86343601-F551-413A-A2C5-4C91B1960AAF Created with sketchtool. D1681562-9B56-4AA3-A659-E4329F356674 Created with sketchtool. 934F8DA0-9E27-42BD-8CE3-D245838B7017 Created with sketchtool. ABBF01E5-99A9-4F8E-A5B6-D8D0DFCAA1DF Created with sketchtool. 52B86ADF-15D7-4BEB-87CA-3619D1900DF7 Created with sketchtool. 7589DD6C-9BE1-49A5-8D68-4F50FBA8B794 Created with sketchtool. close button Created with Sketch. 6BB0D236-0C4D-43DD-9499-76C2156B2D45 Created with sketchtool. 14E4A84F-4D0B-4D5F-B884-907C3F4246BE Created with sketchtool. 2C0B0BEE-6DF1-41ED-96BE-B08D012E4E7E Created with sketchtool. 0C8DBC52-E08E-4F0A-AE54-AE9BB73113CC Created with sketchtool. instagram Created with Sketch. F79C22BD-1248-4072-AC81-B134598B2AA5 Created with sketchtool. F79C22BD-1248-4072-AC81-B134598B2AA5 Created with sketchtool. C9FD7B3E-0845-41B2-ACCB-6714158590FB Created with sketchtool. 9390E317-BF7B-47ED-B954-052183D5FB1C Created with sketchtool. Combined Shape Created with Sketch. 33AF606F-4AB8-48BF-88F5-131EAFCB6433 Created with sketchtool. 8318C22D-D94B-44A9-AB45-C1392FAA4A70 Created with sketchtool. 61A8DE16-3685-4C96-8420-67656881EA29 Created with sketchtool. D1CB3555-9A1D-4970-80EF-E3ABD5BACF7D Created with sketchtool. F80B5C4D-057D-4477-AF86-E46BC62AC7A4 Created with sketchtool. Search icon Created with Sketch. A3C99BA3-E981-44D5-BCA9-B1C8A5D09E36 Created with sketchtool. BC8D40A0-6611-4C38-8AD4-8E2D17FA6DC3 Created with sketchtool.

A seriously stupid warm-up

Nick Eagleton, Creative Director at The Partners shares a quick exercise that might seem silly but can yeild some great results.

created on Tuesday 7 Feb 2017

Creative Exercise

"Let’s be honest. With the creative process, we all love to make it up as we go along. How boring agency life would be otherwise and we’d all be off doing something more, well, creative. But even though there are no rules for having great ideas, a bunch of good tools really do help. We all have our favourites, so here’s one of mine.

"Lots of focus is put on the ideas generating part of the creative process, but how you get started is as important as how you get ideas. Here’s a little five minute exercise that should give the dreaded warm-up a good name again. It’ll make you smile, I guarantee..."

Sorry, no. Yes and…

"Unpredictable, unconventional and playful. This is the mindset common to all the most creative people. So get warmed up for some good ideas by being as playful and stupid as you can. It takes a little group to do this or it’s a bit weird, but with a bunch of you the effect is immediate and uplifting. It’s a classic improvisation technique. Here’s how it works..."
Nick Eagleton, The Partners

Creative Exercise

1. Get into pairs.

2. First comes ‘Sorry, no.’ One person in each pair asks the other a simple question like ‘Shall we go to the cinema tonight?’ and the other replies ‘Sorry, no…’ and gives some lame excuse as to why they don’t want to. Movies give them a headache. They need to feed their hamster. They can’t be arsed. After a few moments it’s all over. Negativity wins. This is how the real world tends to work and it kills creativity.

Creative Exercise

3. Now, in the same pairs, one person asks the same question but this time the other person replies ‘Yes, and…’ and adds something to the idea. Ridiculous, improbable and often inappropriate. Anything goes, basically. Then the other person replies by adding something else.

Creative Exercise

4. Keep passing it back and forth. No matter how stupid it gets. This time the whole dynamic is different. There’s a glorious hubbub as everybody’s making up stuff out of nothing.

5. Get people to say where they got to – you’ll be delighted how far an idea can travel so quickly. But it’s not where you get to that matters, it’s what you’re doing along the way.

6. The most important part is this: every single person, every single time, is laughing. Their minds are in 100% playful mode. And there is no better way to shake off the cobwebs of seriousness and get warmed up for some creative thinking.

7. So, later on in the creative process when your brain is trying to say ‘Sorry, no’ to you as you have ideas, shoot right back with a bit of ‘Yes, and…’

Creative Exercise

Nick is Creative Director at The Partners, a company dedicated to brand strategy, design and innovative ideas for clients who require outstandingly creative solutions. They have won won  two Bronze, two Silver and three Gold Design Lions over the last decade. 

Recommended stories

Find your perfect Cannes Lions pass

Whatever you're looking to get out of Cannes Lions, there's a Festival pass just for you. Visit the Pass Picker to find your ideal Cannes Lions Festival experience.

Lions Innovation

Lions Innovation examines how data and technology can act as catalysts and enablers for creativity. It is where start-ups with revolutionary ideas meet major technology providers with game-changing products.

Lions Entertainment

Hear diverse perspectives on the direction of the industry, get to grips with the latest trends and see the world's best examples of branded entertainment.

Lions Health

Bringing together professionals from across healthcare and pharma communications, Lions Health seeks to challenge norms and motivate change in these highly innovative yet fiercely regulated industries.