The business of creativity16/02/2016
The business of creativity
“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything”. That’s according to the original ‘Madman’ George Lois, genius creator of ‘The Big Idea’, and some of the most influential ad campaigns of our time.
Ever since I’ve been in the business of ideas and for a long time before I ever knew this quote existed, I have truly believed that creativity can solve almost all the problems we face.
30 Years ago we saw first-hand the harrowing pictures of children starving in drought ridden Africa because crops were failing and there was no food to eat. It was the creative genius of Bob Geldof that started a campaign called Band Aid which raised millions and millions of pounds and of course, the rest is history.
Now you might think that creativity couldn’t actually have solved the root cause of the problem in Africa because there was no rain to water the crops and that’s down to nature. But, if the powers that be had thought differently about the situation, brought in some clever design thinking from the experts, they might have developed a proper irrigation system that would be working today providing food and opportunity for millions.
So, if I believe we can solve big scale problems like that through thinking creatively, then surely we can solve practically any problem in the commercial world with some of the same. The definition of madness according to Einstein is; “doing the same things over and over again and expecting the same results”. In today’s fast paced world where companies are expected to change and evolve to meet the ever changing needs of global consumerism, it’s no longer a viable or commercially savvy option for businesses to stay still, they have to look towards the future even though it might bear absolutely no resemblance to the past or present.
Most people when you talk about creativity instinctively think it’s associated with a selected few; artists, sculptors, painters, graphic designers and photographers, but rarely would they consider themselves to be one of the same. I believe we’re all born creative but somehow as we grow into adulthood for a lot of people, it becomes supressed or withdrawn. Often the only difference between creative and uncreative people is self-perception. Creative people see themselves as such and allow themselves the freedom to create. People who see themselves as uncreative don’t give themselves the time or opportunity to create anything new.
If people just set aside some time to ask themselves is there a better way of doing something, then they’re being creative. In today’s businesses, managers and employees have to stop thinking that generating new ideas is just a chance process or the remit of a few select individuals, but appreciate that ideas appear to arise by chance only when people are actually looking for them. If they’re not curious or enquiring or not engaged in a hard search for opportunities, possibilities, answers or inventions, then they won’t find new ways of doing things, and things will remain same old, same old.
It’s true that creativity turns up in every business situation where there is a chance that things can be done in a more business like, more profitable or more satisfying way. Common frustrations that many businesses face such as staffing, service offering, processes and sales, can all be overcome by thinking up creative solutions to the challenges they present. Whether it’s introducing more streamlined processes to cut costs, increasing productivity by making people happier at work through improved working conditions, or simply making more connections between ideas, opportunities and partners, creativity gives you a real competitive advantage by adding value, and differentiating your business from the competition.
Creativity is simply the process of discovering what has not been considered, and when you decide to start to think about the possible rather than the impossible, you might not know what the outcome will be, but you can be sure you won’t be standing still or getting left behind.