Think! It is time to change the way you think when you plan, design and solve problems which now surrounds us on all sides seemingly intractable and unsolvable, threatening to overtake us.
The fact is, that the real obstacle to overcome problems is not the problem itself but rather the approach to its solution! That is where creativity comes in.
Common Questions asked Creativity and Innovation:
Q : Is creativity searching for problems in a solution? You then get an effective and efficient solution rather than an immediate solution. How do you define creativity and compare and contrast it with innovation?
A : Creativity is not only being imaginative or innovative but ‘creating’ what you imagine. Innovation deals with “bringing in new methods and ideas resulting in required changes leading to successful innovation.” Creativity training at IBM, whose motto is “Think” resulted in producing the largest number of patented inventions. What you said about searching for a problem in a solution is right. In fact during my sessions, I found participants were never satisfied with any immediate solutions since no solution can be the best for all time. The Olympic motto “Higher, faster, stronger” should be held by every organisation. Sometimes the enemy of an extraordinary idea can be a good one. You develop a single minded infatuation with that idea, just because you thought of it first.
Q : You know the Cadbury Schewepps buy out story. Whatever feelings it created on the workers of both Coke and Cadbury’s, you along with two other consultants were able to boost up the morale. Can you give us the feedback now that it is almost four months after of the incident? Any guess work as to why such a thing could not be done in ANZ Grindlays, when they give the “Friday Pink” chit to its employees particularly when they have an excellent recruitment system! Don’t you feel that the ‘creativity’ feeling should start at the induction training stage itself!
A : My interaction, I understand, has helped the company to deal with the cycle of denial / anger/ bargaining/ acceptance that goes with any major survival threatening event. We develop multi-disciplinary teams with strategies to deal with merger and acquisition, with the result that the team still remains highly motivated. This provides real value to Coke. The unfortunate part, even in highly professionally managed companies, in that the human aspects, their feelings and attitudes towards merger and acquisition are not considered, affecting financial results even if the human costs are ignored.
There is the story of a multi-national soft drink company (in Africa) while going in for merger and acquisition, facing the situation of a disgruntled employee cutting off his hand and blending this blood with about 1000 bottles of concentrate there he confessed that he has Aids! This was the emotional aspect. We hear that in a number of countries the merger and acquisition of Cadbury Scheweppes is stalled by law suits filed by employees. Such events can be overcome if the bottom line is assured of protection and proper transition strategies using creative solutions developed by joint teams drawn from both companies.
Q : How does creativity differ from motivation? How do you inspire creativity?
A : My design for creative organisation falls under two sections. First, implementing a blue print for developing a creative field. This field results in developing a team climate conductive to creativity. Second, install the tools of creativity. A creative field would encompass the wider concepts of group synergy also.
Q : The marketing theme is “rolling stone gathers momentum”. Our culture dictates “rolling stone gathers no mass”! Where does creativity come in here? (You have changed a number of jobs!)
A : One should not ‘change’ without a clear life time goal. changes which help one achieve core purpose alone can help. Changes which are focused only on material benefits will surely cause unhappiness. That is my personal experience. Self-actualisation, should be the ultimate core purpose and goal worth pursuing. I believe in living life with a long term perspective.
Q : Your views on customers sounds like “let not people come to you but go to people”. Is that not direct marketing according to Bob Stone. What you seem to profess is the “Amway or Tupperware theory”. Don’t you think that “customer delight” is the best for customer loyalty! Will not “Creativity” create unnecessary competitiveness and jealousy particularly at a time when we are losing our values!
A : I work with a progrmme called TCC – Tapping Customer Creativity. The customer voice should be incorporated into product design. If this is done the products sell themselves. an example of TCC which I designed successfully for a cargo company would explain this.
We are a Cargo company and we would like to develop a niche market, where others will find it difficult to compete.
The best people to advise us will be our customers. We would like to ask leather merchants who are our customers to advise on how to enlist more clients in the trade.
We conduct a (TCC) Tapping Customer Creativity – a two day programme for the senior officials and leather merchants.
1. A special design makes the product more attractive to leather merchants. An office is et up in the middle of leather belt.
2. The office is run by an executive who knows the trade.
3. A special seminar is organised by experts on packaging to help reduce the problem of rejections by foreign buyers of garments.
4. The company offers help with customs clearance.
Q : Now tell us something about the mathematics of creativity and how does the arithmetic work in our Indian situation.
A : Mathematics and logic sound like the opposite of creativity. I have developed a mental thinking tool kit which makes creativity on demand possible. Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, one can get ideas when required. This brings cretainty to the uncertain business. I feel, from my experience with some Asian companies, that Indian companies will have no handicap.
Creativity never creates jealousy as I could see from my own experience. On the contrary it results in joyful group work and team-bonding. The two thinking tools will prove my conviction.
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