Tomorrow I’ll be presenting the opening Keynote at Ingram Micro’s vertical symposium – health care and finance, in Dallas. As I’ve prepared for this, I’ve recounted numerous conversations over the past year concerning the economy, cloud computing, business struggles, and managed services. What’s working and what isn’t. The majority would say, not much is working…
Creativity might be defined as approaching a task or idea from a different or unique perspective. It’s a simple concept, but often misunderstood at the deepest level. We have creative teams, creative people, creative software, and Adobe’s creative suite…but what’s so creative about these things? Most of the time, nothing. I see thousands of websites, data sheets, and even resumes sporting the same meaningless esoteric language. I love how Goden, author of Lynchpin describes the education system of our country – we learn to use #2 pencils, dress the same, write the same, follow instructions, take notes, take tests, forget the material and move on. Failure is not an option, and so the idea of creating and trying new things is not permitted. Being a home educator I can really see this in the materials offered to us.
Instead, I’ve opted to largely ignore traditional books in place of creative problem solving, team oriented learning, and building entrepreneurial enterprises with my kids. Business is getting harder to conduct, competition is greater, and price pressure is killing us (and of course taxes will finish us off). Going the traditional route is not going to succeed on average. In fact, history shows us, of the thousands of companies that start, only about 4% (according to a recent business conference I attended) make it to ten years, and this says nothing about profitability.
So what are we going to do differently to stay in the game? Creating business has to to be part of it. Understanding how to build effective messaging and move people from prospect to client, is fundamental. Finding more efficient ways to buy and sell, and delivering greater value through discontinuous innovation, is needed. Intellectual capital is important, but those who tend to be risk adverse are destined to fail – the entrepreneurial spirit has been stripped from us.
I’m just coming off of a 4 day planning and strategy sabbatical with lots of ideas and enthusiasm. Hopefully you’ll be in Dallas tomorrow to hear about it. Either way, start thinking outside the box – start practicing creativity.