That’s me, making a sandcastle. Creating, bringing something into existence from nothing, or from very little, what a joy. It may not look like it! The first picture I have of me. Friends say, “you always looked worried.” Fact was, I was thinking about the next job in hand. Organising a game. Making something else. So not exactly worried, more concerned: how do you make a cracking sandcastle? Or put sticks into wet sand upright for goal-posts or a wicket? Problems. Solve them and you have fun. Or avoid being told off. Or discover interesting things, beautiful places and write stories. These days, creating, bringing something into existence from nothing, or from very little, for example a new idea, a story, a product or project. How do you do it? It may sound simple, but if you understand the creative business process clearly, you improve innovation and business planning. It’s surprising how people get it wrong, how others do it brilliantly but cannot organise it more formally. Create successful projects or create something from an idea – many people fail to do this, here is how to solve that. Creating with purpose gives value, brings something into existence from nothing, from very little, or from a new combination. You can create successful campaigns, projects, products or services from ideas or solving problems with an effective process.
What’s the creative block?
This problem, I see falls into a number of categories at work. The main ones, I find are:
- People in an established, large business may not be used to innovation
- Personnel/staff may not be used to innovation, and feel unable to create ideas
- Poor organisation culture – ideas are squashed
- The boss does all the thinking
- Health – shorter term, lack of energy, fitness and sleep
- How to do it
I’m not going to deal with all of these now. Let’s look at the essential issue of “creating” in a business.
There’s Nothing New?
I’ve always thought Jeffrey Baumgartner, to be unparalleled in his writing on creativity. Here is an extended quote from him, with his definition of creativity:
“Creativity is combining two or more existing notions in your mind in order to create an all new notion. In other words, creativity is about playing with bits and pieces of information that are stored away in your mind and putting two or more of them together in an all new way to. This is fascinating when you think about it. Every idea we have ever had, from the dawn of the human race until today, has been built on existing ideas. At some point, a very long time ago, a homo sapien found that if she put a chunk of animal on the fire, it tasted better, stayed edible longer and she needed to eat less frequently when she ate cooked foods.”From: <https://www.creativejeffrey.com/creativity/intro.php>
It’s debatable how completely new or re-used your creation is. But Jeffrey writes extensively on setting challenges, problem solving and producing creative solutions. What comes out of this is, stepping outside of situations, looking for models, templates, processes and producing answers. Create exciting ways of making ideas, services and products to make things better. Make money, or situations better.
So What? Is there a Problem?
In a previous article I wrote about: “The “So What Test” Why wait for someone else to suggest it is “this” or “that way”? Just remember, ask “So what? Is there a problem? Does it offer the customer a great solution, if not, don’t bother.” It’s the question we ask at Dorset Business Angels, of presentation pitches, asking for funding. Just as the dragons do on BBC Dragons Den. Don’t get carried away creating a business, asking for money, if people will not buy your product because it is not needed. Get creative on your favourite hobby or another outlet for your creativity.
Once we create: work, products and so on, the results need distributing and maintaining, plus skillsets of all kinds in addition to creative talents are essential. Analytical, interpersonal, leadership and many more talents are complimentary including less creative aspects of marketing of course, for example in the digital arena. Creativity in itself or non-creative tasks are not per se “good”, it depends on the context. As Peter Drucker, the most pre-eminent business thinker or the 20th century wrote: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” Two things strike me here. First Drucker says create a customer. Secondly innovation is in essence a creative process. In a world fearful of automation the dreaded “ai” or #ai, creativity and innovation is essential for profit, for business, and needs the creative people. Creating with purpose gives value, brings something into existence from nothing, from very little, or from a new combination. Remember you can create successful campaigns, projects, products or services from ideas or solving problems with an effective process.
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
A Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited