Strictly ideas! 5 ingredients to creative success

Looking at this you wouldn’t know that I’m a dancer too? I still get to dance around my bedroom but few know that I danced at the Royal Ballet, starred in London Ballet Productions and am a trained street-dance teacher! And so my idea development work on the Strictly format and my dream to be amongst my own, finally came true when I joined Strictly Come Dancing’s Pro-dancers for a day defining a new ideas process, inspiration and influencing skills.

As I am still a loyal BBC girl, I will not divulge any secrets but I thought it would be useful and fun to share their five ingredients to inspirational ideas:

1. Storytelling – Make them forget they are watching a dance
From appealing to dreams, fairy tales and emotions, to captivating with clever concepts and high production values; stories are key.  Research shows that stories engage parts of the brain that make ideas more memorable.  How might you create the story of a new concept, a new role or a new partnership?

2. Innovate – Deliver the unexpected
Audiences are overwhelmed with images, messaging and complexity. For your ideas to stand out, they need to be as simple as they are different. The dancers spoke of the need to create your own style, or the style that fits their celebrity. How can you create contrast and deliver the unexpected, whilst making the idea your own and being true to yourself?

3. Man & woman – Show what you feel…’ Just dance’
Although this is easier to apply to dance partners, this ingredient transcends the ages, classes and cultures. And it is timeless.  This is having the courage to show what something really means to you and to show your passion and energy.  An analysis of Hollywood pitches proved that of all the ideas pitched, those that won the commission did so through the Producer’s love and passion for the idea, over any logical or commercial benefits (read ‘To sell is human’ by Daniel Pink). So, as the dancers say, ‘be sexy and masculine, have an awareness of the softness of movement and express your feelings.’

4. Find your muse – Look to your past
For each Pro-dancer, there was a role-model, a past inspiration. Hard work gets you there and these dancers have faced obstacles, injuries and set-backs. On these occasions, they look to their past for motivation, determination and excellence. They speak emotionally of coaches and performers who showed them the way: from their subtlety of movement in making it look easy, to 150% perfectionists, to sparkling individuality, style and commitment to movement. Who is your muse and why?

“No-one puts baby in the corner…”

5. The WOW factor – To create something no-one else can
Finally, as each of us is unique, we can each create something unique.  It’s not about being the best, but delivering your own power and energy to your idea. The Pro-dancers spoke of being ‘in the zone’, showmanship and freedom. Neuroscience shows that to have the Eureka moment, you need to set yourself the right environment; so how do you get in that zone?

Good luck to you all for a successful Autumn and to Strictly, I hope you receive all 10’s…