AdAsia: Big Ideas in the Age of Now

04 Nov,2011

By Akash Raha

Emerging from the real-timeness of the ‘anytime, anywhere’ economy, the ‘present’ has never been so dominant in the life of business / marketing professionals and consumers. There is a surfeit of ‘so-called’ ideas but there is always a short-supply of the ‘big’ idea that results in creative disruption. Robert Senior, Creative Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi in the ‘The Pursuit of Big Ideas in the Age of Now’ showcased some of the big ideas that have made a difference and also highlighted the taxonomy of pursuing big ideas.

The word ‘new’ has lost its significance in today’s world. For the new generation ‘new’ is disposable. New keeps changing every moment and what matters to them is ‘now’. There has been a movement of era of ‘new’ to age of ‘now’. With the change of this era changes the shift from attention to participation, inform to inspire, interruption to interaction, return of investment to return of involvement and local to global.

It’s a volatile world we live in, and in all spheres – from political to financial. Also, the future is uncertain, complex and ambiguous. In such a scenario, it is very hard to plan for the future, because the future is so dynamic. So the question one asks is, we are uncertain about the future… what do we do next? The creeping in of fear at such a point is inevitable. The creative mind isn’t immune from fear. But the creative mind deals with fear. A creative mind loves problems and loves to solve them. With the problems, also come possibilities of creating newer things, newer ideas, and better ideas. Ideas like these can be the prism of hope. Amazing things can happen when you have ideas and are innovative. The essence is to capture the moment and be creativity.

Creativity in a way, said Mr Senior, is like science, it’s meant to be experimented with. It has to be tried and tested in order to get to the desired result.

One of the biggest clichés of the advertising industry, he said, was the concept of ‘Big Idea’. The question one asks is, how big is the idea, and is the idea really that big? There is no such thing as a big or small ideas, it all about having ideas in general and then nurturing them. Anyone can kill an idea, even a moron can. But the essence is to find value in a idea and then make it big. Nurturing a tiny idea into a so-called ‘big idea’ is the key.

One of the things important in today’s world is speed. The world is moving so fast that by the time you nurture your idea, the time when the idea could be implemented is gone. Hence, speed, agility and being nimble are essential.

He urged advertisers to believe and trust in the strength of ideas. Ideas that can create a difference, ideas that can make an impact. Talking about the current world scenario, he said it is of the essence that we try and make a difference, however small. It is okay to be a little enraged, a little angry; it is okay to dream and do something crazy. Ideas have a lot to do with emotions, and an upsurge of emotions causes action.

Talking about the Israel and Palestine issue he gave example of how an idea (a campaign) tried to make a difference in the war-inflicted area. He went on to say that ideas are nice and creating ideas is nice, but the next step is more important. It is important to bring some action to it. It’s good to be enraged and angry with something you feel passionately about. Such anger and resentment often appeals to the heart. “Let’s give some context to the world which is fast losing its plot.” Let our heart work wonders and then we should do something that might not change our world, but do something that our children can be proud of. The speaker brought the power of ideas and connected it with emotions, and touched everyone’s heart.

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