Advertising and Design Agency | Intersection of Ideas

June 27, 2016

Nobel laureate in both chemistry and peace, Linus Pauling, once said, “The best way to get a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” In other words, creativity isn’t about stopping when you get an idea you like, but about pushing forward to find an idea that you love. There are only a few places where this is more true than at an advertising and design agency.

The Intersection

In his landmark bestseller, The Medici effect: What elephants and epidemics can teach us about innovation, Frans Johansson argues for something he calls “the Intersection.” The Intersection is a place in our minds were, according to Johansson, “different cultures, domains, and disciplines stream together toward a single point. They connect, allowing for established concepts to clash and combine, ultimately forming a multitude of new, groundbreaking ideas.”

This points to an all-important truth about great creative: great creative demands that one take disparate ideas, merge and synthesize them, and create something completely new. Indeed, Johansson’s thesis is that extraordinary ideas arise from the concurrence of divergent fields (think: botany + architecture), disciplines (think: lawyer + soldier), and cultures (think: Mexico + India).

Endless Possibilities

Thinking in this way amplifies your possible options, because you are able to use ideas from many more places. To use one of our examples, say that botany can give you 40 ideas and architecture another 40. If you only look to botany’s ideas, you have 40 chances to come up with great creative. But if you are able to think at the Intersection of these two fields, and you use only one idea from each, you have 3,160 possible combinations (don’t worry, we won’t make you learn the math behind that), and thus, 3,160 chances to come up with great creative.

Thinking at the Intersection requires that you become a generalist, and if you want to work at an advertising and design agency, you need to think at the Intersection. The Greek poet Archilochus wrote, “The fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing.” Ever since, people have been arguing whether it’s better to be the hedgehog, i.e., a subject-matter expert, or a fox.

At Commit Agency, we live at the intersection of both the hedgehog and the fox, which affords us the opportunity to create endless possibilities for our clients!