Is It The Business of Creativity or Creativity of Business?

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. [Ecclesiastes 9:11]

So true. Don’t you think? However, we have very little control over time and chance.

The one thing that will make a difference -plus it’s something we do have control over- is creativity. And creativity is often the only thing that separates a successful business from a failed one.

I can already picture some manager reading this and thinking “hmmm…that makes sense. I better crack the whip to get those lazy bums into more creative head-space”.

Yeah…it doesn’t work quite like that Jack. You can’t bully people into being more creative.

Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity. ~ Hugh MacLeod

In fact, I will go as far as to say that the hierarchical nature of corporate world will need to be flattened into a network-of-peers type structure if something resembling corporate creativity is to emerge.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Phycology Professor at the Claremont Graduate University, and one of the leading researchers in the field of Psychology had this to say.

It’s easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the environment than by trying to make people think more creatively.

Taken from his groundbreaking book on creativity (named somewhat uncreatively) Creativity (Amazon Affiliate Link.)

I take that quote to mean that my (and your) creativity has more to do with my environment than with my creativity. Carefully consider that as a possibility before you reject the notion out right.

But Dino, I bet you’re saying to yourself. Don’t we have a bigger fish to fry?

Don’t we have bigger problems to solve like global warming, hunger, overpopulation, diseases, and the list goes on.

To that I say YES! All those issues must be resolved and the only way they WILL get resolved is when someone starts thinking creatively about potential solutions.

Think not about creative solutions for your business alone but creative solutions for other businesses, locales, people, etc. It’s called Karma…live it.

It’s always easier to approach problems in creative ways when the problem belongs to someone else.

Practice makes perfect so don’t hesitate to solve other people’s problems.

They  say it takes 10 000 hrs of practice to become and expert at anything. I  hope you don’t have 10 000 hrs of your own problems to solve. So the only way to get that experience and become an expert problem solver is to work on other people’s problems.

I will yield the floor to the authority on the subject once again. Prof. Csikszentmihalyi. What say you?

Creativity is more likely in places where new ideas require less effort to be perceived.

Prof. Csikszentmihalyi is talking about 5th century BC Athens, Greece. 15th century Florence, Italy. Paris, France in the 19th century. Plus most modern, vibrant, large cities with many intersecting communities, cultures and tribes where people are exposed to the influence of their surroundings.

Once exposed, you can’t help but be infected with the creative bug. This has been statistically confirmed, see Where Good Ideas Come From (Amazon Affiliate Link).

Compare that to the hierarchical nature of a modern corporation. In order for creative ideas to be heard you will require dynamite. Modern corps are monolithic, heavy, and guarantied to stifle creative thought.

Let’s relate these lessons to a real-life example.

Sawmills used to pay to have their byproduct -Pine Bark- disposed of until one day, some creative mind, came up with the idea of selling Pine Bark as landscaping mulch. Now days, Pine Bark as landscaping mulch is the primary product of many small sawmills.

What byproduct is produced by your business?

Let’s brainstorm some creative ideas via comments section and see what we can do with your byproduct.

Human generated related posts:

Sex and Cash Business Theory

What’s Holding Your Business Back and a Simple Fix You Can Implement Right Now

To Fail, Expect to be Discovered

Devil Gets His Due Either Way So Choose Wisely

Ignore Everybody

Good Ideas Have a Lonely Childhood

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Google Plus

  • Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

    Me like Dino 🙂 In fact, the quote ‘Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.’ just about sums up everything running through my little brain when it comes to business success and the things I write about. Too many industries have been doing things the same way for too dang long. It’s stupid and, if I’m being frank, gutless.

    May we let the creative juices flow and then get after it..

    much thx


    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx @TheSalesLion that is indeed a great quote. @gapingvoid ‘s book is full of them…glad you liked the post…Im checking out your blog and me thinks me likes the dog analogy 🙂

  • Niall Harbison

    It’s amazing how much effort it takes to be creative though. I love doing it in our business but it’s so hard to find the time for it. It can literally take hours to come up with the best ideas at times and the thing is that it’s hours of just sitting there doing nothing but thinking which then makes you stress that you are not actually working! Being creative is tough! Or rather finding time to be creative is tough!

    • Dino Dogan

      Hey Niall…Im little perplexed by your logic. Creativity is not something you block off time for, its something you are 24/7. Every moment is an opportunity to be creative. At least thats how I see it, I could be wrong 🙂

  • Edwin

    I think its a little mix of both. A business needs creativity to stand out from the crowd and to crush the competition. It also needs creative employees to keep dishing out great ideas.

    Creativity, no matter which way you write it, is important!

    • Dino Dogan

      For sure…thanks for being a regular Edwin…I always enjoy your point of view 🙂

  • Elise M

    Whoa, this sure was a creative blog post 🙂

    “They say it takes 10 000 hrs of practice to become and expert at anything.” I heard this before when I was 10 years old and wanted to be the next Beethoven (LOL). My old piano teacher told it to me when I asked her how people like Mozart and Chopin got so good at composing. I was like, “Oh… that kind of sucks.”

    I believe there is a true battle between creativity and non-creativity. We are taught to learn from others’ success, copy what other people do, follow the proven strategies, and do it because someone told us it works. I think those are the first steps, but only when someone can harness what they’ve learned from others as the building blocks to work up to something totally unique will they achieve true creativity. I’m still working on mine.

    COOL post! 🙂

    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Elise. Here is my 2 cents regarding a practical approach to creativity. Simply stay open to the possibility that two or three or 5 things that arent supposed to have ANY connection with each other, do.

      Example. Printing press changed the world. No one can deny that. But what was it? It was creative, yes. But it was also a wine press (used in making drinking wine in case that wasnt clear lol), it was movable type (printing technology that already existed, and it was a conveyor belt. Again something that existed is other contexts way before. BA-GOOSH!!!! Presto creativity on tap.

      Creativity is often nothing more that novel connections.

  • Jay Dolan

    Creativity is something I have to do everyday. Between my former life as a classical singer, my volunteer life as an actor and my blog, I’d say I’m reaching that 10,000 hour mark of creativity, just not in any one field. Maybe I’m better for being so diverse.

    And I will be using a byproduct very soon for a new purpose. I’m hoping to get all the cartoons I draw for my blog (over 100 so far sitting in a drawer) into an art show.

    • Dino Dogan

      …and bingo was his name-o. Right on bro…thats exactly the type of thing Im talking about. BTW…you are most definitely better for being diverse. Creativity is all about novel, disparate connections.

  • Gibsongoff

    This reminds me of the facilities department of a university trying to figure out where to put in sidewalks to a new building, to best aid the students travels in inclement weather. One professor urged that they should wait, let the students decide the routing and then create sidewalks accordingly.

    It worked. Within a month the paths were clearly worn across the grass. The contractor staked out boards and poured the concrete.

    The lesson was, of course: Everyone had a say-so, literally everyone. The path became clear, those that agreed with the prior choices had to just follow along. The contractor poured wide sidewalks where the paths were. The staff, faculty, and student body all commented on how great the new sidewalks were and asked when they were going to do the rest of the campus!

    Take the collective body. Simply say, I want your best ideas. Say no more. Sit back, and watch the magic begin. It may suprise you.

    • Dino Dogan

      That is a GREAT!!! example of creativity solving a real life problem. It was Chicago U. sometime in the 80s if I remember correctly. Thnx for that….awesome example.

  • Pingback: How To Climb Your Own Private Everest

  • Julie Nutter

    No wonder Google is so successful. =]

    • Dino Dogan

      yeah, for sure. Did you know that google requires its employees to spend 20% of their work hours engaged in new/lab/test projects? Very cool move google.

      • Julie Nutter

        Of course I did. What else is Freakonomics Radio for?

        • Dino Dogan

          Did you see the movie?

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Spark a Conversation on Facebook

  • Paul Flanigan

    Every single thing around us, from our clothes to our computers, everything, was a result of creativity. Ideas are only in your head until you find a way to let them out. And very rarely does an idea come out perfect. I totally agree that the environment has impact.

    My question: How creative is YOUR environment?

    • Dino Dogan

      My current environment is 60% creativity conducing and improving. I’ve made friends with many heady tomes of serious non fiction as well as real humans who have had an amazing impact on my own productivity.

      Can it get better? For sure…Im working on it 🙂

      And yours?

      • Paul Flanigan

        Honestly? My environment is terribly non-creative. No joke: I have not a SINGLE PIECE OF ANYTHING HANGING ON ANY WALL in my office. I don’t have a radio near me, I don’t have any knick-knacks on my desk. As a matter of fact, I think that if a creative person were to walk into my office, the world of creativity itself would fold into a little paper ball, roll off the desk and under the shelf of books that are amazingly uncreative, and it would die there. Seriously.

        And you know what? It has completely hampered my creativity.

        Unfortunately, I’m in a situation right now where I can’t do much about it.

        My dad was an art director at a TV station for 30 years and had, no arguement, THE COOLEST OFFICE ON EARTH. You should see his little cave in his house. Amazing. Me? No.

        So sad.

        It will change. Soon.