I wish I’d thought of that.


Most creative types start every project with the same hopeful thought, “this will be the best work I’ve ever done.” So you dig into your creative briefs and pore over the research. You think, brainstorm and execute. Finally, you step back with great pride and think, “they are going to love this.” You present the work and you are correct. They love the work and everyone is happy. Then, several months later, you thumb through a Communication Arts, Print or some other industry book and you think to yourself, “I wish I’d thought of that.” You look back at the work you just did and you know it could have been better.

Your work is still good. It’s on strategy, very effective, and your client loves it. But, as you look back, you realize at one point you were on the verge of something unique. Then you put your industry-specific hat on and unwittingly watered down a great idea.

Wait. Hold on. Timeout.

You always want to know the nuances of a specific industry in which you are working. It comes with the territory. But most of the time we pull that industry specific hat down over our eyes for one reason: fear. We use specific words and images because we think we have to. We forget that every human brain – whether it belongs to a consumer, creative or client – craves and notices novelty.

Like a lot creative people, I’m guilty of being afraid to develop something that may seem too radical from time to time. But not anymore. I’m more afraid of looking back on a project and thinking, “I wish I’d thought of that.”

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