Creative thinking can lead organisations out of inertia
As CEO’s write up their wish lists for the New Year, many are asking for more creativity in their businesses. For much of the past couple of decades, the prime focus of many big companies has been increasing shareholder value. The driving force to deliver more of this – every 3 months, year after year – has been driven by cost optimisation. The career ladder to the C-suite has been fuelled by financial prowess. Creativity became something negative – creative accounting was frowned at. As organisations have become more efficient, the skills to cut, to manage and to control have risen above those to think differently, to innovate and to take risk. The bigger organisations have become safer & move at glacial speed when it comes to change. Silos have reared up and are often measured and advised in isolation.
Creativity is not an easy KPI to develop and spread evenly amongst these separate silos. What’s needed is creativity – to develop new business models, new products, new offers, new customer understanding & new channels to deliver new experiences. But there is one place that creativity still exists – in company brands.
One thing that has always elevated brand thinking is creativity. The best brands seamlessly combine right & left brained thinking to meld the logical and strategic inputs into creativity-inspired solutions. Brand thinking however doesn’t always reach the boardroom – it is still thought of as something that is most effective outside of the company – in the form of advertising campaigns and corporate identity. This means brand creativity is often left to execute strategy rather than help create and shape the strategy. Breaking this paradigm and bringing in unexpected advisors to a boardroom can result in surprisingly positive initiatives. Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Brand thinking and the spirit of creativity can unleash many new internal projects. Using brand led advisors can help in realigning the internal organisation. They can help to rearticulate CEO visions and plans. They can help transform a culture of an organisation to refocus positively to meet those visions. Creativity can lead to test new initiatives without committing to a(nother) fundamental change program. Brand led creativity can help engage all the company stakeholders and develop real value inside the organisation. They can help form small cross disciplined teams to collaborate, to quickly develop, test and seed different ideas. A few of these can break the inertia that a company faces when trying to accommodate the new using the old structure and processes.
While pure play creative people sit outside a company in agencies, studios, many are using their skills to help CEOs, CFOs & COOs to think differently. Creative thinkers naturally like to collaborate. They enjoy looking at solving old problems with a new approach.
Once these small initiatives are undertaken, and those that succeed are shared among more staff and managers, so engaging more people in doing new things inside a company, the brand can shape the external relationship with customers and suppliers. This can kick start a different experience to allow the brand to empower further creativity that can drive much needed growth.
So brand thinking can bring creativity early to the Boardroom and into the internal organisation. Business creativity will help unleash talent throughout the Organisation and add a positivity to a company culture that has been dampened by years of cuts and fear of yet more as the economy slows further. A brand mentor can be as powerful creative tool for a CEO and can be used to start new internal initiatives to start the New Year off positively.