The MENA region should and can afford to learn from the best worldwide


Ralf Langwost, CEO/Founder & Mastertrainer of IdeaManagement, has devoted himself to his passion for great ideas and has travelled the world spreading his knowledge. Ralf also tells us about his activities in the region and that many people in the Middle East, sadly seem to be “okay with copying ideas”, and how he plans to change that.

Q. Kindly introduce yourself and Idea Management.

A. IdeaManagement is a new working methodology for everybody who wants to come up with more relevant ideas in a shorter time. This is especially useful for all people in the creative industries like communication, media and brand management. In order to construct this methodology we interviewed 77 top-creatives worldwide and analysed what they have in common. These common patterns we teach to the worldwide community of creatives and idea managers like Copywriters, Art Directors or Account Managers and Strategic Planners in companies and agencies.

Q. What countries/regions do Idea Management activities span and kindly mention the industry recognition your workshops and training courses have received.

A. We basically cooperate with leading associations all over the world, for companies like Nokia in Finlandor Samsung in Korea but also BBDO in Chile and Chicago. Our approach of applying the principles of quality management to the idea is very relevant for them especially in tough times; the advertising dollar must be spent most effectively. Members of the Art Directors Club of Europe, delegates of the Cannes Advertising Festival and the organizers of 42 Effectiveness Shows around the world appreciate what we do and recommend us to their peer groups. Still our work is mostly recommended mouth by mouth, but is has brought us to all countries where advertising is meaningful and ideas have become the main differentiator for an effective communication result.

Q. What is the “Catch the Big Idea” event all about?

A. Catch the Big Ideas demonstrates how to come with a Great Idea in the shortest possible time. Therefore the working and thinking pattern of top-creatives are applied practically and on real jobs. Here people learn from the most effective processes like from Sir John Hegarty, Dan Wieden, Marcello Serpa and many others. They apply what these “spirits” have in common to foster and develop their own skills. Therefore we reflect the briefing from the client, find inspiring insights, develop a strategy and jump in an outstanding idea by asking outstanding questions. Also presentation skills are trained as all presentations are limited to 60 seconds. When somebody has really understood the problem and the idea, this is no problem – as we say: You must have understanding to be outstanding. This approach is appreciated by clients and creatives as an IdeaManagement Idea must always stand the hard test to be right, and one can learn how to do it.

Q. You recently held workshops in Dubai and Kuwait. What’s your feedback on the levels awareness in the Middle East, and how advanced do you feel are the region’s markets?

A. Yes, I had the chance to speak to a group of 100 leading managers in Kuwait and I was invited by the IAA Kuwait chapter. The challenges in the Middle East are many fold. First people have to understand the power on an idea and how to direct this energy to a really great business or communication solution. This is what they have in common with many other people around the world. What I found different there was that many people seem to be okay with copying ideas – and this is a bit sad. It takes away originality and recognition for great work and it does not allow great and unique market successes that are driven by ideas. The reason for that might be that the market is still young and education in advertising is not existing, rare or too much. In order to be outstanding you need outstanding training and that is what we bring to the MENA region with our Dubai Workshop. For us, it is also a way to let people test this way of thinking, as we will also offer our successful Certified Creative Professional Qualification in autumn this year in Oman for the entire region. This is a full 6 day workshop but people will need this knowledge to perform on a worldwide top-level and in our Dubai Workshop on 8 – 9 June 2009 they can test this idea process.

Q. What other fields of training do you believe may be suitable for professionals in the Middle East?

A. Everything from basics to advanced skills that, is supported and guided by best practices. That is the good news. The MENA region should and can afford to learn from the best worldwide. It can avoid mistakes others did and can develop faster. But to buy into this kind of knowledge people have to be aware that a good education always has its price. Asking for a University degree and paying a ground school fee would not work. So my recommendation is always to go for the best quality, because if you spend 2 days in a training session and it is not good enough – you just wasted 2 days of your life.

Q. What else do you have planned for the region, any other cities/countries coming up afterDubai and Kuwait?

A. For autumn – after Ramadan – we will offer a 6 day intensive workshop in Muscat/Oman in the beautiful Shangrila Ressort Hotel. This training is outstanding as it is our first boot camp in the MENA region and it will invite a group of high performers who will enjoy the atmosphere and worldwide, best practices in managing ideas. From copy to art and account management – it will be a special group of people from all over the world and the region. Our workshops are very international – in Dubai with participants from Europe, Vietnam, Ukraine and others they offer a fantastic platform for networking with like minded people.

Q. Is there anything else you would you like to add?

A. Yes, most often we hear the senior people saying: I should have done this workshop 10 years ago; it would have saved me a lot of time and effort. I think it would also have saved a lot of money and will give great tools to the next generation that shows the world that great ideas can come from everywhere.


Ralf Langwost will be holding a Workshop in Dubai on the 8-9 of June, for more information please click here.



Published in Al Tasweek Al Arabi magazine. issue 43. May 2008. Page: 61.

Additional information can be obtained by calling Mr. Michel Barakat on +965 99703579

Related links: 

How to Catch the big idea…in kuwait

Creative effectiveness


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Louai Alasfahani

ANUBIS was a very old god of the ancient Egyptians, universally worshipped throughout the land and became considered the gatekeeper and ruler of the underworld; the “Guardian of the veil“ he was “Lord of the Cleansing Room” and the opener of the roads of the North. “He observed the weighing of the deceased’s heart against the feather of Maat [Truth] and reported his findings to the jury of the gods.


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