Creativity and Business
I am beginning a series of posts/articles, which relate to creativity in business, a subject I have barely touched upon yet.
Many businesses these days pay lip service to innovation, without truly understanding that ALL innovation is driven by creativity and that the creative process has it own set of anti rules, parameters and processes which don’t fit into corporate rules, boxes and traditional ways of thinking.
We spend more of our lives working, either for ourselves if we have our own business or for someone else if we are employed, than we spend doing anything else. Which ever applies to you, I have a couple of questions –
- Do you consciously use creativity or creative thinking in your day-to-day working life?
- Do you think it is a general creative ‘bent’ that you have or are you more aware that you have and use your own ‘creative genius’ in your working life.
Now if you are not an ‘artist per se’ or you don’t work in a ‘creative’ type of business you may well be saying something like “what creative genius” what!!….
Didn’t anyone tell you before that you have one? Well I’m here to let you know – if there was ever any doubt about it, that you do. And the scariest thing about that, is owning up to the fact that you might be really good at something. Why is that?
Pretty simple really, if I am truly good at something then that might lead me to the reluctant conclusion that I am not really making the most of that thing which I am an expert in. This of course then leads to a potential can of worms so to speak. It is often so much easier to go with the status quo than it is to begin self searching and heaven forbid ‘being different.’
As soon as I begin to think a bit more creatively what happens, suddenly I’m no longer invisible, people might think I’m weird, I might be thought of as a trouble maker etc.
Instead I might rather choose one of these alternatives; duck for cover, profess deniability, blend in with the crowd, don’t rock the boat, these are all standard tools employed in the corporate world – not to mention politics of any sort whether, it’s the local school committee or running for president. These are the things which the majority of business environments still foster and keep them stuck.
Using your creativity so often does not sit well with any of the above mentioned behaviours. Why is that? Because the simple unvarnished fact is that creativity brings change and change is what absolutely scares the pants of people and corporations. With change comes Oh oh……. The dreaded – outside the comfort zone. Often stepping up is required, letting go of things we might be comfortable with doing which have become out moded, or that we have a vested interest in.
But as Einstein put it so well “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”
A really good example of this can be seen in the decision to build nuclear power plants in places prone to Tsunamis and earthquakes. Because the builders of these places might have thought such events unlikely or impossible to happen, doesn’t necessarily make it so. And further to that, we can see that there were not enough fail-safe procedures initiated because the makers didn’t ask the hard questions in the first place. If they had exercised more creative thinking and less financial bottom line thinking, in the first place, we would not now be facing a global radiation crisis of huge proportions.
Now the world has seen the catastrophic consequences of such stunted thinking we need a new paradigm as a planet in dealing with the way we as a global race deal with the already existing ‘inventions’ that have the capability of destroying the planet we live upon.
How does this impact on creativity in Business you may ask?
The world we live in is changing so rapidly that we need new ways of thinking and processing information to keep up. Our inventive abilities are outstripping our social, political and business structures to a point where the very fabric of our societies is being challenged on many different levels. The ONLY way we can solve these problems is by thinking as Einstein said, beyond the thought processes that created them initially.
You cannot stop ‘progress’. You can only adapt to change. However with foresight and the intelligent use of ones creative thinking capacity it is possible to find new solutions to old problems. The survival of the human race may well depend upon these two factors alone.
One our ability to think creatively about any given situation and two the follow through to implement the solutions arising from our creative thought processes.
As I said earlier, there needs to be a global paradigm shift away from those things that keep us thinking in separatist, ideological, self interested channels to one of personal responsibility on a global scale. This shift is from the hindsight, retroactive, putting out fires mode, to the foresighted creative-thinking initiative mode.
This way of thinking will then necessarily impact on how and why we embrace the businesses that we do.