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Hacking creativity in business

Deepa Subramanian
20th Feb 2017
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Creativity is rarely on the agenda of management plans but if you ask me, it is the heart of any business.

The challenge, however, has been the inability to measure creativity in both quantitative and qualitative terms and therefore, the safe option was to omit it from the business plan.

I never refrain from comparing my entrepreneurial days with my corporate days, simply to soak in the fresh air that the word “entrepreneur” is engulfed in. It lets you breathe freely. It lets your creative cells grow.

Entrepreneurs are not necessarily business people.

Credit : Shutterstock

They are people with sparks and bright flashes of ideas which keep popping up in their heads 24/7. An entrepreneur doesn’t let an idea remain an idea…he or she dreams the whole dream starting from the execution till the finished product has been achieved…

In that brief spark or flash, the commercials don’t exist…Not for a moment do they come into play …The focus is completely on the execution of the idea and marvelling at that moment.

At the next level, the impact of monetising the idea comes into play…The entrepreneur then sets on his mission and will move heaven and earth to turn the idea into reality.

The creativity does not die with the first stage…In fact, it takes on a higher role at the second stage of execution…The entrepreneur now gets completely involved in the idea fiercely and passionately…He may delegate odd jobs to people but the core is in his and his hands alone, till the product of his desire takes shape and is born.

I read somewhere that creative people who are hired to market businesses are not ordinary people. Maurice Saatchi, Executive Director of M&C Saatchi, was quoted as saying that they are on par with Picasso, Tolstoy, Beethoven, and Bach. Their contribution to the business is a rare genius because of their ability to touch the right chord.

I don’t essentially see myself as a business person…I am first a creative person and only then I get into the business dynamics. But I firmly believe that if that aspect of creativity didn’t exist in me, I would have failed miserably as an entrepreneur.

So the whole essence of entrepreneurship lies in creativity and ideas.

1.Be in the moment

Exceptional ideas are believed to be the products of a spark of brilliance or a stroke of blind luck. They are neither. Ideas appear by chance only when people are looking for them. It does not happen to people who are not curious or interested in searching for ideas or possibilities.

The mind is your universe…Be alone — that is the secret of invention, that’s when the ideas are born. Originality thrives in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. While we get overly connected with what is going on around us, it sometimes makes sense to stop for a second and watch the moment you are in. It gives a fantastic perspective of things…When the mind is free, creative ideas have no bound.

Moments are momentary…snatch them before they become other moments …capture the thought before it leaves the mind…write it down instantly.

2.Ideas are not the end, the drive to execute ideas is the beginning of the end

Ideas are worthless by themselves. The value of an idea is proportionate to its success. Therefore, the task of execution begins with the ability to distinguish a good idea from a bad one.

Not all ideas are worthy of execution.

It is not necessary to execute an idea immediately. It could be at a later date, when the time is right.

My idea to start a creative entity became a reality after nearly a decade...

Any thought — big, small, or negligible — can be noted down when it enters the mind.

The execution of the idea, however, can be when the time is right.

3.Creative ideas are not born over a cup of coffee

When you wish to get inspired, would you want to ponder over it over a cup of coffee? Unfortunately, that doesn’t work all the time…Ideas are born instinctively, without a warning, sometimes even without the realisation that it is, in fact, a great idea.

Don’t be oblivious to your daily surroundings; look around as if you are visiting that place for the first time. It can have something new in store for you.

For example, I didn’t realise the space where I was standing every day had the potential to be a gallery. The space on the eleventh floor of a landmark building with a spectacular view was used as my administrative office while the large balcony overlooking the city was used as a staff lunch area for a long time…While I was space hunting for the gallery, it just occurred to me as a flash when I looked at the same space with a new pair of eyes.

I was oblivious to it until I revisited it with a new perspective, as if seeing it for the first time.

4.Try unconventional ideas —it’s worth the risk

Taking the unconventional route encompasses creativity …the path is less taken, so be prepared to be the first lonely person taking that road…but the risk is worth the trouble.

The owner of a restaurant was put in a fix when the-then President of India Giani Zail Singh, asked for a glass of lassi. Unfortunately, the mixer had broken down that day. They couldn’t tell the president that they were unable to serve lassi. So the owner himself went into the kitchen, placed several tables on top of one another, climbed to the top of the table, and poured the buttermilk from a height to the floor to make a frothy lassi. The president asked for another glass of what he described as one of the best lassis he had ever tasted.

5.Make an obstacle an opportunity to create a new idea

Reached a roadblock? An excellent opportunity to show yourself your creative genius. Think of the million alternate ways of approaching the issue…Even a single success at nailing the issue can leave you fearless of any more daunting issues.

An urgent money transfer had to be made and the employee returned with “I wasn’t able to reach the bank because the road was blocked…So the employer said, “Is that why you came back? Did you know there are at least four other ways to reach the destination — did you try any of them? Or did you try digging a hole underground to reach that road? In the meantime, did you check for any helicopter services?

I think the employee got the idea. He came back with the job done.

 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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