Insight from the IDEA Conference

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Stephen J. Heyer (left) and David Rockwell
Stephen J. Heyer (left) and David Rockwell
Simplicity, honesty, humanity and endurance were among some of the key themes of yesterday's IDEA Conference, co-sponsored by Advertising Age and Creativity and held at the New World Stages in midtown Manhattan. The sold out event gathered together power players from a diverse range of creative fields, centering on the idea of "redefining creativity." Following introductions from Ad Age VP/Publisher Jill Manee, associate publisher Scott Donaton and Creativity/Adcritic.com editor Teressa Iezzi, emcee and Ad Age editor Jonah Bloom kicked off the day's events and welcomed Anne Saunders, SVP/global brand strategy and communications of Starbucks, who recounted some of the company's creatively driven success stories. Next up was Ad Age cover star Jeremy Allaire, founder/CEO of Brightcove, who discussed the power of leveraging consumer generated media in building brands. In contrast, David Jones, global CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide, delivered a lively presentation about not giving it all up to the YouTube set. "We've got to stop thinking that consumer-generated content is an idea," he offered, arguing that to the problem of putting brand messages into the hands of young content makers is that they "rarely create content with your brand strategy in their pocket." Jones, rather than belaboring the notion of "redefining creativity," also encouraged audiences to "just get on with it," follow their gut and not fixate on doing something different for its own sake.

Linden Lab's Philip Rosedale
Linden Lab's Philip Rosedale
Other highlights include design firm Ideo CCO, Paul Bennett, who recommended that attendees step into consumers' shoes as a way to come up with smart, effective design and ideas, showcasing his company's successes and abysmal failures. Longtime collaborators Stephen J. Heyer CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and celebrity architect David Rockwell shared the stage, riffing on how they go about "creating memories" in designing everything from hotels to spas. Speaking of memories, one of the day's most colorful, and unabashedly loudest contributors, Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz, who appeared in a purple hoodie adorned with dazzling yellow stars, opined about the lethal effect of nostalgia on creativity.
Alex Bogusky
Alex Bogusky
Philip Rosedale, founder of LindenLabs, presented a brief history of his company's increasingly populated virtual otherworld Second Life. Rosedale also happened to sport one of the biggest 'dos of the event, after GSD&M's Roy Spence, who took the stage with BMW North America VP/Marketing Jack Pitney, and the 'do-man himself Alex Bogusky, who, in his easy surfer drawl, chronicled creativity theory throughout history, revealed how "the a-ha moment fucked me," recommended sobriety and in an entertainingly circuitous way, discussed the importance of ass-busting your way to an idea and its execution.
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