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Inspired By Chaos

Inspired By Chaos

Welcome to the Creative Jungle

At IDEAS we thrive on great creative partnerships. Jeff Janes was the lead designer from our partner GES, and sees things in a unique way. We are excited to feature his article on the IDEAS blog. Read on to discover a world of creative chaos! (We LOVE creative chaos!)

Jeff Janes is Creative Director at GES with over 25 years of design experience, including more than 20 years with GES.  His firsthand experience ranges from project leadership and creative strategy, to designing brand experiences including: exhibits, permanent installation, corporate interiors, live events and experiential marketing. He wrote the piece below in which he speaks to allowing the world around us to inspire our creative minds.

By Jeff Janes…

We’re gluttons for chaos; visual, audio, sensory, social. Not only do we welcome it, we often actively seek it out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of muting commercials and selective hearing, but you see, we’ve all developed mental filters to distill the overwhelming amount of stimuli we receive. We filter far more than we can process. As designers of experiential environments and engagements, we have the responsibility to consume and manipulate the information we take in. It’s called inspiration.

When we understand our role in the experience economy and the power we possess in creating the future, we can start to intake the minutiae differently. We need to welcome chaos. For creative professionals, this overwhelming barrage is candy for the creative mind – a treasure trove of new ideas. As a former mentor once told me, “we are antennas for culture, and to deny that would be detrimental to our careers.” Agreed… absolutely. Give me more!

Partnering with IDEAS on the Houston LIVE and Future Flight projects at Super Bowl LI, I was given the opportunity to work with a team of avant-garde creative thinkers who “Get It, Dream it and Live it!” We were asked to develop an experience that reached every corner of our imaginations, but only as it related back to a focused message for each specific activation.

Our sandbox for these projects was massive and our ideas were plentiful, but Bob Allen – Chief Storytelling Officer at IDEAS – continually asked these filtering questions:

  1. Does it fit the message?
  2. Is it a novel idea?
  3. Is it fun?
  4. Is it awesome to look at?
  5. Will it be memorable?

When we welcome the barrage of stimuli as inspiration for new ideas, we open up our imaginations to new, exciting opportunities.

My recent ride to the airport is a perfect example. It’s early, and I’m tired, cranky and… well, annoyed really – but I learned so much more than I ever expected in that short drive by simply being open to new ideas.

As I passed a bus stop, I was inspired by its artistically layered glass panels. In the moment, I saw a mosaic glass wall for an executive briefing center I’m designing. The campaign on a billboard utilized a graphic idea that made me think of how to activate the atrium of a corporate lobby.

When others see a digital billboard, I see an immersive room – a digital cube made entirely of LED technology where guests sit, elevated on tire swings hanging from the ceiling while they experience an immersive memory of visiting grandpa’s house in the summer. Of course, we would swing over digital water, perhaps holding a fishing pole, so the possibility of incorporating water misters might be key. And using the smells and waft of a spring breeze would take you further into that moment.

Then my phone wakes me from my daydream with a reminder… flight boarding at 8:20. I think, “wow, that’s a great idea: a scheduling reminder we could have used at Future Flight enabling guests to continue to explore the rest of the experience rather than waiting in a queue line.”

The curse of the creative mind is that there is no end. Having the awareness to filter the input, absorb what we want and use that information to inspire new ideas is the key. I’ll always reference Bob’s questions in terms of prudent activation, but as far as the chaos… I’ll take it all. Consider me inspired!

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Created in 2001 through a management buyout from the Walt Disney Company, IDEAS is a brand and experience design company built around the central premise that powerful stories create powerful experiences. Over 20 years, IDEAS has delivered more than 3500 solutions for destination development, healthcare, government, enterprise and entertainment to more than 1000 clients around the world. For more, visit