Illuminate McKinney Takes Off - McKinney

Illuminate McKinney Takes Off

May 2, 2013

People all over the world are looking for ways to become more creative. And though ad agencies are creative hubs by nature, McKinney is always looking for ways to generate new ideas. Group Planning Director Jill Burgeson notes, “Planning’s role is not just on a per-client, per-project basis. It’s ongoing and as big as we make it. I wanted to influence and increase the agency’s overall creativity. Our lifeblood.”

She and fellow planners Meredith Hatten and Kelly Mertesdorf did their homework and found a key theme, one that Dr. R. Keith Sawyer, considered a leading expert on creativity, says best: “Ideas always build on what came before — you have to look at what others in your field are doing, brainstorm with those in different fields, and collaborate with everyone to get new ideas.”

The team saw an opportunity and created a program called Illuminate McKinney to facilitate the cross-pollination of people and ideas.

“Being creative is fundamentally about the ability to see something in a new way,” explained McKinney President John Newall. “To do that, you must let go of what you think you know and think a new thought. Deliberately and intentionally seeking new stimulus that helps you do this is what Illuminate McKinney is all about.”

So far, the core components of the program include a “wall of randomness and inspiration” in the Durham office where passers-by may be inspired to draw, play a game or finish a puzzle; a What Up Weekend weekly email encouraging people to try new experiences available in the Triangle; a lofted space dedicated to quiet, where visitors are encouraged to drop their cellphones in a basket before walking up the stairs; a speaker’s series and monthly excursions for small groups to gain insight into local creatively driven minds, processes and organizations.

The program kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Josep Call on March 25 about creativity, dogs and crowdsourcing. In April, the agency was inspired twice, first by the trio of local professors and musicians who make up Beat Making Lab and then by sound consultant and TED Talk speaker Julian Treasure.

The Illuminate McKinney blog launches today, May 2. You can follow them on Twitter at @IlluminateMcK.