Is Your Company Creative Enough to Survive Disruption?

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is a process; it’s not random.
— Ken Robinson

The issue of creativity will determine whether or not your company will survive or become a statistic. Trying to create an environment that is conducive to creativity, both for yourself and your teams will ultimately become a top priority for your company. How can your team become more creative?

Chess is a great game to learn lessons. To win at chess, you must continually analyse your behaviours and the other side's behaviours. You must use time-outs to review and evaluate what the next moves are for all concerned. However, as the world is changing and becoming more disruptive and volatile a better game would be three person chess (www.3manchess.com). This chess board accommodates three players, without compromising any of the rules, strategies or competitive challenges that make chess the best board game in the world.

How can you apply the lessons from chess to the need to be creative in business?

In April 2015, Garry Kasparov, who was the world's top chess player for 20 years, was interviewed by Harvard Business Review (HBR). They asked him about his loss to IBM's Deep Blue computer and his comments were revealing:

"Everybody has access to the same computers, so, I think the brute force of calculation isn't enough, human intuition is an integral part of successful decision-making too. Young players need to hear the greats of the past explain the nature of the game, the rationale of openings, the ideas behind the moves. They can't learn by just looking at the screen!"

Chess (no matter how many players) is great because it forces the player to use the whole brain, both sides, left and right. The logical side and the creative side - a problem-solving approach. 

To be creative with a B2B customer you need to find creative solutions to their problems. The harder the problem, the greater the value you can build with your solution, and this becomes your competitive edge. The simpler the problem, the easier it is for your competitors to copy and move you into becoming a commodity. Your world is often changing faster than you or your teams can cope with.

Disruption is everywhere, it is impacting every business and every industry in the B2B world. Artificial Intelligence (AI), digitisation, drones and robotics are changing how and where you work. You used to look over your shoulder and worry about new talent, soon it will be a robot eyeing your corner office.

To be creative and collaborative you need to ask more questions and listen intently to the answers, looking to use this information to help you find solutions and innovations.

Creative solution from history:

In days long gone, small villages in Europe sometimes fell victim to strange plagues. One particular plague left its victims in a death like coma and death normally followed some 24 hours later. It was only after a couple of lucky townsfolk magically recovered while they were awaiting burial that the villagers realised with horror that they had no doubt buried a few victims alive. 

The villagers held a conference. What were they going to do?

Thankfully, the majority decided it was best to put food and water in the coffin, allowing time before the burial, so that if the victims were still alive, at least they would survive. This creative solution was the classic win/win scenario for everyone (especially for the person in the coffin).

But the plan did not meet with universal approval. The villagers were poor, and some objected, suggesting a cheaper solution. A classic 'quick-fix' in fact. Why not, they suggested, implant a foot-long stake in every coffin lid directly over the victim's heart? Once they closed the coffin lid - no more worries! The plague victim had no chance of being buried alive.

So, what is creativity? 

The ability to generate new ideas. This enables parties to generate solutions that expand the value. A common view is that creativity is an innate talent that can't be taught, so most companies seek out creatively minded employees rather than fostering innovation throughout the workforce

Creative thinking - in terms of idea creativity - is not a mystical talent. It is a skill that can be practiced and nurtured.
— Edward de Bono

Creative solution recently:

In 1975, Steve Sasson, a Kodak engineer invented the first digital camera. Kodak executive's response to filmless photography was 'that's cute, but don't tell anyone about it'.

So, in the late 70's and 80's the inability of Kodak's senior management to sense future of digital meant that all subsequent decisions were not based on creative design or solving impossible problems, but on their cash-cow, film.

Kodak had market intelligence about it's changing paradigm but stuck to what was making them comfortable and lots of money. Maintaining the status quo rather than embracing the creative future that was theirs!

Kodak is not alone. In industries all over the world, the pace of change is accelerating. One of the immediate effects that you will notice is that your customer's expectations rise: increasingly, they seem to want more for less. The same changes you face your customers are also facing. These changes are creating problems and opportunities for your customers that they can't solve alone. 

If you are looking to stretch your teams thinking and use reason and imagination to innovate and deliver fresh solutions and create more value, try: Rapid Results from Teams.

Is your organisation creative enough to survive in this disruptive and volatile B2B world?