Innovation asks questions of us that are hard to answer. What if we want to innovate but don’t know how? The razor’s edge in creative work is a willingness to begin with “I don’t know”. To find a place where curiosity is greater than a fear of failing. And then begin.

When we talk about Brand Lab we don’t mean ‘an experiment’ or muddled guesswork. We’re really talking about the mindset with with we approach the task.

Often, we know we want simple but struggle to know how to get there. It’s not clear which parts are the essential pieces of our story to distil. In our busy results-driven worlds, fast and easy answers are important part of all our trades. But that doesn’t necessarily transpose to creative design work and brand storytelling which are a craft.

We are extremely precise and disciplined in timings about certain project elements such as design sprints and we don’t go a day over schedule. By way of contrast, interpreting the heart and soul of the company or institution can run almost the entirety of a project, behind the scenes on a long slow track in parallel with the fast flowing elements.

Shoshin in Zen Buddhism means beginner’s mind. It’s a kind of perspective shift that invites us to shift the way we approach a question. It’s time slowed down to think about the right kinds of questions, to allow more space to contemplate deeper meaning, a place for a few degrees of difference. A rigid mindset is being so fixed on excellence or the answer, we can’t see the possibility of what more or what else.

At Skylark, we call this doing the work. First off it’s knowing where to put the right kind of effort in the right places. What is fast work and what is slow work that merits thinking, and time for the the right idea to be actively developed in layers. But most importantly it’s examining how it makes us feel and why we care. If we can’t answer that we haven’t done the work.

And so one way we see Brand Lab is a way to encourage some “I don’t know” and make the right space to innovate. A space to cultivate ideas and perhaps discover some things that are hidden in plain site.