Cannes Lions | Article
Make That S!*% Count

One of yesterday’s Cannes Lions Academy sessions was run by AOL’s digital prophet, David Shing, or Shingy as he likes to be called. Shingy gave a short masterclass in idea planning; and here’s the low down:

Don’t do whole day executives’ retreats or off-sites – Full day sessions don’t work well. The first half of the day is spent chatting and by midday everyone is too tired to actually work. Instead, try do two afternoon half days brainstorm sessions. On Day 1, share the problem, then let everyone go off and do whatever they want to. This gives people time and space to go away and get distracted. Distractions allow for better creative thought, so then the next day when they come back the ideas will flow easily and be a lot better.

Mind Mapping is the way forward – Get a bunch of people together and create a series of mind maps to help solve problems. Essentially, a mind map is a way of easily visualizing relevant information around a central idea. The more you use images and colour the better. Our brains can take in huge amounts of written data, but we forget it easily. By attaching an image to the information we remember it much better as the image acts as an anchor. (On a side note, if you ever draw your notes in meetings you’re in good company. Van Gogh, Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci were avid doodlers.)

Quadrant Planning – When planning which ideas to brainstorm, Shingy suggests Quadrant Planning (see pic below). What you’re after are ideas that have a high impact and high implementation. If it’s easy to do and has a high impact, it’s not worth the meeting: just do it. If it’s going to have a high impact, but be a challenge to implement, then it’s worth the brainstorm.


Hope you enjoy using the above techniques, and if nothing else, then perhaps these wise closing words of advice from Shingy may help: “You have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé so make that shit count.”

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