Alan Oram - Alive with Ideas - SPARK 2019 by Sideways 6

SPARK 2019 | Ideas with identity

In this inspiring talk on creativity, Alan Oram from Alive with Ideas shares how to inspire and energize your employee ideas initiatives.


Alan Oram is the Creative Director at Alive With Ideas, an independent creative agency fueled by ideas. 

In this video, recorded at Sideways 6's inaugural SPARK 2019 event, Oram discusses how to inspire, energize and engage your employee ideas campaigns.

Q and A with Alan Oram

Not quite had your fill of Alan's inspiring ideas? SPARK's resident host, Sideways 6's Chris Sheen, caught up with him after the event with some follow-up questions. Read on for more delightful insights.

Hi Alan, it's a pleasure to be able to pick your brains again! First up, a question we're frequently asked here at Sideways 6 – why are internal comms so important for ideas campaigns?

No one will know that there’s an ideas campaign without it! Comms will support participation and ensure that everyone knows why it is happening, what’s expected of everyone and what outcomes are hoped for. Comms can also highlight the great progress being made and the ideas that are shared.

Sounds like no small feat. What’s a good way to create an emotional connection with a campaign?

Finding the point where the organization’s purpose meets what matters to employees (hopefully they’re the same thing) and bringing that to life, demonstrating how the ideas campaign will support both perspectives. It’s also worth taking a look at the EAST framework from The Nudge Unit. By making campaigns easy, attractive, social and timely we can create loads of opportunities for strong emotional connections in all sorts of ways. Take a look at this infographic for more info.

Excellent, we love infographics! How can you differentiate the line between taking inspiration from or stealing an idea?

Ideas are recycled and remixed all the time, it’s been said that no idea is truly original. But simply reusing someone else’s work (without permission or crediting them) is wrong. If you are going to borrow from another idea/approach, you have to make it your own. Seek inspiration from multiple sources rather than one place only and spend a bit of time reflecting on what you’ve created. Ask yourself if you can be confident that where you’ve ended up is really enough steps away from where you first began.

Sounds like solid advice. On a slightly related note, the, what’s the importance of branding? How much creative freedom can these campaigns enjoy?

Having a clear identity (or brand) to your campaign will help it to stand out and hopefully cut through the noise in your organization. The amount of creative freedom will depend on how the campaign is being positioned internally. But this should be something that you can have fun with and perhaps do something a little different or unexpected to what employees are used to seeing/experiencing.

Sticking to your golden rule of three, what are your three top tips/recommendations for ensuring success when branding an employee ideas campaign?

1. Give your brand room to grow and evolve over time

2. Keep it simple from a brand perspective

3. Be unexpected with your campaign.

And, finally, who would you love to see talk at SPARK 2020?

1. Dave Birss – seem like an interesting dude

2. Helen Reynolds

3. Alan from Alive. 😜

Wonderful news – we'd love to have you back next year!

You can learn more about Alan and his creative work with Alive with Ideas here.

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