I had the privilege of being the judge this year for the LCT Operator of the Year Awards. My judging category was “Marketing and Innovative Services.” I regret that I did not extrapolate all the entrants’ ideas into one mega article for “How to Be Creative.” The things people in this industry are accomplishing are simply awesome.
Last month I was listening to NPR and the discussion about the drop in Apple stock. Mario Armstrong, the morning tech correspondent, had this to say about it: “With the passing of Steve Jobs, the fundamental problem at Apple — which can be said for all companies — is that there is a clear lack of creativity happening, and when creativity stops, value and pricing are compromised.”
Creativity isn’t just associated with art. It does not equal wild and crazy. It doesn’t equal foolishness. When you hear “out of the box thinking,” that’s the call to creativity. It’s coming up with a new approach. It’s daring to think differently. After all, isn’t that what we’re paid to do? If everyone has the same view, the same ideas, the same approach, the same results, then why are all of us still here?
I believe the lack of creativity is slowly killing businesses in this country and could befall this industry if we aren’t mindful. It’s what drives everything to a commodity price-driven market. Without creative thinking, how will the engineering team discover the next breakthrough product? How will the marketing team break out and stand above a crowded marketplace? Creativity isn’t solely the realm of designers and ad reps.
Beethoven would try as many as 70 different versions of a musical phrase before settling on the right one. But other great ideas seem to come out of the blue. Bob Dylan, for example, came up with the lyrics to the chorus for “Like a Rolling Stone” soon after telling his manager that he was creatively exhausted and ready to bail from the music industry. After going to an isolated cabin, Dylan got an uncontrollable urge to write and spilled out his thoughts in dozens of pages — including the lyrics to the iconic song.
To succeed in business is to be creative. Growth in business demands creativity. That is what will separate you from the competition. As humans we’re trained to only notice what’s different in our environment; in other words, being different is the best way to raise awareness. The lack of creativity across the board is hurting your brand. It’s hurting your profits and your employees. Creativity isn’t a special gift — we’re all born with it. It never leaves; it’s just hiding. Look for ways you can let the two-year-old inside come out and play.