An idea created together goes farther

How to create ideas powerful enough to go the distance

by Valerie Aurilio
chicken illustration coming out of magic hat with love me? love me not? repeating copy next to it

I’m an idea chaser. I love the hunt, the thrill of finding one, and the satisfaction of making it real for people. For me, the power is in having an idea with your clients rather than for your clients. Shared ownership can be somewhat contrary to our personal ego, but it’s a proven advantage in getting great design to market. I’ve been chasing ideas for my entire career, and have found there are three proven behaviors to getting a brilliant idea out of the ether and into consumers’ hands. 

Assemble a multi-disciplinary team

Your team should be obsessed with one thing only: solving for the consumer. And a connected, multi-disciplinary team allows for the push and pull of diverse perspectives to influence the entire creative process. Despite this, you would be surprised how many times I’ve heard members of brand teams say that they have never been in a room together, virtual or otherwise.

photo of a man with Humble Design's Be Humble iconography tattooed on his arm
photo of a man with Humble Design's Be Humble iconography tattooed on his arm

Assemble a multi-disciplinary team

Your team should be obsessed with one thing only: solving for the consumer. And a connected, multi-disciplinary team allows for the push and pull of diverse perspectives to influence the entire creative process. Despite this, you would be surprised how many times I’ve heard members of brand teams say that they have never been in a room together, virtual or otherwise.

tweets reacting to Incogmeato brand name

Collaboration provokes open dialogue, creates healthy tension, and leads to ideas with real meaning — ensuring that you’re designing for every moment of the consumer experience. It serves both the consumer and business sides better, too. A clear brand architecture can unlock a customer team, and a powerful brand positioning can focus a research & development team. Cross-functional solves make friends for life!

tweets reacting to Incogmeato brand name

Collaboration provokes open dialogue, creates healthy tension, and leads to ideas with real meaning — ensuring that you’re designing for every moment of the consumer experience. It serves both the consumer and business sides better, too. A clear brand architecture can unlock a customer team, and a powerful brand positioning can focus a research & development team. Cross-functional solves make friends for life!

Find the right partnership

An eager team is a great starting point, but it’s not enough. The next move is to find the right strategic creative partner to facilitate the idea process, like a design-thinking agency or a strong internal design or marketing lead. 

Personally, I love leading high-speed, hands-on work sessions. I believe the creative leader’s role in a work session is not to have the brilliant idea, but to recognize it — to listen to all perspectives, follow the positive energy, and find that diamond in the rough. Then, inspire the team with quick implications of strategy through low-resolution prototyping to help close doors and avoid energy-sucking debates over details. A team should never make big strategic decisions without first exploring the visual, verbal, and behavioral implications. 

photo of the Hudson Harvest logo carved into a jack o’ lantern
photo of the Hudson Harvest logo carved into a jack o’ lantern

Find the right partnership

An eager team is a great starting point, but it’s not enough. The next move is to find the right strategic creative partner to facilitate the idea process, like a design-thinking agency or a strong internal design or marketing lead. 

Personally, I love leading high-speed, hands-on work sessions. I believe the creative leader’s role in a work session is not to have the brilliant idea, but to recognize it — to listen to all perspectives, follow the positive energy, and find that diamond in the rough. Then, inspire the team with quick implications of strategy through low-resolution prototyping to help close doors and avoid energy-sucking debates over details. A team should never make big strategic decisions without first exploring the visual, verbal, and behavioral implications. 

Kellogg Birthday Cake and Mermaid waffles packaging

Present in context

At last, you have a brilliant idea that delights your consumer. How on earth do you get it safely through the organization and into their hands? Presenting the idea is not enough — you need to demonstrate it. Give your stakeholders the opportunity to experience things the way the consumer will, whether it’s one-click shopping, an unboxing, or a TikTok challenge. 

To sell your great idea, find the prototyping sweet spot — real enough that it can’t be dismissed as unrealistic, but loose enough to avoid unwanted executional feedback. You know you’ve succeeded when the leadership conversation changes from “should we do it?” to “how soon can we launch it?”

Kellogg Birthday Cake and Mermaid waffles packaging

Present in context

At last, you have a brilliant idea that delights your consumer. How on earth do you get it safely through the organization and into their hands? Presenting the idea is not enough — you need to demonstrate it. Give your stakeholders the opportunity to experience things the way the consumer will, whether it’s one-click shopping, an unboxing, or a TikTok challenge. 

To sell your great idea, find the prototyping sweet spot — real enough that it can’t be dismissed as unrealistic, but loose enough to avoid unwanted executional feedback. You know you’ve succeeded when the leadership conversation changes from “should we do it?” to “how soon can we launch it?”

Many of my clients say they have never seen design move so quickly through their organization. When you build a diverse team, bravely create together, and demonstrate the power of your idea with a unified voice, the brilliant ideas you create will become real.

Harkin’s brand story applied to office wall as an environmental graphic
Harkin’s brand story applied to office wall as an environmental graphic

Many of my clients say they have never seen design move so quickly through their organization. When you build a diverse team, bravely create together, and demonstrate the power of your idea with a unified voice, the brilliant ideas you create will become real.