’s the CEO. It’s not just a marketing director, the finance director has an influence the ops directors influence so how do you create like a coalition of people now bought into this thing? So you’ve got pincer movement. You know, it sounds a little bit political. But it’s, it’s, it’s how change works in big complex organisations. And if you don’t want to play that game, maybe that you’re in the wrong organisation, I think that’s the other thing to consider that some marketers don’t want to, it’s not that they don’t want to do the work, it’s the pain in creating change, it’s not worth it, actually, then they could probably create change in another environment easier. And that probably will mean they’ve got more time doing things that they like. So that’s another consideration in the environment. Maybe not for you. I asked about thing. I had one of those. I went mentioned the business buy one of those where the change just wasn’t worth it. Like a little change on the website required two weeks work. And I was like, You know what, I just don’t know if that’s for me. And so,
Joe Glover 48:52
yeah, that makes an awful lot of sense. I think too tied to the answer that you had to the previous question as well then context will also be important. So You mentioned sort of selling people on the context on what’s important and all that sort of stuff. So that was if it was like, it’d be part of the puzzle, but there’s actually been a bit of a running theme over these past few weeks where speakers have kind of said, you don’t have to say yes to everything. You know, it’s okay to sort of say no, or to walk away from something. If it’s, you know, not right. And that’s absolutely fine as well. So I think that’s a really great message. There’s a wonderful comment here from Charlotte, by the way, who says that she loves how dressing as a granny was your first instinct is something that was off the wall interesting.
Max Hoppy 49:39
She took out poster like it was really that that was the first time I tested this outside Google actually was that brainstorm. And we came up. I mean, we did some things that I genuinely believe contributed to that business being acquired by how fits because we made some big, bold, gutsy decisions that didn’t work. First, Bob became quite disruptive in the tire industry. So yeah,
Joe Glover 50:06
that’s really cool. And, and actually, it’s amazing how thematically these questions are linked, but it seems like there’s there’s variations on the theme here. So we’ve got a question from john king, who’s one of their fellow Manchester attendees as well, who says how do you encourage this kind of participation among folks who are a bit reserved, or just not used to it? He works with a bunch of lawyers and getting them involved can be hard work.
Max Hoppy 50:35
Lawyers are really hard.
All my schoolmates became lawyers, all of them and a couple of doctors but mostly lawyers. And when they see some of the stuff I talk about, they just think I’m an idiot, and I can go the day but that day that KPMG, he’s a lawyer, he totally thinks I’m going to do, john so john kings tough. And this is awful at one of your events, and a young lad came to me and he was thinking again, a new job. And I told him, I asked why he was interested in and I told him to stay away from like insurance and legal services and things. And it’s not because they’re not this, I actually think that could be a really rewarding marketing job. I just think it’s harder, okay, it’s harder to do certain things. And the other challenge you’ve got in the, in the, in the structure, the org structure of that kind of business, you’ve got lots of clever people as in partners at the top, and they’re all really clever, all of them. And actually, that structure isn’t a great structure. I don’t think for bravery for like, really bold markets like Ilan musk would would abandon that structure very quickly, because he needs to be able to move quickly and double down on something and not have a raging debate about almost an academic debate. And I’d say higher education is a similar situation that Like it’s difficult to get changed to happen. Having said that, it’s absolutely possible. And I suspect when you do it, it’s rewarding. I would. I mean, I think a lot about the egos in the business, I think a lot about where the actual people that can make decisions are. And I would work aligning what I need to happen with that incentives ego. And I think I think it’s bloody hard. Like I think, john, I know, john, I really liked john. And I always think his job is hard. But what I will say is, loads of people shit at it, okay? So if you go into that, if you are a rock star marketing Rockstar, and you go into it, the legal the legal area, I think you’ve got an opportunity to differentiate, because lots of marketers avoid those sectors. So if you’re if you’re a rock star and you learn how to create change, and then I think that will hold you in an amazing stead. don’t actually think I’ve answered that. Well, I think I don’t have practical advice. It’s more it’s the change principle. It’s what you know, it’s create environment for change, who guiding coalition to help it get through who are the most important people in it, line up your objective with what incentivizes them use language in terms that they understand. So if that spreadsheet people use spreadsheets, you know, lawyers like Word docs, they love to track changes in Microsoft Word. Do that. And shiny PowerPoint presentations probably aren’t the right medium for a lawyer, actually.
Joe Glover 53:34
And it comes down to a target market thing, isn’t it? So it’s the same as any marketing proposition, which is, understand the people you’re trying to speak to and speak to them in the way that they want to be. So we’ve got we’ve got five minutes left. So we’ll take these as a slight rapid fire and then and then we’ll be able to close out. So first question is Again, another amazing meetup. attendee, I can’t believe the so many. You says amazing presentation, which is good feedback for you. I’m planning a brainstorm, naming party for my business. What tips would max have for planning and running the session virtually?
Max Hoppy 54:20
So naming party as in
Joe Glover 54:22
Yeah. Yeah. But it seems like maybe the crux of the question is more about planning and running a session, virtually?
Max Hoppy 54:31
Well, I think I do. I mean, I do think it’s harder, but I do not think it is insurmountable. And it’s, if we think about the things
we go back to principles that are important when I talked about practical stuff, so environments important. They’re in the home environment, okay, that’s helpful. Maybe encourage them to dress up in a certain way. That is you want to kind of break them out of this is no longer day today. You want to think about Limiting the distractions that are going to get in place. So it’s about thinking about like phones and emails like how do you like I would be out of office on like, I’d be like, you don’t want email stuff and and then I’d do something if it was me it was our business. My brother is the wild one, which is helpful. he’d send people something before I’m married, it posts something bloody stupid. And he did it. He posted he calls me the wizard, which is another story I heard possible not everyone in the business something stupid to wear. For this session we were doing I had a wizard heart will pitch in hustling bird related
or not something.
And what we’re trying to do here is break the brain, not break it move shift the brain into into beta. might also do pre work. I usually find pre work is helpful. So it might be if you’re going to use related worlds. Ask people to come thinking about it. Give them tell them what related worlds is had, and ask them to come with examples of related worlds. So that they bought into the principle before. And
there’s already been some good thought into it. I think what else I do?
I think a lot of the other principles do carry through as well, if you’ve got a big team break out use the breakout functionality that zoom has or the other option, or the Microsoft showed those as well. Don’t have 22 people. I mean, maybe even less people, and virtually it might be three is better than five. Go might have a view on that because you’ve done more stuff with breaking people out.
Unknown Speaker 56:42
And they’re not necessarily I
Joe Glover 56:44
think, so. It’s a different context. But I think we’ve been conversation clubs on Friday, and I think I’m coming to a place where I think like groups of threes or fours seem to work best online. And I think five Potentially allows, and particularly when there’s a time restriction on things. I think five potentially gives less people less opportunity to speak and have their opinion, though. So, I think I think that’s probably where I’m coming to. But, you know, I think it probably depends on the group dynamics as well. If you’ve got five chatterboxes, it could be really difficult. Whereas if you’ve got five people here, more considered or whatever it may be, but I love that idea of breaking people out of their normal day to day. And I think that’s why so many folks sort of speak about and you said at the beginning of the presentation, you know, like when you change your environment, and like, I remember one of my best ever marketing days was spent down the pub with with a mate, you know, it was just wasn’t in the office, and we’re so creative. So I think that’s, that’s the equivalent in the virtual world. We’ll go to the last question from Rachel. And it’s probably something a lot of people also struggle with socially. She says, she really struggles to come up with ideas outside the office. How can she trained her brain to make those random connections to spark different ideas? Her mind always seems to wander back to the same, the same old stuff.
Max Hoppy 58:17
Yeah, I mean, I think the
I think that you can rely on these. I think the tools are more helpful for somebody that naturally stays, you know, you’re selling washing machines, you’re thinking about bridges kind of thing. I think the tools actually become more important or more helpful. And the thing that then you’ll find it so we were trying to sell cars for a client, and we forced a random link actually with Harry Potter. And we were thinking about how do we come up with ideas to sell cars? that’s to do with Harry Potter, and we came up with so much crap, send us so bad. We were going to have an owl day at the showroom. We were gonna and some people spouse who had tasks drives stuff that was so crap. Well, one of the this is the things you can practice is not beating yourself up for those crap ideas, the more comfortable you get coming up with crap, the more chance of finding gold in there. So my advice would be that, that to use some of the tool and you can google there’s some other tools, I’m sure, like, brainstorming constraints, I think it’ll be one to look for. And, and to practice. I mean, practice is important, I think. But the tools to start with, because they force you they force you to say something, you know, you can’t you’ve got Harry Potter in the southern cast, you’ve got a set and you’ve got to say something well, something will come out of your mouth. It just might be awful. And that’s fine. Got to get used to it. You’re gonna kind of get comfortable with coming up with awful stuff.
Joe Glover 59:53
Yeah, yeah. I feel like nine tenths of the stuff that comes out my mouth is rubbish that you know, like So if you get that one that one good thing you’re absolutely spot on. Yes.
Max Hoppy 1:00:05
I think your ratio of good to bad gets better over time. I’m finding that with me. Definitely. I think I’m still I’m still miles more bad than good, but the ratio is getting better.
Joe Glover 1:00:16
Absolutely. Right. And I don’t know what he’d been up to see the comments coming in over the course of time, but there’s been so many people who have just been saying what a brilliant presentation it’s been and how much they’ve enjoyed it, Max say. You know, Max and I were discussing this yesterday, I think we’re saying that it’s something you’d like to do a lot more often and get better at that. I think, you know, honestly, like the amount of people that have been saying so many wonderful things you should be really pleased with yourself make
Max Hoppy 1:00:45
the public speaking.
Joe Glover 1:00:47
Well, yeah, absolutely. But
Max Hoppy 1:00:49
the content sorry, not one tiny thing on that. Of course, you just for people because I know it’s a common one. So I’m petrified of public speaking. Although I work my tail off on it like my I’ve joined Toastmasters. I speak once a week now Toastmasters and which is now online. And I force myself to do these talks. And originally I didn’t want to do it on my own. So I didn’t my brother because I knew that I had a backstop in case I cocked up. And, and it all came from many years ago or five years ago, I had a panic attack public speaking, which is a story for the day. But But I am like, Joe is an inspiration for goodness, I know that you’re I suspect you it’s not like the first natural thing for you. But you’re brilliant at it and practice. And I think I think that’s a really, I just think it’s a really good one for lots of people listening helps you with so many parts of your life. And that’s why I appreciate you letting me speak jack because it’s this is good, really good training for me.
Joe Glover 1:01:49
Thank you. Thank you, dude, thank you very much. I appreciate it. It’s certainly not natural, but practice makes perfect. And I think that goes for creativity as much as it does for public speaking or indeed anything really so? So yeah. Right. So that’s us had the opportunity to wrap up the session. I’m so pleased that we’ve been able to have that q&a too. You can see these comments coming in max. So take this as a proper ego boost for right now because they’re so people sending you so much love. There’s going to be a announcement later this week with the next bunch of webinar speakers. I’m really, really, really excited to share them with you. 13 weeks ago, we had to turn it on the pinhead and get the scheduling. But this time we’ve had a little bit more time and like, I’m just so unbelievably proud that the people who said yes, how often we’re gonna have a couple of weeks break from these webinars. Now. I think we’re still going to run conversation club. But I’m also going to take a little bit of time off as well, which would be quite nice. Thank you, Max. Thank you, everyone. That’s been Today just love this. I love you all so much. Like, just the best life. So thank you all. Have a wonderful rest of your day. Look out that announcement at the end of the week. Do thank the sponsors as ever, and you know everyone just just enjoy yourself and enjoy the sunshine. Jays Max and thank you all so much. Take care