At Wunderman, it is an interesting time in the year. July began the start of a new fiscal year for one of our major clients. This means that most of the projects we are working on are in the beginning stages. This also means that there is a whole lot of brainstorming going on. Brainstorming for multiple projects at once is really challenging for me. I need time designing because it is a chance for my brain to relax and just do.
When brainstorming, my brain is constantly running, analyzing, debating, and incubating. It’s difficult brainstorming on a schedule. Ideas never come to me when I’m looking for them. I find myself in a weird position. I’m an intern so I want to impress my bosses. This means I want to be working all the time, showing them that I take the job seriously and that I always want to learn and improve. This conflicts with the very nature of brainstorming. The way I brainstorm is kind of like a hamster on a hamster wheel. I’m running on the wheel, looking for that big idea, but it’s not until I get off the wheel that I find it. The Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman has told us how important the pauses are when it comes to ideating. He encourages us to on walks, take breaks, and give our brains time to incubate. I’m struggling to do this, because I would never want to take advantage of a situation like that. And because I get paid hourly there is a question of whether or not these important pauses are billable. Navigating this space is tricky.
What I have found to be the most helpful is being open and honest and prepared. I have a mentor at Wunderman that I can go to with any questions. I also have a supervisor and many many coworkers who are more than willing to help me figure out what I need to be doing and where my work should be at any given moment. Brainstorming is difficult because it’s not a cut and dry process. But doing what’s best for your creative process is ultimately what is going to be best for company in the end.
My advice for brainstorming…be a squirrel and a hamster. Gather all those nuts of information and store them in your brain. Then, get on that hamster wheel. Get that brain spinning. And then, most importantly, take a pause and let the ideas come to you.