Cringely: How to Think Creatively

I attended this session to see Robert X. Cringely speak. His self-introduction came across as so much self-aggrandizing, but it’s likely he has no name recognition with the audience so some credibility-fishing is called for.

Disappointingly, he had little to say about the proclaimed subject matter, but rather sought to introduce us to a history of measuring the creative process, first via TRIZ (a 200-variable technique based on analysis of US patent data) and the simplified Taguchi process.

So, the point was that most advertising fails to engage, but interruptive imagery can grab attention and also energize the viewer for action. And if you want to create these “interrupters” and accurately test the outcome, then you should hire his company, with a presentation of some work, which was definitely creative but of pretty low production quality. It’s hard to argue with visit-to-order conversion rates upwards of 25%, though.

There was also a lot of explaining how large companies are afraid of this different approach, and a question about staying on-brand was met with an acknowledgment that brand sensitivity is another reason it’s hard for them to sell to those stodgy old white guys. Absolutely no admission of weakness.

Not off to a great start here, with one of the more promising educational sessions turning out to be a sales pitch.

One great quote: Repeating an accident is hard.

I posted this in July 2006 during week 1690.

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