Why should business value creativity?

creativity, business, strategies and approaches, implementation

Creativity is a word which can be interpreted in many ways. Traditionally considered to be personal, inborn, individual, specialized and about inventing something, Erica McWilliam’s ‘old creativity’, it’s now acknowledged to be collaborative, learnable, community based, cross or multi-disciplinary and about ideas and making connections. Unsurprisingly, this reflects the way most of us work best.

In business, creativity has come to mean a process that leads to novel exploitable outcomes – Tim Brown’s ‘design thinking’, ‘matching people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and viable as a business strategy’. But much will be lost if we only think of it like this. Many great ideas arose from directionless idle curiosity, and, as Rick Poyner has pointed out, this ignores the importance of culturally connecting with the audience.

Giovanni Schiuma argues that the innovation, thinking patterns and emotional intelligence offered by the arts can allow speculation, insight and foresight, flexible response, openness to possibilities and change, and challenge ingrained ways of thinking. Industry knows that it takes fresh thinking and innovation to stay ahead in a global market. Governments are looking to the creative industries to drive their economies out of recession. Many business institutions understand the need for this creative dimension but don’t know how to achieve it!

This paper outlines strategies for the assimilation of creative practice in business gained by the authors’ experience introducing a creative dimension across a variety of business related disciplines aimed at providing the attributes required to a change attitudes to creativity, and gain the benefits it offers. It demonstrates strategies to overcome inhibitors such as aversion to risk or the unexpected, the inertia of familiarity and proven outcomes, and management and workplace expectations that often frustrate the very creative possibilities that a business may need to survive and thrive during increasingly complex changing times.


Stuart Gluth


Ron Corso