To create or not to create?

Let’s be honest. The basic definition of the entrepreneurship says that it is an activity carried out for a profit. No one mentions the need neither to create something nor to be creative. Some entrepreneurs simply copy the idea from a neighbor and make business out of it. So why should you care about this topic?

Paradoxically, there are several good reasons:

– Competitors propose today entire solutions instead of selling simple products
– Customers of the consumer society want always new products and services
– Original ideas change into “this already exists” after a few clicks on the Internet
– Successful companies that haven’t followed fast changing trends disappear quietly
– Customer needs evolve at the speed of light and the question is who will satisfy them first!

Finally, it’s only up to you to choose the right reason why to create new solutions, new management practices, new ways of communicating with customers and making a profit.

Inspiration, where to find you?

When it comes to inspiration, most people think of famous “Eureka!” effect. A moment when a light bulb shines over your head and everything is suddenly clear to you and it makes perfect sense. The problem is that just waiting for this moment is not enough. It is to be summoned and it’s worth a little effort. Eureka moment is like a cherry on the cake, which is preceded by a series of activities and procedures. Even scientists take years to come up with something really new! So how can you summon inspiration?

Think of your mind as a library where you save stories and information from various sources. One of the first things to do is to start filling your brain library with new and unusual content. Here are some ideas to get you started:

– Go to the newsstand and buy a magazine that you would never buy
– Ask your supervisors what they do in their free time or what hobbies they have
– Do things you have never tried – “For the 1st time”
– Go to the restaurant and order the strangest food from the menu
– Go to the Italian opera without subtitles
– From time to time try working in cafes or coworking spaces
– Talk to strangers and travellers
– See the silent film (e.g. The Artist)
– Buy a small notebook or use a smartphone application “Evernote” to note new ideas
– At least one day per week, do things the opposite way, or up side down

Once your library will be full of different pieces of information and experiences, you can start to combine them in unusual ways in order to create something new. As FORD engineer explained it on the example of Charles Dickens’ book in the movie “Flash of Genius.” (click image = watch video)

Collective creativity, when YES and when NO?

If you ask creative people how they create new ideas, probably they will tell you that it works itself. Some people just reflect about the project, some draw, some need to relax, others go to places that inspire them, etc. But nowadays, when you need to figure out something on demand, this method is a luxury. Therefore, many companies have introduced collaborative ways of creating. This method is called “Co-creation” and the idea is to bring together several parties to co-create a new solution. There are several forms:

– A virtual platform with co-created content (e.g. Wikipedia)
– Co-designing new solutions with customers (e.g. LEGO CUUSOO)
– Co-creation of products with many internal and external players (e.g. P & G)
– Creation of interdisciplinary teams for specific innovative projects
(examples of neuroscience, cybernetics or biochemistry projects)
– Workshops of collective creativity (e.g. Creative LABs)

Each method offers different advantages and is suitable for different purposes. However in each method, it is important to gather various people sharing the same vision and allow them to discuss, ask questions and create together. Collective creativity works great with complex business issues and projects, but it is not a cure for everything. If you need ideas on where to spend your weekend, you do not need a workshop or a platform. Sometimes just delving into the memories of places where you had a good time, could be enough. :-)