Often the strongest ideas are the simplest ones. John Hunt, author of an insightful new book called The Art of The Idea, describes two categories of people: sunrisers and sunsetters. "A sunriser gives out energy, a sunsetter sucks it away," he writes. "A sunriser goes through life open to the idea that the best may still be coming. A sunset person is heavy in the knowledge that the best is past."
Guess which kind of person suffocates creativity and which is best in a brainstorm session determined to spur fresh ideas and creative breakthroughs.
Hunt, a South African and worldwide creative director of the advertising agency TBWA, says that age has nothing to do with which category anyone falls into. In fact, Hunt, who was intimately involved in Nelson Mandela's election campaign in 1993, describes South Africa's extraordinary leader as "the most sunrise person I've ever met...Often in meetings, he'd listen to people angry about the past. When they were finished, he's agree with them. They were right, he'd say. Then he'd ask that their anger at the past not contaminate the future...Mandela knew that if he based his ideas on the evils of the past, he'd soon have a sunset country."
Hunt's short book -- filled with pithy, well-written observations and charming artwork from South African artist Sam Nhlengethwa -- aims to give room for ideas to breathe, be it in a jam-packed meeting or alone on an airplane. It's based on his experience that original thinking really can happen in a group and that the power of an idea is not based on who owns it but how it's shared.