Down the Rabbit Hole with Katie Boyles

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“Creativity won’t go on a resume; you can’t quantify it,” said Katie Boyles. Boyles went on to say that like a muscle, creativity is something you have to work on. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) meeting on September 27 took place at 6:15 p.m.. As people casually began to walk in, they took pizza and soda, found a place to sit and mingled with other participants. The meeting officially began at 6:30 p.m. with brief announcements for the PRSSA members regarding membership responsibilities and upcoming events.

The event had a full house with over 50 people there; some individuals sat on the floor when seating ran out. Boyles was introduced by PRSSA executive members Jordan McCrary and Macey Wilson who had known Boyles previously because they had interned at Axia Agency this past summer. Boyles gave a short introduction and explained how she is a Public Relations Strategist at Axia PR Agency, as well as involved with media relations and creativity consulting.

The workshop began with a description of why ideation is important. The answer is essentially that “no one changes things up.” Companies tend to use the same tactics to get their information to reach a public — for example, press releases. The question Boyles then posed is “how can we get out of our thinking?" Boyles explains that we, as creative thinkers, need to realize how our brains work and get into a different mindset for creative outlook.

Boyles learned about ideation sessions directly from the Vice President of Creativity at Walt Disney — the man that took part in an ideation session that sculpted the idea to literally send Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear to infinity and beyond.

Activities discussed in the session included tactics like playing with toys, such as Play-Doh, to make senses aware; implementing a ‘cell phone jail’ to apply greater focus; as well as using the “how might we?” game or the “yes and…” game. The essence of the “yes and…” game is to eliminate the aspect of “idea ownership.” When everyone adds an idea to a bigger idea, no one can claim ownership over it broadening creative opportunities for team ideas as a whole.

The “yes and…” game was a tactic that gained audience popularity. The entire room participated in a game of “yes and…” by starting with an imaginary $500,000.00 allotted to UF PRSSA to spend, and each member spitballed an idea off of one another.

Katie: Nicole what would you use the $500,000.00 for?

Nicole: I would use the $500,000.00 to take PRSSA on a cruise.

Jordan: Yes, and we all get tee-shirts.

Jamie: Yes, and we all go out to meals together.

Macey: Yes, and then we go to Chicago to tour all the agencies.

And so on…

Another tool described was the ‘twist it’ and ‘what if’ tactic where Boyles then showed the audience her official idea sketchbook. “CelebriTOES!” An idea about celebrities promoting a specific toe-fungal medication and sharing their own stories — one that never made it passed the thinking stages…

Celebritoes was undeniably the most memorable part of the session; it got every workshop participant laughing. Laughter was the background theme song of the event. Boyles was an enthusiastic, entertaining, insightful and hilarious speaker who continuously apologized for “taking us down the rabbit hole” with ideas of celebrity toes, PRSSA cruises, and was the idea about Car Spa’s filled with minions mentioned yet?

"Axia loves working with University of Florida PRSSA students! We’ve recruited so many top-quality interns,” Boyles said.

With the aroma of pepperoni pizza and ideas of celebrity toes and zebras on a beach, it was undoubtedly a workshop for the books.

Written by Hannah Ross

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