Welcome to the robots vs. welcome to creativity

In Internet age, creativity is a necessity in business

David Usher, a very popular singer songwriter from Montreal believes that creativity is, and not only for him in the music business, a necessity. Since the Internet has got that important and therefore changed our society very much, Usher is convinced that creativity isn´t a luxury or risk anymore, but a requirement. I absolutely agree that our century can be seen as an Internet age. However, I can´t imagine which impact it has on creativity. David Usher remembers us that there is now a much bigger competition due to all the possibilities which the internet offers. Before we had a so called protection of location which I find is a funny term. Besides from all this it is important to understand that creativity isn´t only about creating better and newer products. David Usher thinks it is “really about adopting an attitude or a culture that embraces change because the environment we are living and working in is so much faster.” A recent IBM study of 1,500 CEOs found out that creativity is the number-one “leadership competency” of the future. There are a lot of companies that show that this is true. Apple iPod outplays Sony Walkman, Starbucks’ beans and atmosphere drown traditional coffee shops, Skype uses a strategy of “free” to beat AT&T, and Southwest Airlines flies under the radar of American and Delta.

Ways to foster creativity

David Burkus is convinced that new ideas are and always have been rejected from others in the first place. He asserts that man has difficulties in valuing the usefulness of something new. Since we only know and are used to the old idea, he believes that we initially ignore the new one. I don´t think that it is that bad but apparently he seems to be right. David Burkus points out that this isn´t only a recent problem, but existed also centuries ago. Igor Stravinsky´s inharmonic music pieces were seriously rejected by the audience until a few years later Walt Disney rediscovered its uniqueness and incorporated the melody into the movie of Fantasia. Many people wouldn´t even assume this, as we grew up with these kinds of movies and never were aware of the reaction. David Burkus calls this kind of behavior an initial reaction of rejection. This is only one example, as also in companies like Kodak new ideas were also initially not accepted. Therefore David Burkus criticizes our way of judging new things. Instead of ignoring them he recommends us to reconcile the new and the value of an idea. Only then we can benefit from it. He does believe that there is still potential, but important is to recognize the ideas that already have been invented. His aim is to find people who will spread these ideas. That is the merit.

Say yes to your own voice

Scott Berkun remembers us that now is the best time in history to create something new. 100 years ago it was much more difficult as there still weren´t all those inventions that there are now. In contrast to David Burkus Scott Burkun argues that the passive consumption of others´ ideas isn´t the appropriate way of gaining inspiration and positive energy. He reminds us that creating new ideas is hard work and needs its time. No matter how inspired we might be, the challenge will always be to have patience. For Scott Burkun the source of inspiration is our own soul. He describes our soul as the voice in the “inside” of ourselves that gives us orientation. Unfortunately Scott Berkun regrets that as we get older the voice gets smaller and smaller. We have the feeling that we have to adapt ourselves to our teachers, professors and bosses. Therefore unconsciously we leave behind our voice and forget it. I do agree that as we get older we more and more change and adapt ourselves to others, but I have mixed feelings about that we should not get inspiration from others. Scott Berkun encourages us to listen to it and find moments to concentrate on it. In my opinion this can only work out if we in addition discuss our ideas together with others. Nevertheless he concludes that inspiration cannot come from other people and creativity books, but especially from our inner voice. Looking at these two videos I can´t really decide with whom I agree. I think a good solution would be to make a mixture of both. Unfortunately I doubt that companies take creativity that serious as they should do.

Convergencing” an innovative company

Everybody knows that being innovative isn´t easy at all, but leading an innovative company sounds even trickier. Jeff Dyer wants us to understand that innovative companies have all something in common. They apparently innovate on three different levels: growth, sustaining and efficiency innovation. Surprisingly creativity is only one-third given. According to researches with twins the other two third is influenced by our environment. So there can´t be any excuses of not having the talent. To make it short: Jeff Dyer concludes that each business can be creative, the clue is to find a balance between these three mentioned levels and a good leader. Bob Lord sees the secret behind something a different. That is how I suddenly found the word convergence. Of course I can imagine what it means, but in this context it was something new. Bob Lord defines convergence as the coming together of media, technology and creativity in order to create experiences that enrich the consumer´s relationship with the brand. He wants to point out that as these three points are always changing and reemerging in a different way it is always a great challenge for a company to be quick enough to adapt to customers´ expectations. It may sound simple in the first moment, but unfortunately adapting your organization to convergence is a never ending an exhausting cycle.

What are Creative conflicts?

A lot of people assume that in order to create something new a peaceful and harmonic atmosphere are of a great importance. However, Robert Williams wants to prove the contrary. We very often see a conflict as a destructive shadow, as the author calls it. But instead he encourages us to take conflicts as an opportunity to be even more creative. Only by discussing an idea, it can be remodeled and improved. I fully agree with this wonderful of Picasso: “Every act of creation is an act of destruction.” This doesn´t mean that employees should provoke conflicts, but he wants to point out that we should rather give up at least one fact, belief or assumption. I understood this way: creativity certainly benefits from conflicts. There are even some people that talk about conflict management. “When a project is being developed, but isn’t fully formed, criticism and constructive conflict are vital to testing the value of the ideas.”Of course it is always important to engage the right kind of fight.

Marketing creativity

Due to the hard pressure of global competition Yannig Roth claims that creativity is becoming the most treasured asset for a company. He believes that creativity is crucial to experience a business success. It is quite interesting to say that creativity in a company is connected to the quality and talents of the employees. Only then it is possible to develop a product which fulfills customers´ needs. So he certainly knows that is essential to foster creativity and not to see it as something given. Some easy methods can be workshops and courses for the employees and managers. I´m not that convinced that this can always work out as it should do. Therefore Yannig Roth introduces another interesting trend of how to attract creativity. Crowdsourcing and Co-creation is often a good and effective way of killing two birds with one stone. Yannig Roth believes that it is the best solution as the company directly has contact to the customers´ preferences. According to researches many firms like Unilever made good experiences with this kind of creative method. Let the customer be creative. On the one hand I agree that companies still have to do a lot to call themselves creative, but why not build a connection to the customer and reach creativity this way. The workplace is changing and it won´t always be easy to be up to date. Very often one even talks about new digital trends. It shouldn´t be an excuse for companies, but rather a small push in the right way.

Who says creativity and business must be antagonists?

Companies are built up with different people who are the heart of the success. Still it isn´t always easy to manage conflicts which can occur between them. Each person is creative in his own way and it is important to accept that. According to Patrick Maggitti, a business can only continue to drive positive changes in the world with the help of creativity as it has become an increasingly essential part of organizational success. Furthermore he points out that creativity is becoming more and more part of job descriptions.

But what does our society really know about creativity?

Creativity sounds to everybody like an amazing word. Yet the sticking point is knowing and finding out how to take advantage of it and benefit from it in the best way. Tina Seelig claims that our business world is obsessed with creativity and the great success that new startups such as Instagram have in bringing new ideas to life. Unfortunately not all firms experience the same success. Instead of strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit of their teams and organizations they end up increasing creativity by painting their walls and rearranging the furniture. According to Tina Seelig this of course could be a tiny starting point, but sadly none of these tactics are a method that work and guarantee success alone. Tina Seelig remembers us that creativity can only emerge together with other important skills like motivation and self-confidence.

What are we doing to foster it?

Since our society seems to realize how important and necessary creativity is, there are already some universities that have introduced courses on entrepreneurship and creative problem solving into their program. However Tina Steelig doubts that this cannot be a measure of improvement. She believes that by teaching creativity, young people can only get a small idea of what the human trait of creativity is but not why it is essential in our lives and workplace.

What is it that prevents us from being creative? Continue reading