Creativity comes from your experiences

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Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 8.14.45 PMSteve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When creative people are asked how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”

Marketing and communications departments are shrinking. Resources are limited. Budgets are cut. But marketers and communicators are expected to come up with creative, innovative and groundbreaking ideas to move your organization forward.

You don’t have to re-create the wheel to come up with something “new.” As Steve Jobs said above, ideas come from your experiences. Did you see something cool from another organization? Don’t copy it. Take the pieces you like, add a bit of something else, change it around a bit and make it your own.

That’s what we did for two fun projects at the Kansas Credit Union Association.

Last month, we wrapped up our consumer financial literacy campaign, Money Possible: Destroy Debt. We know other credit unions have done campaigns similar to this, tracking families as they work to pay down their debt. We took the basic idea, partnered with the Kansas Consumer Credit Counseling Service and selected three Kansas credit union members to participate.

The members told their stories through weekly television segments and on the Money Possible blog. We encouraged viewers and readers to visit a Wichita area credit union for resources or to get help.

All of our area credit unions were on board with the campaign, and had information at their branches, and on their websites. It’s not a new concept, but we took a cool idea and adjusted it to work for us.

Our Make a Difference events have become a favorite with our Kansas credit unions. The idea came from another state credit union league, and started out as a gas giveaway. At our next event we picked up the tab at local eating establishments. We were certainly not the first organization to do a gas giveaway or pay for someone’s purchase. But what we did do was make it a statewide event, involving multiple credit unions in multiple locations, and giving each location the flexibility to do fun and creative things at their event. We also ensure these events are a surprise to consumers, so there is no advance promotion.

Where do we find these ideas? Read. Write. Travel. Sit and watch, listen and experience. Use social media. Visit a new restaurant. Walk in the park. Attend a local festival. Research what other industries are doing. Ideas are everywhere…you never know where you’ll find that “wheel,” or how you’ll re-invent it.

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