Tag Archives: creativity

Taking the reins off your star performers

There is tendency for recruiters to bring new talent into a business but then attempt to restrict that talent rather than embrace what was attractive about it in the first place.

It sounds ridiculous, but how often do businesses lose good people over job satisfaction, motivation and development issues? The company, its customers and colleagues are the least frequently cited reasons for leaving.

Conformity is easy.

Better, then to encourage team members that want to be encouraged, that want to push the envelope, that want to raise the bar. Creativity, thinking creatively, innovation and dynamism are the lifeblood of most organisations but company culture too often sucks this from people and leaves them ambivalent because they haven’t received positive feedback on ideas and input previously.

An extreme example above. Love him or hate him, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has created incredible revenues for his company and his shareholders. To such an extent that even customers that would prefer not to fly Ryanair still do because of the way he has managed to keep ticket costs low.

Do you have star performers that you are reining in? Perhaps its time to take the shackles off and see how your business might flourish. Brave companies lead. Conservative ones follow.

Image: FastCompany



Why claiming creativity is almost irrelevant

I create this blog but don’t consider myself to be particularly creative. Agencies, job hunters, and marketers of varying repute claim to be creative but I wonder if many really are.

Being creative and operating creatively demands a mindset that modern businesses are rarely equipped for. The pressures that the current economic climate brings mean that businesses don’t get a second chance these days. You get one chance to make a killer first impression, to win the pitch, to land the contract, and to deliver it on time and on budget.

So are you going to cultivate an environment that affords opportunity and one which motivates and empowers your people, partners and suppliers? One that challenges them to conceive truly original ideas and to work them through to completion?

Or are you going to water them down in committee and settle for the conservative way things have always done, rather than be brave… and creative?

Understand that you aren’t the adjudicator of your creativity, your stakeholders are. Do you have evidence from them to substantiate your lofty claims? And the work to prove it?

Image: www.professionalartistmag.com


Taking imagination seriously

I love TED talks. Bite size nuggets full of inspiration.

Take one of the most recent updates, from self taught artist Janet Echelman, who pioneered the use of fishing nets to create stunning urban artistic sculpture and then developed this into further stunning work.

It is easy to keep doing things the way they have always been done.

It isn’t so easy walking a path less travelled, let alone an altogether new path. Imagination is coached out of us as children, I’d contend, as soon as we end up at school. Real imagination, the ability to have an idea and work it through without fear of failure or risk or blame, is one of the urgent workplace challenges of recent times.

What people like Janet show us is that great satisfaction and reward can be the result if you do. And the benefit on other people you take with you could be significant too.

When viewed in conjunction with a recent blog post on entreprenuerism, it starts to get really exciting, doesn’t it?

Note to RSS/subscribers: you might need to visit the blog site to view the embedded video.


The wall of knowledge

Kudos to Heidi Munc and Derren Hermann at Nationwide for this inspired piece of creative thinking, reminding us of the simplicity of using the open space we have as a facilitator for collaborative thinking.

I think every business would benefit from having a Wall of Knowledge. What do you think?


The power of free-to-use Google Docs

My love in with Google continues this week, as does this month’s unofficial theme of creativity, with this quite stunning You Tube video created as part of last year’s Google Demo Slam initiative. Demo Slam was conceived to show off the versatility and creativity that cloud sourced Google Docs offers. Check it out.



Five ways to think more creatively about your marketing

Whether you are in the creative business, have a team to motivate or customers to provide creative solutions for, thinking creatively is essential.

But a longer than usual holiday period, coupled with short days, miserable weather and clients and customers slow to get off the mark can all contribute to quickly  stagnating creative thinking.

In the constantly switched on world, how can we create time and space for ourselves to think creatively about the challenges we face and break the cycle of thinking inside the box?

Here are five techniques that I use, maybe they will be useful to you.

1. Upset your daily / weekly routine: Once a week take a different route, look out the window. Take the train or bus rather than the car. If you can, walk. Look at the billboards, bus stops and read the local free paper. The objective is to come off ‘autopilot’ and take in the creative stimulus around you.

2. Use your time more efficiently: Take your lunch hour and use it productively. Set up a Google Reader account, sign up for some blogs and news feeds related to your sector, your speciality and your interests. Or join some Linkedin groups and join the discussions. Or scan content on YouTube or Slideshare. The point of these activities are to open yourself up to available free content and influence.

3. Read something new: Is there anything you don’t understand or want to understand in more detail? Learning stimulates the grey matter and can be powerful in equipping you with greater capacity to think more creatively in the future. Hit the Amazon bestseller list – it doesn’t have to be a business or self help book, but they might be a good start. The reason to consider this is to learn from others.

4. Handle meetings differently: Creative brainstorms can actually inhibit creative thinking. Why? Dull, uninspiring boardrooms are not generally conducive to free flowing ideas, time pressures are usually set, and the loudest or most senior people in the room usually dominate the discussion. Break these conventions be setting an agenda, dishing out the brief in advance, relocating the meeting to a coffee shop, park, museum, the client’s offices and encouraging the involvement of all not the will of the chairperson. The reason for going to these lengths is to achieve creative ‘breakthrough’.

5. Look at brands you like and learn from them: Who is to say that b2b packaging companies, food service or building product manufacturers can’t learn from high profile b2b, b2c or fmtg brands? That professional services businesses can’t learn from coffee chains? What do the brands you trust do well? How do they treat you, how do they communicate, how do they encourage you to engage further and deeper?

Which ever way you view it, creativity is a key differentiator, and the ability to quickly and decisively tackle complicated communications challenges demands creative thinking.

What do you think?

Image MessageMarketing

Disruptive innovation

A thoughtful piece penned by @James Trezona on the Management Today website calls for businesses to tear up the rule book and accept that the new economy and new technologies demand a new way of working and a different approach to innovation.

Trezona contends that rather than risking organisational anarchy, disruptive thinking calls for a root and branch review of systems and processes and accepted thinking, in order to breakthrough and come up with something novel. Often this can lead to more creative, more efficient and more effective solutions.

Check out the post at Management Today and have your say.

Image Science Progress