Creativity is a Team Sport

Yesterday I attended a breakfast meeting hosted by the Technology Association of Georga (TAG). They always have great programming, and this was no exception. The speaker was Laurie Ann Goldman, CEO of Spanx. If you don’t know Spanx, they’re in the business of making backsides (and bodies in general), look buff.

Spanx is known for their fun and quirky brand personna made famous by their founder, Sara Blakely. With product names like Skinny Britches®, Slim Cognito® and Bra-lellujah®, one has to wonder how they keep the creativity flowing.

This is a problem I struggle with sometimes, and I was interested to hear what Ms. Goldman had to say. Here’s what I learned:

Creativity comes from all kinds of places – not just the creative department. By including everyone in the company in the creative process, Spanx is able to generate new ideas that might otherwise never come to light.

Look to customers for inspiration – the idea for Spanx for men was often jokingly suggested by guys at cocktail parties and other events. Recognizing that humor usually has an element of truth, the company seized on a good idea.

More heads are better – the team at Spanx often sends ideas to the whole company for input. Using family and friends as sounding boards, they get immediate feedback and a variety of perspectives.

See what sticks – The concept of “noodle meetings” was new to me. Not that I haven’t heard of brainstorming, but I really like the analogy that creativity is like cooking pasta. Throw a bunch of ideas at the wall, and see what sticks.

Note – This is not a paid endorsement, but Spanx did generously give every attendee a free $50 gift card. Another great idea.

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