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.
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