Brain Storms

By Mike Johnson

I enjoy movies that feature people working in advertising agencies.
“Mr. Mom,” “Nothing in Common” and “Big” are a few good ones.

My favorite scenes are the bullpens where the creatives are brainstorming ideas. These are the moments where brilliance is manifested from thought to substance. The kernel of an idea is launched, which inspires an addition from someone else, which leads to more dimensions added by more people, until a monster idea lies in the center of the table. I love everything about that process.

I worked for ad agencies for a good six years. But I was a remote freelancer so never got to enjoy ad agency bullpens. The closest I got was spit-balling ideas with my agency contacts over the phone.

But I sure used the bullpen brainstorm process when I managed McDonald’s and 7-Elevens. Like they said in another ad agency movie, “What Women Want,” “two heads are better than one and five heads are better than two.”

Brainstorming new ideas was the most fun I ever had in the world of employment and it was the biggest cause of my quick advance up the ranks.

The solo freelancing forced me to brainstorm alone or with Margie. Which created the self-sufficiency to launch and achieve our own dreams.

The trick is to ask the right opening questions then disconnect from “what is.”

A few good openers are:

What if?
What’s missing?
What do I most want?
Who needs the value I offer?
What would I create if I had no limits?

Ideas are seeds. Seeds that can grow an entire new life.

That we can conjure them out of thin air is just one more facet of the unexplainable miracle of who we are.

If your life has gotten stale, perhaps it's time to brainstorm some new seeds.



Air Out That Big Idea


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