The Power of Creative Capability for Business Success

“I’m just not creative.” Lots of people say that. But if you’re a business owner or a company leader, you better get creative. Why?

“Creativity is essential in business because it’s a differentiator,” according to Tucker Marion, an associate professor at Northeastern University’s School of Business.

Yet, here’s the curious thing. Even though over 80% of executives agree that companies benefit from creativity, only about 60% of them consider their companies “creative.”

Creativity Drives Business Success

What’s the tangible benefit of creativity? Increased revenue, a commanding market leadership position, and higher market share than one’s competitors are the positive business outcomes of creative companies. Plus, creativity has been ranked the number one factor in future business success.

The facts and figures presented here are based on a research by Forrester Consulting. And the research certainly suggests that attention to creativity in your business has a payback.

I’ve always said it’s important to reflect on your service and product offerings every single year. If you haven’t creatively upgraded, revamped, or revised your lineup in some way, nearly every year, you’re in danger of becoming obsolete. Creativity doesn’t just impact your revenue. It’s actually a necessity for long-term business success.

So, what are you doing to foster creativity within yourself or for your organization?

Creative Capability Can Be Developed

Many factors effect creativity in the workplace. People, place, and process are important elements that contribute to or detract from keeping the creative juices flowing.

Let’s talk about place first. One’s environment can be shaped to encourage and inspire creative effort. From a formal reward system, to the structure of the workday, to allocated time off to refresh and recharge, companies can actually create an environment conducive to the creative process. For those who do it best, it clearly becomes a competitive differentiator that attracts and retains talent for your business.

Your internal processes also advance or stifle creativity. How do you invite others’ viewpoints to the planning table? What new and better processes have you introduced to make your business run smoother and more profitably? Do you welcome and encourage exploration of trends and new technology to stay on the cutting edge of business resources? Do you talk “creativity?” Do you use internal methods to kickstart creativity in everyone? You might be surprised how easy it is to turn on the engine of creativity in yourself and team members. Continue reading for a fun idea about how to do it.

People Inspire Creativity

Observe the people around you. Are you all alike? What differences do you see? Whether you have employees or work with vendors and suppliers, look for differences in viewpoints, cultural backgrounds, and skill sets. Diversity in people inspires creativity which can guide and shape your future.

Behavioral preferences illustrate diversity within people by categorizing the way one approaches their work. You or your support team may be fast or moderately paced. The job gets done by focusing on results or working with others, or some combination of both. There are many avenues to successful outcomes, so welcome a difference of behavioral preferences and how the work gets done.

The shortest path to a solution is not always the most ideal path for accomplishing a task. It may actually omit creative thought and effort that uncovers a different, more effective approach. When you surround yourself with diverse people, the outcomes will always be more creative, and most likely better, than if you define your solutions in isolation.

Exercise Your Creative Capability

You never know where ideas will appear for exercising creative capability. The other day I was throwing out a favorite beach bag. It was a heavy canvas bag with bold, horizontal pink and orange stripes on it. It had extra heavy rope handles and a long, zippered top. The size was perfect for two large beach towels and snacks. The bag has travelled with me to many wonderful seaside locations for years. I hated to part with it.

I decided to look at the label to see if I could find the bag online. The label said AphOrism. I thought, “What an odd vendor name” and decided to see if I could locate the vendor online. I couldn’t find the bag or the vendor online. It appears the company doesn’t exist anymore. However, that led me to focus further on the word.

Aphorisms are pithy observations which contain a general truth. They’re also defined as concise statements of a principle in any science. A good aphorism is memorable. They often contain a striking metaphor that gives them staying power. The best aphorisms are generalized and applicable to a variety of situations, which makes them particularly noteworthy.

Here are examples of some familiar aphorisms:

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” – Plato, Athenian Philosopher

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” – Mark Twain, American Writer

“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.” – John Paul Getty, American Oil Tycoon

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you have only one idea.” – Emile Auguste Chartier, French Philosopher

“Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch, American Businessman/CEO of General Electric

So, let’s exercise your creativity.

Create Your Own Aphorism

Here are five guidelines for this exercise, according to James Geary, author of Geary’s Guide to the Worlds’ Greatest Aphorists.” 1) They must be brief to make them memorable. 2) They must be definitive and tell it like it is. 3) They must be personal with you as the author. 4) They need a twist to make them provocative (psychological, linguistic, or humorous). 5) They must be philosophical and make you think.

With these guidelines in mind, what pithy observations do you have that contain a general truth? Some people have a knack for seeing things and verbalizing them in fun, funny, and creative ways. My friend, Lori, does this all the time, in the moment. It’s entertaining and makes me laugh. Others struggle to make those connections either because they aren’t observant or they don’t make the connection from pictures to words. You have to move from the visual to the verbal aspect of your observation.

A sense of curiosity can assist you in this exercise, too. Have interest, be inquisitive, use your imagination. Be curious about the things around you. Have a desire and a thirst for knowledge.

Capture a statement or principle in writing and share with others because of its value or worth. Maybe you can even tie a metaphor or comparison to it.

Now, some of you will gloss over this exercise and discard the idea before even trying it. Others will take on the challenge. I encourage you to take on the challenge. Why? Because “one must exercise their creativity to improve their creativity, or you will paint yourself into a colorless corner.” Oh my gosh! I think I just created an aphorism. “One must exercise their creativity to improve their creativity, or you will paint yourself into a colorless corner.” I don’t think any business owner wants to find themselves in a colorless corner!

And please remember, you get a tangible business benefit from honing your creative capability including increased revenue or higher market share. That’s why creativity has been ranked the number one factor in future business success.

What new products or services will you offer in the year to come? What new brand or image might you introduce? How can you serve your clients and customers in new or different ways? What will you do to be on the cutting edge of your industry? How will all this differentiate you to be the business competitors strive to be?

Send me your aphorisms! I’ll publish them here and give you attribution. It’s a great way to showcase your creativity and your business.

Photo credit: Alice Dietrich on Unsplash

Copyright 2020. Joanne Cumiskey. Joanne works with small business owners who want to grow and revitalize their companies and leaders who want to leave a legacy of success. She can be reached via:

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