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Creativity is a holistic process

richard mottProblem solving is the task we evolved for.  It gives us as much pleasure as sex.  Work done for its own sake becomes a wonderful game.

In creative businesses we have the chance to enjoy work – something not everyone can say about their job.  We love the challenge of exploring and answering the creative brief; we love the opportunity to originate; we love the moment when we realize we have produced the solution we have been striving for in our brand strategy process or marketing idea.

Loving what we do makes us more successful

Much is currently being made of the Love factor in business. When we love the business we work for or love the brand we buy, we are expressing human nature and at the same time increasing the strong bonds that will contribute hugely to business success. This represents a revolution for businesses and there are still many who shy away from such an idea. Yet the figures are readily available, thanks to research by Bain and Gallup, to prove that this is a powerful idea.

Bain’s Net Promoter Score measures the level at which employees rate a company as a “great place to work” from 1 to 10, with 9 or 10 suggesting people ‘love’ working for the company. This has shown there is a strong correlation between the amount of love and the profitability of the business.

Intuition or inspiration

Where do ideas come from?  I like the theory that all ideas already exist and you just have to ‘tune in’ to receive them.  However, although it sounds easy, you still have to find a way of tuning in …. and doing this while under the pressure of day-to-day activities.

I find that my best and clearest ideas usually come at 6 am.  They wake me up with a rush of creativity or clarity, depending on the subject matter.  I get up and scribble the ideas down as quickly as I can.  It may be different for you.  However, although the ideas come easily and freely when they are ready, it never happens unless I have done the groundwork.

This means days of hard work – research and exploration, writing and drawing.

Whether you call this inspiration or intuition doesn’t matter – the essence is the same.   It is an external source or external guidance that is operating here.

Intuition increases with experience

One of the interesting facts of life is that your ability to tap into your intuition grows with experience.  Intuition is about an ‘inner knowing’.  When you are faced with a problem or a situation and need a solution, you don’t always find the answer in your head – sometimes it just lands in your gut.  And, the more experienced you are, the more likely this gut feeling will be right and the more readily you can work with it.

This is not just a question of being older, it is a life practice – to notice when your intuition is active and providing potential solutions.

Holistic approach

We are taught from an early age to use our head.  At school we are praised for using it well (and damned for not using it well).  Very little or no encouragement is given for the development of our emotional intelligence (using our heart) or for developing our intuition (using our gut).  This is a great shame for only when we are well connected to all three centres (head, heart and gut) can we perform to the very best of our abilities.

Richard has 35 years experience as a retail strategist, brand consultant and business innovation consultant. He co-founded strategic design consultancy 2020 in 1988 and is now non-executive chairman. He has developed a holistic theory of business and, having published a book on the subject (Holistic Business), now consults through Holistic Business Consultants (www.holisticbusiness.co). 


About Greg Dillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at http://gdinspires.com. He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched Strat-Talking.com - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic as well as acquiring CreativeAgencyFreelancing.com for designers. Feel free to email him at: greg@gdinspires.com or follow on Twitter @CAFreelancing.

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