It’s day four of Think Kit 2016 and I’m on my last day of vacation. How fitting, since the Think Kit prompt for today reads:
Eazy Peazy! If there was ever a place for “take your breath away” pictures, I’m in it. I’ve got 412 pictures of Hawaii’s most beautifully unincorporated real estate on my iPhone, and what I can only hope is a kick-ass photo of a ginormous, yet obviously disinterested, sea-turtle floating past the viewfinder of my twelve dollar underwater camera. BAM! Have I got a turquoise ocean for you!
But wait. As scenic a route as that might have been, I’ve never been a fan of shortcuts and using some of God’s best handiwork as my own feels a bit like a cop-out. So instead, I sought inspiration for my first blog post of the year in the Photos folder of my SmallBox laptop. I found it in this picture that I snapped of our Client Service Director, Dan Fahrner, during a Factory Day session with a new client. We were sprinting through an unusual marketing campaign plan, and disrupting business as usual. Four hours in, we ordered carry-out from a nearby café and as luck would have it, lunch came with Dan’s name written all over it.
That day, we were serendipitously reminded of the surprising joy that is sometimes born from the wildest of ideas. In the case of Dan’s personalized Coke – it was inspired disruption that created the moment and the photo that I, like so many others, shared with the world (just the way Coke knew that we would). Coca-Cola did more than think outside of the box when they switched out their name for yours, they blew the box up!
As the story goes, it all started with a creative brief sent to multiple agencies, where Coke asked some of the world’s top creatives to bring them their wildest ideas. “That idea you’ve got tucked away that you’ve always wanted to do for Coke? Now’s the time for that idea.”
In a nutshell, they gave their agency partners permission to disrupt and they ran with it. The results of which continue to impress as they ride the wave of that original bold idea into 2016.
But inspired disruption isn’t a tool only for the marketing department.
In 2015, we’ve seen more than just the creatives embrace a “what-if wild idea”. Perhaps not entirely by surprise, the trend we’re seeing is coming from the new C-suite. Young leaders eager to affect organizational or cultural change and willing to beta test bright and bold ideas. To turn things on their side, bounce them against a wall or two and see what stinks and what sticks. Evidenced most prominently by our clients in higher ed, who’ve shown up at our doorstep with a few crazy ideas of their own and a willingness, nay an enthusiasm, to let the team at SmallBox stretch and shape them into strategies designed to put a student and their future employers' real life needs over institutional processes.
As I look back on the past year, it’s not really a picture of monogrammed soft drinks that refreshes my mind's eye – it’s a picture of inspired disruption, and in 2016, it just may have your name written all over it. Drink up!