What do modeling, design, finance, auto, shoes and food have in common?
That’s right, they are all creative businesses.
A Familiar Story
When I was a kid I loved to draw. When I had to write a book report, I would finish writing in a couple days and then spend at least a week designing and creating a cover. Making a cover was never even part of the assignment.
Somewhere along the way, things like drawing, writing and music took a back seat to getting good grades in the “important” subjects, and sports. Better said, I came to believe those silly creative things belonged in the back seat, so I put them there.
By the time college rolled around I, like most people, learned to believe I wasn’t creative.
Not only do I think it wrong to believe that, but I think it’s dangerous. Especially for adults.
Here are five areas of every business where creativity is required to build a valuable organization.
- Design: it isn’t just about graphics and visual design, it’s also about solving problems for customers. What will blow them away? How do you take their needs and turn out a solution? How do you interact with production to make an idea a reality? How do you design in a competitive advantage, whether it’s quality, durability, accuracy, etc?
- Production: finding better processes to do things. How can it be produced quicker or cheaper? How can your product of service add to the customer experience? Production requires creativity for manufacturers, service, software and healthcare, among others.
- Sales: selling has become all about pitching, not enough listening, but it’s no longer good enough to just talk about yourself. You shouldn’t be there to convince a client she needs what you have. You are there to find out what she needs and create something that meets her need. Assuming you really believe the product or service can help, it’s an art to figure out how to show them and why. What stories can be told?
- Support Functions: when you start out in these areas you’re learning the fundamentals. You’re learning how to answer the phone, how to accurately record numbers, how to use systems. But ultimately these supporting functions require creativity too. Answering the phones properly can help customers fall in love with your company. Accounting staff should be out of their seats more than any other function, interacting with the entire business.
- Leadership: how do you get people to do all this stuff? How do you create an environment where results and creativity are valued, where people can generate amazing ideas and have the support to make it happen? How do you tell bigger stories to inspire your team. Creativity is required to see opportunities that no one else sees and make them happen. It’s even more difficult to convince your team to make them happen. Still, even more difficult, getting other people to see things that no one else sees and allowing them to make them happen.
Creativity Transcends All Industries
While researching this topic I came across the C2-MTL 2013 conference. Check out the diversity of this roster.
I also have to thank Mitch Joel from the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast (Episode #338) for the inspiration for this podcast.
Resources Mentioned In The Podcast
- Article: Help Cleveland Succeed With 30 Minutes a Month
- CollegeNow Greater Cleveland Mentoring Program
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