For creative solutions, right is better than good

When seeking creative answers to business problems, Article Group begins with this proposition:

Right Ideas > Good Ideas

Don’t get us wrong: Good ideas are … well, good. And they’re even a necessary first step to getting to the right idea.

But when it comes to identifying a creative solution that will actually solve a problem for a client and their audience, right ideas are really the only ones that matter.

Cui bono?

When weighing the merits of good ideas vs. right ideas, think about who benefits from each. “Good” ideas appeal to the person who thinks of them and to a key constituency of the people the idea-haver shares them with. 

Good ideas flatter the idea-haver … But you’re not trying to flatter the idea-haver. 

You’re trying to flatter the problem-holder — and that means finding a right idea. 

Getting from good ideas to right ideas is the business of creativity. To make the leap requires the proper framework to test them out. 

Raising the framework

The first step toward the right idea is to recognize the role of subjectivity in the process. Every client engagement is different, and every problem has its own quirks and challenges.

Regardless, we can use a similar approach to generating ideas — and that starts by training our guts when evaluating work.

We recommend the Heart, Head, Body approach when sorting ideas to frame a solution.

Heart. Is the idea attention-grabbing? Does it make you smile?

Head. Does the idea check the boxes spelled out in the creative brief? Will it accomplish what the client wants it to?

Body. Can the idea be built, distributed and scaled? How will the client measure its success once it’s out in the world? (IOW, does it have legs?)

"Map: Anatomy of a Right Idea," describing how the right idea for a solution appeals to the head, heart, and body.

Taking it to the client

Here’s a recent idea that proved right for us — but more importantly, for our client.

Screen capture from a Chrome OS campaign featuring a Chromebook and the slogan, "Chrome OS runs with you"

Check out the ad here.

This spot for the Chrome OS — and the focus on the many ways the system runs with its users — made our hearts say, “Hell, yeah!” with its great energy & spirit.

It made our heads say, “We’re nailing the brief and reinforcing the work-from-anywhere-potential of Chrome OS.”

Finally, the idea had body — the solid bones required of an A+ idea that’s worthy of bringing to the public.

And that’s the acid test: the real proof of a right idea is in the pudding of customer success. Until it’s demonstrably solved the client’s problem, it’s still just a good idea striving to be right.

Creativity never guarantees the right outcome. That’s what makes it scary as well as fun. But building a repeatable framework to improve the chances of success is what makes it a viable business.