Creativity is an often misunderstood concept, particularly in the realm of business. Some business owners and managers think that as long as all their employees do their job, they can organize a few FGDs every now and then, and someone comes up with a good idea every now and then, that’s enough creativity to be used in the business. It’s hard to quantify the impact the lack of creativity has in business, especially in terms of lost opportunities.
But lack of creativity can make or break a business. A lot of ado is made of companies like Nintendo and Apple, who had visionaries like Miyamoto and Jobs at the helm, but as a cautionary tale to doubters, you can share the story of EMAP, or East Midland Allied Press, as told by one of their former executives, HuffPo UK contributor Colin Morrison.
The Case of a Media Conglomerate
Once a media conglomerate that excelled in acquiring magazines, radio stations and trade journals, EMAP seemed to benefit most not from the actual creative content of their products, but from the creative conflict between CEO Robin Miller and Group Managing Director Robert Arculus. Without telling too much of the story, the loss of this tension following Arculus’ departure from the company in 1997 heralded the beginning of some irredeemably bad business decisions.
This and their inability to adapt to a changing marketplace led to their eventual failure and eventual sale to private equity. Even their most famous creation, FHM Magazine, is a shadow of its former self in the U.K.
The nature of creativity is such that it has to be integrated in existing business and managerial processes in counterintuitive ways. Creativity isn’t conveniently wrapped up in a schedule, or a budget allocation or deadline, although of course practical considerations make it so that we try to tie it up under these constraints. Truly creative thinking involves taking managed risks, perhaps even defying conventional wisdom, but many know this as a necessary step.
Studies such as this one show that people in business, industry and other fields have an unconscious bias against creativity. It won’t be until you overcome this bias that you can learn to nurture true high-risk, high reward, out-of-the-box thinking that can bring you more success than overprotectionist, ‘safe’ business policies. If you need a starting point, however, the first thing you need to do is to drop the fear of being wrong and making mistakes.Post Image Info: Five-Way Portrait of Marcel Duchamp, 1917