Creativity can be measured commercially. A new product gains profit when it serves some people better than an existing product. Duane Jones emphasized the need to find your niche and defend it. An older product generally broadens and simplifies to be halfway pleasing to a broad range of cultures and places and personalities, which leaves room for a new multi-featured product to satisfy one group deeply.
The Rambler is the perfect example. The big three had simplified and lost variety in the mid-50s. All of their products had the same size and power and weight and features, losing many of the unique gimmicks and technologies of the ’30s.
Mason and Romney recognized, as Duane Jones did, that women are the deciders. The universal standard car was too big and powerful for most women. The big three were selling to young men who wanted speed and length to gain status with women, or at least to imagine that they were gaining status. This worked fairly well for the young men, but it was impractical for married women.
Mason’s creative insight was rewarded by married women, and the Rambler beat Plymouth for several years until the big three finally figured out what was happening.
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In general, measurable creativity depends on a selector or editor who KNOWS what the customers want, and SELECTS the best match from a variety of designs.
Constant: Designers turn out a wide variety of shapes and sizes and colors and texts. A commercially viable design for our audience is always AVAILABLE from this noisy source.
Variable: Resonating with the chosen audience is a feedback process of gradual iterative tuning, and it takes a refined ear to sense when the resonance is just right. Good selectors can hit the right note with very little iteration. Bad managers don’t even know that tuning is necessary.
At the moment AI is an extremely noisy source. Janelle Shane at AI Weirdness has been trying it out to generate product ideas. Most of these names and pictures are blurred or jumbled mixtures of existing products, like the generic cars that appear in ads for gasoline or accessories. Some are completely weird and incomprehensible, like a ’62 Dodge.
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AI’s verbal creativity is more convincing. From Cookingflavr.com as usual:
What Does Wreckfish Taste Like?
Wreckfish is a type of seafood that is often found in the oceans. The seafood is made up of a small, white fish that has been hit by a ship and then squished. The fish is then cooked until it is very tender.
This is totally logical within its own universe, and a genuinely creative extension of logic. When you try to resonate it with the real universe it fails.
First, water isn’t like land. A rabbit can be squished by a car but a rabbit-sized fish can’t be squished by a ship. The bow wave pushes fish aside. A whale can be squished by a ship because it’s too large to push aside.
The non-squishing of ordinary fish is not googleable because it doesn’t happen.
Google doesn’t include news reports of things that don’t happen. (Admittedly political “news” consists SOLELY of things that can’t possibly happen, but that’s a different range of information.)
Second, the actual wreckfish is a large bass, and it was named because it liked to use submerged shipwrecks as home territory.
The first piece of info requires muscle sense. The second piece was googled easily.
The Cookingflavr AI can access Wikipedia much faster, but it didn’t recognize the land vs water difference because it hasn’t played in the bathtub or waded in a creek.
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Could an AI manager select the most likely resonance between the chosen audience and its wide range of created varieties? Here’s where doesn’t happen comes into play. The new and resonant product doesn’t have any ad-click responses to measure statistically because it hasn’t happened yet.
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Later: It appears that Cookingflavr.com was turned off. The site is still there but nothing new since Aug 7. Probably a good idea; some of its recommendations would be deadly if taken seriously as ‘diet advice’ or ‘medical advice’.