BTOES Insights Official
November 27, 2020

BTOES From Home - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT : UNTAP CREATIVE GENIUS, FAST! – Discover what’s stopping your organisation’s best ideas

Courtesy of Leading Creative Talent's Linda Green, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'UNTAP CREATIVE GENIUS, FAST! – Discover what’s stopping your organisation’s best ideas' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at BTOES From Home.

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Session Information:

UNTAP CREATIVE GENIUS, FAST! – Discover what’s stopping your organization’s best ideas

Based on Linda’s TED talk, she will share her fast-acting, simple 3 P’s for winning ideas.  So far 2020 has made organisations all over the world transform digital processes in weeks, rather than months or years, after this initial effort many find that staff now suffer from the ‘war-room’ fatigue that psychologists refer to as the ‘regression phase’.  With the 3 P’s you will discover how to reboot your staff’s creative ambition and drive ideas through the business.  

With personal tales from shows including Dancing with the StarsTop Gear and Blue Planet, Linda will describe the learnings and lessons from failure and success; she will take you on a journey through which patterns to break and which to invest in, what people will need from your business in a post Covid-19 world and how delicate purpose is as an agent for change.

  • Learn a simple, tried and tested framework to lead innovation immediately
  • Recognise the blocks to new ideas and solutions in your business
  • Discover which environments foster creative excellence
  • Give staff tools to reboot their thinking, believe in their ideas and get you to believe in them too
  • Make your organisation’s ideas, survive and thrive, in difficult times 

Session Transcript:

Hello everyone and welcome, I'm Linda Green and I'm going to be taking you through my three P's for untapping creative genius and coming up with winning ideas.

I first created this for ted talk and it was in very different times the ones we're in now so I'm going to be mindful of that it's hard to think that in the times when the UK is about to go into lockdown again  with the rest of Europe and we've got some really pivotal us elections happening at the moment.

That we could really um thrive at these times but I'm going to show how using these three p's can help you and your business and your organizations do just that to be able to survive and also thrive at the same time.

So I've brought with me some friends and they're just here behind me so the little lady is not my grandmother that is mark Perkins from a radio program created by Procter and gamble and I'm not a historian but i know this because I love soaps and that's where the term soap opera came from because if we do go into recession we think it may be only unrivaled by the great depression of the 1930s and it was during that time that Procter and gamble were actually able to um to survive and to thrive because they decided instead of cutting ad expenditure.

They decided to innovate and created mark Perkins they created the radio program and I'm going to use some of the elements of that story to weave into our session today and next to her is captain tom I'll talk a little bit more about him later but he's a real icon here in the UK during our first lockdown.

Screenshot (47)-1So patterns people and purpose patterns patterns are what's the change that you want what do you want you want to move into digital do you want to move into visual content do you need to have a more diverse workforce or more diversity in your products or your services um well you know what is it that you want what's the change that you want then we talk about the people so the who um so who do you want to follow you.

Who do you want to believe in your ideas as much as you do and how do you do that and that actually that one there is the issue with most organizations that i go into because they've brought in other innovation specialists that focus only on the patterns they focus on the ideas they focus on getting the ideas really good and right for the market et cetera et cetera which is great but actually.

It's the people that are really important because it's not just about who you target but it's also about how you get your organization to shift to believe in the change that you want to have happen and that's the tricky part and I'm going to talk to you about that and then finally purpose and purpose is the driving force you know we all have free will believe it or not so why you know it's the why why would i do those things why would I change um and that is absolutely essential in creative leadership in untapping creative genius and getting getting ideas out of the meeting room and into the market okay.

So let's start off with patterns so what change do you want I'm going to play a little tiny trick with you I'm going to ask you to add up a sum and then you will in your own space you will say this is the answer um and it's just a way for me to quickly show you how patterns work so add a thousand add 40 add a thousand add 30 add a thousand add 20 add a thousand add 10.

The answer is did you get 5 000 it's not it's four thousand one hundred and the reason is because in basically one two three steps I managed to get you to add a thousand and you've got into a pattern whereas 40 plus 30 plus 20 plus 10 is not a thousand it's a hundred but your brain says no no I've added a thousand three times I'm going to add a thousand so creativity is all about breaking these patterns is the ability to modify self-imposed constraints so it's the stuff that you tend to do and the higher up you are in an organization the more patterns you've got because you're paid for them so you know that's that that's the key it's knowing that the patterns are just the way our brains operate we wouldn't be able to function if we didn't have patterns but creativity leading ideas new ideas is about breaking those patterns so the example.

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I like to give is my blue planet example because it was the start of my career really it was a millennium um and i was basically asked to help on animal programmer natural history programs being very important to the BBC and they weren't doing very well and they said Linda can you give us a hand so being a mathematician by background what i did was i looked at it and I went okay let's look at the audience and the audience was skewed very much male and i thought well if you want to increase audience figures all you really need to do is bring in the women and that's what we did so basically i asked a bunch of people a representative sample of the UK population.

What's your favorite animal um and they had a list and basically we found that women liked underwater animals predominantly fascinating insight led to blue planets lots of um programs you know that focused on on the underwater they focused on the kind of the ethereal the music school was written for women the the the actual storylines were anthropomorphic so you know all in all um we kind of increased our audiences and you know the you know the history is is there basically blue planet is still in the top ten.

It was at the top of the charts in terms of sales for BBC worldwide now BBC students for a very very long time okay so that's an example of breaking patterns we don't want to just appeal to men we find out we do and we decide to actually what else could we do so it's two very simple questions you ask yourself and you can do that right now.

What do i always do and what else could i do so what's the change that you want to have happen what is the change that you want what's the break what's the change um in my world these are the fangs quickly go through them they've all they all break their patterns hugely in black so we've got Facebook which is the f amazon which is the a Netflix n Google g and s for sky look at that in black what they did do and you can see you know that they've totally changed Facebook's.

You know about news um they maybe don't want it to be as much they're worrying about their influence but um they are very influential uh the amazon was about books it's now you know time prime amazon prime and tv um Netflix was about old films and they invest more than all of the other studios put together um google was about tech and it's now a cloud company so you you save your photos on there and you pay for that um and sky was sport and obviously you know game of thrones and everything else they spend a lot of money on entertainment.

So and you can see on the far right all the ways they invest in that break so Facebook have got cable on the atlantic floor um amazon are vertically integrated with warehouses ships trains drones etc um Netflix drama google server farms um you know sky um huge investment you know we know that epg is the best well i think it is anyway so so you can see that in terms of the kind of the key around patterns to be able to really come up with those interesting ideas the standard ideas i mean why do we need that we need it because the world is full.

It's full of stuff you need to be able to break your patterns and you need to be able to invest now very important right now obviously a lot of businesses are looking at their costs and thinking well okay it's all well and good to say Linda that we need to innovate but actually.

We also need to make sure that we've got enough money in our existing um with our existing content or products and in our existing market and that's absolutely right you protect what you need to but you protect to be able to have a very focused innovation um to the work that you do because that's the way to thrive there's still growth possible.

If you pick the right area and we'll talk about that a little bit more in a second onto people so people let's move to that so these are the people you need to convince these are the people that you need to believe in your ideas as much as you do so if we think about that what we know is that leadership so is the key to this so the people who's going to actually follow you who's going to believe in your ideas as much as you do and this is the bit that most organizations forget to do because a lot of innovation specialists come in and they focus specifically on the idea.


That the challenge of that is that if an organization's culture isn't right for that idea if the people if there's a mismatch and we'll talk in a minute about purpose if there's a mismatch between the patterns that you want to have happen the people and the way what they're like and the purpose in terms of what drives them then it's not going to work so this is these are the fault lines it's all about leadership creative leadership and what we know is that leadership is 40 to 70 percent environment you set Walt Disney knew this he had three different rooms and in those three different rooms he behaved completely differently he had the the realist room the dreamer room and the critic room and actually what I've done is I've taken that whole concept and to another level.

So what we also know is this kind of Venn diagram and i don't know if you can if you can see it well but basically you've got the three elements that you need to be aware of and that is that creativity is just coming up with ideas so it's the process that leads to those ideas it's what drives and leads those ideas to happen in your organization innovation is the successful adoption of that change all those ideas all those patterns.

It's leadership that's the catalyst without leadership without your people being able your leaders being able to create the right environment for those ideas to flourish they're not going to happen so the system i use is really simple basically there's four stages of the creative process everyone who works in an innovation knows that so you've got clarify you identify what the challenge is what's the market you're trying to appeal to um what's the what's the change.

That you want what are the things that you actually want to achieve you then come up with ideas so you generate lots of ideas that's all about divergent thinking and convergent thinking you develop up those ideas you you basically make them work and then you implement them so you make them happen so those are the kind of four stages the why the what if the how and the when in terms of leadership we know its environment.

So what you need to do as a leader as a creative leader is to set a different environment for those four stages you cannot use the leadership style that you normally would because actually the challenge about coming up with new things and breaking you know those patterns and those self-imposed constraints is that you can't tell people that's the outcome because if you tell as soon as you tell people that's the outcome then it's your outcome and not theirs it's your patterns it's your belief system so the four stages are as follows.

So basically the first one is visionary so you need to inspire a shared vision you need to get people behind this is where I want to go and that you know that's all about the purpose so this is where i'm going and this is why I'm going there then you have to be an inspirational leader so you need to encourage the heart you need to give your power away and enable others to act you need to be an influential leader on the third stage so you need to challenge the system you need to be able to influence and persuade because if an idea is truly new think of mark Perkins think of the radio program.

I mean they would have been people saying well why are we doing this right now we haven't got the money we should be doing we should be hankering down but you need to challenge the system and anything that's new will require that if you can go straight to implementation from an idea then my thing to you would be that's not new whatever you're doing is not creative leadership.

It's not a new pattern and then finally you need to be tactical you need to be able to model the way and walk the talk you need to be able to say these are the steps we're going to go through and to take people through it and they can then follow you so ultimately in terms of you know your people and what you need to do you need to know to set the right environment to set the right environment for those people to be able to deliver that idea from start to finish and to be able to make that change happen so it's about training up your leaders at the BBC.

We reached one in ten of the organization we had a creative network of trained people that could both lead ideas and lead to lead teams so be able to do the leadership side and the pattern side and the creativity side and we had 250 so it's about equipping your people and to know the environment and to know what to set okay so now we're going to go on to purpose so on to purpose purpose is the most important of the three P's.

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It's the driving force it's what gets everything to happen it's what moves people along to change their patterns but it does need to match the people at that moment in time so in other words there needs to be congruence between those three and we'll talk about that a little bit more in a second i mean if we look at who we've got behind us we've got mark Perkins and captain tom so ma was humble and honest.

You know her in terms of her characteristics um in a time when things were really difficult when life was challenging she was there to resolve problems she was there to look after you to care for you and to give you hope that there would be a solution captain tom exactly the same 100 years old just been knighted um he did a hundred laps of his garden uh for for the nhs um and to raise money for charity and similar attributes um he's honest he's humble he was elderly and it's and it's bearing those things in mind that you the clues as to what people want the why you know the purpose what the purpose might be behind your products or the changes.

You want in your organization are around you so you know this is about why changing so why should we change and why now and what's fascinating is when I started to look into the neuroscience of it is that for change to happen you need to access behind the right temporal lobe so in other words there's three networks at play I mean this is oversimplified of course but there's three networks of play in the brain you've got the executive attention network which is the prefrontal cortex which is in red in that picture.

You've got the kind of blue and the yellows which is the salience network and just behind the right ear is the right temporal lobe which is where ideas they've discovered ideas come from now the really interesting thing about that I mean I'm a bit of a nerd of course.

I really like it is actually that any um purpose if you give something a purpose it has two key elements to it firstly it's simple so the prefrontal cortex is switched off and it's salient so the back of the head the salience network switches on because you have to do that for the right temporal lobe to work so you have to switch off the the hard thinking bit the Daniel Cayman type one thinking and switch on the salience network and that's exactly what purpose does purpose um it allows the person to be able to engage with it and to to be able to be driven by it and you can see it with all kind of winning shows um platforms etc.

I could take you through all the fangs but we haven't got time but in terms of strictly come dancing there's all the shows I've worked on so for strictly you know it's all about the fairy tales so come dots um that's in in America. It's dancing with the stars and globally it's that so it's the fairy tale so that's the that's what what they want you know it fits with the market actually fits very much now with audiences because they do need a fairy tale um for x on the beach it's what's the worst thing that could happen on holiday and there's a possibility now that many people can't go on holiday.

So I think it's um you know it's probably people want to see the best of holidays not the worst of holidays and for top gear what we came up with when we relaunched top gear with Andy Willman and Jeremy Clarkson was actually it's to give men a roller coaster ride um because their life at the time it was the turn of the millennium and it was very safe and they really wanted to be able to play out and that's why that was very popular and i wonder see my question really now is bearing in mind mark Perkins and captain tom do we really want that right now you know when you're thinking about how to make your um your change meaningful to give it that purpose.


You need to think about where people are you know going back to the very start of my presentation you know there's a lot of unrest there's a lot of activism and terrorism um you know there's a very divided society with the haves and have-nots so togetherness hope um you know a belief in something better um anything that's uplifting is probably more likely to be the kind of purpose that that you'd like to be aiming for right now and we're going to end on something a gift it's a gift for you so you know it's basically looking at what is meaningful for you.

So if you want to make something meaningful what are your drivers because if you understand your drivers then the pattern you want to make is more likely to happen so here are seven columns starting with accomplishment the first one and tenacity the second one's faith and responsibility etc so you can see there's seven columns i'd like you to read them and then pick one word per column that's most important to you so one word per column and then off those seven words that you've picked so one per column pick your final three so what are your final three and these are my final three so creativity learning and compassion and the reason.

I really wanted to share that as a gift is because this whole program you know the the creative leadership program at the BBC how I've done what I've dedicated my career to ever since wasn't going to happen because actually it was funded by a leader who left the BBC and I had no way of funding it anymore and what happened was because of my three areas of creativity learning and compassion I'd been working a lot in charities and they were really fascinated by it and they started to buy it from the BBC and then external clients were buying.

It from all over the world and then finally the BBC actually bought it so you know when you're trying to sell something you're trying to create change in any organization you know you you need to tap into your drivers you know make sure that when we go back to the start when we go to the patterns when we go to the people and we go to the purpose make sure that your purpose what drives you what matters to you matches the patterns it matches what you want to achieve it then matches the people it matches what they want and then it's more likely to happen you will untap your creative genius in your organization and i wish you well um and thank you very much for for um listening to me.

Thank you...


About the Author

download - 2020-11-27T213143.604Linda Green,
Leading Creative Talent.

Linda graduated from the London School of Economics and initially pursued a career in pharmaceutical research before taking a creative leap to BBC Factual programming. Her passion for content strategy led her to setup the BBC’s first-ever Planning team to develop ideas and programme strategy for many of today’s top BBC titles, including top-selling BBC formats, Blue Planet, Top Gear and Strictly Come Dancing. Linda’s next goal was to raise the whole of the BBC’s creative capabilities to ensure greater staff collaboration, diversity and inclusion in all areas of programme making. As former Head of Creative Leadership at the BBC, she led the organisation’s creative cultural change programme for BBC North, voted top of the BBC for being a creative organisation to work for, launched BBC iPlayer, 2012 Digital Olympics and global development for Doctor Who. Linda is now Director of Leading Creative Talent, a creative strategy, coaching and training company. Linda coaches media’s top off and on-screen talent, speaks regularly at conferences including TED, writes articles for industry magazines and is currently writing a book on how to make winning visual content.


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