The Edge Effect is an ecology term used to describe when two or more biomes intersect (the edge.) In this region, due to the sharing and combining of different habitats, there is usually greater biodiversity (species) and greater population density. In other words, new species and habitats are created as a result of "the edge."
Although the Edge Effect is primarily an ecology term used to describe habitats, it can be used in many other disciplines, especially business and marketing. This phenomenon can describe how certain companies have increased their creative output by having a diversity of people and working spaces in their organizations. This is increasingly important in the marketing world as new, creative ideas are essential to driving better campaign ideas and increasing campaign impact. Many marketers get burnt out after creating so much creativity, and keeping a fresh eye can be difficult to maintain. The Edge Effect is something that all organizations can implement into their own business model to ensure that they are fostering an environment that does not go stale.
How You Can Do It
Hire diversely. Different people from different backgrounds with different experiences will have different ideas. Putting unexpected people together can yield unexpected and amazing results.
Provide a variety of workspaces with flexibility. Many people get inspiration from different environments, rarely is it in a cubicle. Set up a creative work zone where people can mingle, relax a little, and get creative.
Ask for outside help. If your organization has close ties with another company, even if they are not in the same industry, fly an idea by them. Many of the best ideas don't come from experts, but from people who have a broad, general knowledge of the subject. This is because they have not been taught the "rules of the industry" and their thinking is not constrained.
Encourage hobbies. People who have hobbies are able to relax and let ideas incubate while they are not consciously thinking about them. For marketers, time to incubate is the key between ok ideas and great ideas. Many hobbies also activate different types of thinking in different parts of the brain, which may also be a lightning pole for inspiration.
Read books. Books help to increase general knowledge on a myriad of subjects and also provide thought invoking insight. Even if a book may not seem relevant, it's surprising how beneficial a book can be to the ideation and creative process. Always have a book to read and maybe even start a book list at your work.
These are just a few tips that can help marketers, or anyone doing marketing, to come up with better, more fresh ideas using the Edge Effect. Creating a new environment for new ideas to grow could be the best thing for anyone trying to come up with messaging, a graphic or any business idea for that matter. Try some of these methods and comment your thoughts and experiences below!
*Thank you to Hidden Brain on NPR for an inspiring episode about "The Edge Effect." Listen to that episode here The Edge Effect