Survival Tips for A Creative’s Odyssey

Friday 24th 11:00AM- a remote work-from-home day. Tension is high – sleepless nights, agency visits have been all week, and the clock is counting down till the deadline of our 3-week Design Museum/NPG brief.  

Uri is set to present a masterclass for the next hour— time that I could have really done with for my NPG case study video. But as stressed as I was, Uri’s talk was pretty damn good — well worth losing an extra hour tinkering with the shoddy Ae workspace. 

Uri introduced to us the four common traps of the creative development process. First, Uri conjured an epic Homeric tale of the wandering creative on the perilous voyage from (A) strategy to (B) its creative execution, and set out the many obstacles encountered along the way that often veer the creative off-course. The four traps experienced when looking for good creative ideas include: The Wilderness of Possibility; The Clueless Plateau; The Canyon; and The False Oasis. For each, Uri offered antidotes/‘survival tips.’

What was most disconcerting was the realisation that I have fallen victim to almost all of the traps (and on countless occasions/briefs) during the course thus far. An odd muffled giggle here and there, as Uri continued over zoom, suggested that maybe I wasn’t the only one to have been caught in these snares. 

Unable to do Uri’s storytelling justice I thought I would share his wisdom through a top-line summary. The key takeaways are as follows…

1. The Wilderness of Possibility:

A place of abundance and distraction. There are multiple creative routes and the noise (of info/signs/insights) clouds clarity of thought and judgement.

Antidote HOME: 

Refine strategy: focus on the most important insights/ideas and eliminate anything irrelevant. 

2. The Clueless Plateau:

A wilderness, where information and opportunities are scarce. 

Antidote ROAM: 

Be explorative and curious. 

Approach everything from different angles. 

3. The Canyon 

Digging too deeply in one direction/overcommitting to a single idea too early. Tunnel vision leads to losing sight of opportunities elsewhere. 

Antidote BRANCH 

Explore other routes and continue research/thinking before settling.

4. The False Oasis

A skewed state of confidence in an idea that is in reality lacklustre. Time is wasted refining and over-polishing idea.


Question yourself and examine the idea using black hat thinking. 

Whereas Odysseus’ travails were against monsters, mischievous gods/goddesses and unforgiving weather conditions during his long journey home, for the ad creative it is different. We are in actuality up against, and in constant struggle with, something much less tangible — the fleshy grey matter that is the mind. We have to learn to rewire our brain and stop its predilection for the easy or well-trodden route, its desire to move straight to execution and design. Once we have a better understanding of the nature of the beast — the flaws/ bad habits of our mind— we can learn to re-wire them and explore the different ways of seamlessly bringing to life our strategy. So Uri’s key takeaway: let’s start thinking about our thinking.


Related SCABs

Go back

Student Application

  • Fill out the Application Form below to be a part of our next Award-Winning intake.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY