At the start of the Christmas party season the Daily Telegraph published in its print edition an article about the Design Council's Summit on business competitiveness that followed on a year after a review of business creativity for the treasury in which Sir George Cox observed how Britain had a window of opportunity of 5 to ten years before developing countries such as China and India had the creative skills to compete with their British counterparts across the board. The article states: Sir George said there had been progress on several fronts but too many businesses remained unaware of the benefits of being more creative. In addition he said that an Arts Council England survey of 1800 business people who put creativity as being "very important for the future of their business yet only 4% saw creativity as the first thing to look for in prospective new employees. Sir George said one problem was that smaller firms in particular did not see talk of good design as being relevant to them.
Design Council research demonstrates a link between design expenditure and economic performance. Our studies demonstrate that for every £100 a design alert business spends on design, turner is increased by £225. (Design Council’s Value of Design Fact finder 2005- 2006). ).
I find this quite intriguing and believe it has something to do with the perception of creatives. I read Richard Florida's work on the "Creative Class" and always it hits me that he includes engineers in that class but most literature in the UK does not seem to include them. The Arts Council's survey highlighted "a jaundiced view of creatives with 20% associating them with dressing unconventionally and taking part in "wacky stunts"."
Janice KirkPatrick wrote in her essay (from a lecture originally given in Stockholm)
Innovate Or Deteriorate—Design Or Die
©Janice Kirkpatrick, May 2001
The Role Of Design In Innovating For Business Success
"Why is it, that while the future looks so tempting, many businesses continue to live in the past rather than embracing the future? Why can’t they recognise that the world has changed? Instead they prefer to rearrange the furniture or stand still and gather dust. They are unable to face the uncertainty of innovation and become paralysed, doing nothing at all?
Perhaps these businesses have inherited a cynicism about new ideas. New ideas are often presented as mere ‘entertaining diversions’ from tried and tested ways of doing things. But the excuse that “we've always done it this way because it works” is no longer an option. What works today may not be good enough to work tomorrow. Digital modelling, rapid prototyping and a host of new tools for accelerating the research and development process mean that new rivals appear from leftfield and make your company obsolete overnight.
Other businesses maintain a superstitious attitude to innovation. They regard creativity as dangerous, unquantifiable ‘magic’ and creative people as unpredictable ‘artists’; reckless, irresponsible individuals who over-excite employees and ‘rock the boat’ by asking uncomfortable questions with unfamiliar, unsettling answers. It should take comfort from the knowledge that creativity is nothing new, it’s been around since the beginning of civilisation. Even ‘design’ as we know it, first appeared in the 1830s. There’s no excuse for being suspicious of a tried and tested process that's been professionally practised for over 170 years.
In fact, it’s worth remembering where ‘design’ came from because it help us place it in context and see more clearly how we can use it to make sense of all of these new opportunities that are ripe for exploitation. In the first industrial revolution of 1760 the old creative industries broke with their craft traditions and entered the Machine Age. The first of many schools of ‘applied art’ was established 77 years later, inventing the idea of an ‘industrial designer’. The industrial designer was a person trained to exploit technology and ensure that products were both aesthetically pleasing and functional; that products were wilfully designed to stimulate new markets and satisfy customers."
But by the time the designers helped industry to catch up with the increasing pace of progress, a second revolution had arrived and its results were quite literally, ‘electrifying’.
So design professionals, integrated strategically, bring a Return on Talent that is worth investing in but, if we look at what a "creative" is we should be thinking of how we reoerientate our actions across all the people involved in new product and service innovation.
So what is a "Creative"? Who are they? Where do I find them?
Picture Uploaded by mini joan. Used with thanks under CC.
If we look at David Perkins Six-trait Snowflake model of creativity we see that there is nothing in the list that disqualifies anybody from being creative- more or less.
Leslie Owen Wilson describes the traits as
"push programs treat people as passive consumers even when they are producers like workers on an assembly line. In contrast, pull platforms treat people as networked creators even when they are customers purchasing goods and service. In this context, virtual communities have the potential to become kernels of massive pull platforms."
The shift from push to consumers to pull from creators (of their own experiences) is a large mindset change and involves leaders to lead and managers to participate in order to release a teams potential.. which depends on creating (that word again) the conditions to avoid "Teams from Hell", melting their snowflakes in the heat of disharmony, but enable "Ordinary Teams" to move into the realm of "Teams from Heaven" who continuously recreate the context in which they perform. (Then OODA loops can deliver!)