Thursday, July 18, 2013

Want to Stay In Business? Stay Creative

Businesses now more than ever need to be perpetually creative in order to stay in business. The Internet and globalization together have contributed to this situation. Thus, it is important that businesses foster as much creative intelligence in their businesses as possible. In Creative Intelligence, Bruce Nussbaum lays out what he calls the five competencies of creative intelligence:

1. Knowledge Mining
2. Framing
3. Playing
5. Pivoting

The last one is the movement from creating to making, which emphasizes the fact that having a great idea isn't enough. You have to follow up on that great idea and actually make something.

All of these are features of every great artist who has ever existed. Great poets have read the great poets, and even memorized many of their poems. All artists engage in framing. Art is play (a nonserious thing done seriously). And the artist has to move from conception to making, and actually make the work. The same is true in business. You have to know the history of your field -- and not just of your field, but of many other fields, related and unrelated. You cannot know where a great idea may come from. But it will not come from an ignorance of the history of your area of business.

Artists are particularly good at all of the areas listed. One could make the argument that every team whose purpose is to be creative really needs a poet, a playwright, a painter, a sculptor, a musician, etc. on their team to keep the team thinking as truly creative people think, and to keep the moving on to turning the ideas into things. Businesses who do not hire creative consultants -- whether as outside consultants or by direct hire -- are going to be at a disadvantage to those businesses that figure out they need such people.

Think about how people in theater -- playwrights, directors, and actors in particular -- can provide a creative team with considerable creative input when it comes to "framing," given the three kinds of framing:

1. Narrative Framing, or "how we interpret the world" (35)
2. Engagement Framing, or "how we interact with each other" (35)
3. What-If Framing, or "how we imagine the unthinkable to innovate beyond our wildest dreams" (35)

Every artist engages in What-If Framing. That's what they all do. It's the very soul of being an artist.

Directors and actors would be particularly adept at helping with Engagement Framing, as that is, in many ways, their main area of expertise.

And playwrights, novelists, short story writers, etc. would certainly be able to help a business with their Narrative Framing, helping a business to tell the best story to get the most business form the most people.

The missing piece in most businesses is the presence of creative consultants. If you want to keep in business, you have to keep creative.

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