Days when my synapses have decided to fire on all cylinders are the happy, creatively productive days, while “synapses on strike” days leave me feeling desperate and drained. The solution, I’m convinced, is the increasingly popular open innovation sites that give creative people a safe haven to kick-start those neurons. 
 
That’s why my agency, Ketchum, just launched its own crowdsourcing site we named Mindfire (following a crowdsourcing competition to name it, in full disclosure). We wanted to create a mutually rewarding, low-pressure, high-octane online environment where enthusiastic and imaginative university students could congregate to help us come up with great ideas. We’re offering them some rewards for participating, and treating every challenge as a little competition. 
 
It’s just day two for Mindfire, and already Pedro, a Brazilian student attending Boulder Digital Works in Colorado, and Nathan, a blogger attending the Media School at Bournemouth University in the U.K., and Alexandra, a Cornell undergrad who really knows social media, all met online to help Ketchum with a creative challenge for an important client. Their ideas are inspiring, which is exactly the point. A little healthy creative competition does wonders for waking up those sleepy synapses. Minds on Fire indeed.

 

Karen loves winning trophies for clients, believing awards affirm how much strategy and creativity matter. As Ketchum’s chief strategy and creativity officer, as well as co-lead of Ketchum’s 50+ specialty, she is an evangelist for courage and creativity in communication, and she ensures strategic discipline and creative liberation for the firm’s global network of planners. Her devotion to studying human behavior, crowdsourcing creative ideas and working across silos have contributed to Ketchum winning more awards for clients than any other PR firm. Some of her initiatives include the creation of Mindfire, Ketchum’s crowdsourcing site for fueling creative ideas; the Ketchum Creative Community and related Passion Panels to solve client challenges; and the Ketchum Media Optimizer, the first media planning discipline in the public relations business. As a member of the small minority of female agency creative chiefs, Karen is on a mission to inspire and empower more women to take on lead creative roles.