29 NOVEMBER 2018

WeTransfer’s global survey reveals the perfect recipe for great ideas

10,000 creatives from more than 140 countries explain how, where and when they get creative ideas.

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Amsterdam, November 29, 2018 – Today, WeTransfer released its first ever Ideas Report, with more than 10,000 creatives in 143 countries revealing how they get their best ideas. The report, which is available for download here, asked WeTransfer users a series of questions about when, where, and how inspiration strikes.

The key findings included:

  • People find offline stimuli much more useful than online spaces – talking with friends, books and magazines, nature and travel all scored highly.
  • 65% creatives said they need quiet or silence to get good ideas
  • The highest scoring place to get good ideas was surprisingly everyday – at people’s desk or in their studio (but nearly one in four people said they have their best ideas in bed!)
  • 40% of creatives prefer to record their ideas on pen and paper; only 17% record ideas on their phones

As part of the project, a group of scientific experts reacted to some of the key findings. They are Maryanne Wolf (cognitive scientist at Tufts University), Pam Mueller (social psychologist and Princeton PhD), Lu Chen (neuroscientist at Stanford University) and Dr Catherine Loveday (principal lecturer in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Westminster).

75% of WeTransfer’s 42+ million monthly users identify as creatives and the company has long believed that creative thinking changes the world for the better. This has seen WeTransfer grow from the simplest way to send big files around the world to a set of beautifully obvious tools that assist in every step of the creative process -- from initial spark with content platform WePresent to final delivery via WeTransfer.   

As a trusted ally for millions of creatives - the platform famously donates 30% of its advertising space to showcase art, illustration, and music - WeTransfer is uniquely positioned to understand both the creative process and the value of great ideas.

Rob Alderson, Vice President of Content for WeTransfer, noted:

“There’s lots of talk about ideas and inspiration but it seems like the conversation is often very one-way. By asking more than 10,000 WeTransfer users about their experiences, we’ve painted an interesting portrait of how ideas work in 2018. From what we see, an early morning conversation with friends at your desk is the perfect recipe for a great creative idea! It’s fascinating to see the results and they will feed into lots of the work we do over the next 12 months, from the stories we tell on WePresent to the ways in which we think about our products.”

For more information on the Ideas Report and insights from experts across scientific and creative fields, visit WeTransfer Ideas Report 2018

For creative development of the WeTransfer Ideas Report 2018, WeTransfer teamed up with TCO London, the media company behind youth culture brand Huck and film magazine Little White Lies.


Go to we.tl/ideasreport to access the online version of the WeTransfer Ideas Report

Go to we.tl/ideasreportessay to read the Medium piece “Why we need to talk about ideas” by Rob Alderson, VP of Content at WeTransfer.

Go to we.tl/ideasreportdownload to download a PDF version of the report

Go to we.tl/ideasreportmethod to the methodology behind the report

Go to https://we.tl/t-IGynNsFRpb to download a press package including the visuals below

Note to editor

WeTransfer presented The Ideas Report during a breakfast event in New York on November 29. At the event, Rob Alderson shared the key insights from the report, and Debbie Millman presented what she’s learned about idea generation from interviewing the world’s best creatives on the Design Matters podcast, as well as her own experience as a designer. For more information email Annie Malarkey via annie@wetransfer.com.

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About WeTransfer

WeTransfer makes tools to move ideas. Founded in 2009 in Amsterdam as a simple, well-designed file sharing service for the creative community, WeTransfer has grown to include tools that scale across the creative spectrum, including editorial platform WePresent (with 3M monthly readers), mobile app 'Collect by WeTransfer' (with 4M monthly users), quick slide-making tool Paste® (with 40,000 active teams), immersive sketching tool Paper® (with more than 30M downloads), and the original web platform with 60M monthly users and over a billion files sent each month.

From the beginning, WeTransfer has prioritized bringing “offline” values - trust, transparency, and ethics - online. This means having a responsible data policy and tools that don’t distract people from their creative flow. WeTransfer has pioneered a new means of online advertising, resulting in the platform’s full-page wallpapers, designed by our award-winning in-house creative studio. Advertisers include industry-leading brands like Apple, Saint Laurent, Google, Balenciaga, Samsung, Netflix, Adidas, and Squarespace.

Since its founding, WeTransfer has proudly supported the creative communities and given up to 30% of advertising space to support the arts, donating over 5 billion impressions in 2017. Through our ongoing advertising grant program and content platform, WePresent, we have partnered with hundreds of groundbreaking artists and organizations, including Björk, King Krule, FKA twigs, Ryan McGinley, Ami Vitale, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the UN Development Program, the World Wildlife Foundation and the Prince Estate. In 2016, WeTransfer launched the world’s first free Masters of the Arts in design thinking with the University of the Underground and Worldwide FM, the global radio station run by legendary BBC DJ Gilles Peterson.

Following a $25 million investment from Highland Europe in 2015, WeTransfer opened a US office in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, to add to the Amsterdam headquarters. In 2018, WeTransfer acquired popular creative apps Paper® and Paste® and expanded its US presence to New York City.

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