Re-think Your Creative Ideas, Do They Spark Joy?

Everyone is Marie Kondo-ing the heck out of their living spaces. Sharing pictures of their perfectly ordered sock drawer. In human history have people ever been as proud of their storage solutions as they are in 2019? Maybe could we take inspiration from Marie and tidy up our creative process.

One of Marie’s classic questions to the show’s participants is whether or not an item “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, she invites them to get rid of it. An upside of this Netflix phenomenon is that charity shops are seeing an upsurge in donations, but can the Kondo-effect benefit your business?

Rethink your briefs

When approaching a brief, the easy route is to go for what has worked in the past or what would likely get sign-off. But in the spirit of Marie, it’s interesting and revealing to ask whether this idea/product/pitch really sparks joy for you? You’d expect the personal items that would elicit the joy factor would provoke strong feelings of happiness, amusement or even a bit of self-indulgent melancholy. In a recent cull of clothes, for example, some of the items with the highest production values were ditched in favour of some pretty basic ones. A nostalgic crew t-shirt from the indie band Shed Seven’s 1998 tour being one (actually in surprisingly good shape two decades on).

Another lesson to be learnt from Marie is that the simplest, clearest and cleanest homes take a significant amount of work. Getting them into good shape requires effort and some difficult decisions along the way. It was reported recently that Dolly Parton wrote I Will Always Love You and Jolene on the same day. Sadly, most of us aren’t as prolific as Dolly. Ideas take time, edits and refinement to get right and stand the test of time.

A neat idea

Since we live in a world where we make value judgements on our socks, it’s even more important that we do the same for our work. Before we send our ideas or products out into the world, perhaps we should hold them close in a Kondo-style and see how they make us feel. Would you still love that idea twenty years down the line? Does this product educe some positive emotions when you think about it? If it doesn’t, then perhaps it needs to go to the charity shop for un-inspiring ideas.

If it does “spark joy” for you it’s a good sign that you will be able to sell it to others with genuine enthusiasm, which will always light up a pitch.