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SXSW Interactive 2014

How Creative People Arrive At Good Ideas

This is not a panel about “Aha! moments.” There will be no talk of lightning getting caught in a bottle or any other receptacle. We’re pretty sure that would kill you.

This is a conversation about process. While plenty of magical ideas have been brought into the world thanks to serendipitous moments or surprise flashes of brilliance, the most successful members of creative fields like comedy, advertising, and design have come to rely on something more repeatable than chance.

We’ll dig into the minutia of the rather unsexy systems that are implemented to produce very sexy ideas. Brainstorming, team building, idea vetting, client pleasing, and which color Post-it note makes you most creative will be just some of the topics explored. All the while, discussions will be steered more toward process and what one school of thought can teach the other.

By one way or another *ahem on-stage torture* we’ll find out exactly how the world’s most creative companies became exactly that.

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  1. What is the most effective form of brainstorming? Does it happen in groups, alone, or some combination of the two?
  2. What's the secret to separating good ideas and bad ones? There surely must be something more than gut feelings at play.
  3. How much of it is process and how much is people? Undoubtably it's a combination of the two, but where is the balance and which one is worth changing to accommodate the other?
  4. Is idea generation a quantity game? Does more always equal better when it comes to initial brainstorms, and if so, how do you best set your targets to eliminate stray shots?
  5. How do you turn off the part of your brain that screams "NOOOOOOOO!" every time one of your ideas gets shot down? There's no denying the ruthlessness required to arrive at the best idea, so what can be done to set your feelings aside? Or do feelings simply not matter in the cold-hearted game of world-class creativity?


  • Will Tracy, Editor, The Onion
  • Colin Raney, Managing Director, IDEO
  • Erin Clift, Vice President, Global Marketing & Partnerships, Spotify


Brian Janosch, Creative Director, Cultivated Wit

Meta Information:

  • Tags: creativity
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Design and Development
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced
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