Not in my business

A while ago I had an interesting conversation with a medical student on the topic of workmanship and creativity.

“I fix broken hearts” he said while introducing himself to me. When he saw the puzzled look on my face, he smiled and explained that he worked as a cardiac surgeon. “I consider myself creative.” He continued. “However, my mother thinks I’m not. Because I don’t paint landscapes on canvasses, like she does…”

This little anecdote says it all. There are still many persistent misconceptions on the topic of creativity.

We often hear people say things like: “I love coming up with creative ideas. However, I don’t think that I can use this in my work. In my everyday job there is not a lot of room for creativity. My profession just isn’t suited for creative thinking.”

Obviously that’s nonsense.

While working in marketing and advertising I learned that creative jobs do not exist. There are only creative people doing their jobs.

It doesn’t matter what business you are in, you can always use creative thinking. Every organisation has challenges that can’t be solved with conventional thinking. When the traditional methods no longer suffice you’ll have to get creative. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a teacher, a manager, a farmer, a CEO or a student. Creativity is accessible to everybody and useful to anyone. It doesn’t matter who you are and it doesn’t matter what you do.

At HatRabbits we make a distinction between ‘artistic creativity’ (the painting mother) and ‘business creativity’ (business ideas that create value – for example: a surgeon that thinks about new ways to improve his procedures).

Business creativity can be used to improve an existing product, process or service; to solve a problem and to look for business opportunities. Of course a grey area exists. Sometimes there is overlap between the fields. We just use them to explain that business creativity can be applied in many different situations.

Problem Solving
Finding a solution is easy. Discovering a smart and unique way to solve a problem is more challenging. Using creative thinking for problem solving is all about establishing an original, elegant and sustainable solution. By understanding the basic principles behind creativity you’ll be able to challenge yourself to look beyond the obvious and to find truly remarkable solutions.

Improving & Optimising
Even when there is no direct problem that needs to be solved, creative thinking is valuable. There is always a better idea and anything can be improved. For instance, you can make your services smarter, your production process less costly or your systems more efficient.

Opportunity Seeking
Like Jack London once said: “You Can’t Wait for Inspiration. You Have To Go After It With a Club”. The same applies for chances. Everything can and should be treated as an opportunity. Creative people are always on the lookout for new possibilities. Opportunity seeking doesn’t have to be hard. It’s just about keeping an eye out for hidden values and for small and big problems that have not yet been solved.

Creativity can certainly be used within every profession. You do however need to create the right environment for ideation.

It’s important to allow yourself to schedule some time in your busy schedule for creative thinking. Set targets and create a list of subjects you want to think about. This can be challenges you want to tackle, new ideas for a specific project or simply ways to improve something that you are working on at the moment. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you set time aside for creative thinking. Doing so will help you to improve your creative skill and will lead to interesting insights and new ideas that can result in exciting innovations.

We urge you to play around with some thinking techniques and apply these within your everyday business activities. Good luck and have fun in the process!

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