Thursday, August 25

Supply-Side Creativity







My day job at the moment is in something very close to sales. As such, I spend a lot of time with (or preparing to be with) clients.

As you might expect, I've been applying creative thinking to this client work.  Usually that's been beneficial, but sometimes not.  And only today did it dawn on me why not ...

Supplying creative thinking really should be something that clients appreciate. It's a relatively scarce skill, at least in my industry, and that's what makes it valuable.   But too often it's rebuffed.  Here's what I think's going on:

1. Sometimes I've failed to present my 'Creativity Licence' in advance.  My interlocutor is receptive to new ideas, but is expecting something rather different from me, and can't adjust away from a preconceived agenda during our short time together.

2. Sometimes I choose an audience which has no licence to receive or process creativity.  Typically this means I've agreed to meet someone with rather a specific remit, whose only real focus is to shave costs and polish the quality of perfectly serviceable machinery. This is an audience for continuous improvement, not for disruption.

3. Sometimes I'm allowing a moderator to surpress creativity.  Three can be crowd sometimes, even in the collective, collaborative world of innovation.  Abdul's outlandish idea has huge potential, which strikes a chord with Belinda.  But Charlie's in the room too, and when he catches Belinda's eye momentarily she withdraws from the idea in her determination to appear grounded and rational.  The greenhouse has smashed, and the sapling withers.

I need to try harder to:
  • Wear my Creator's Licence on my sleeve
  • Carry some spare licences around with me to loan out to clients
  • Avoid meeting people who aren't interested in borrowing one!

(Either that, or revert to purely sequential, logical working again, and miss out on all the fun and fury!)

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