Creativity is not a trait that we inherit in our genes or a blessing bestowed by the angels. It's a skill. Anyone can learn to be creative and to get better at it.”
So says author Jonah Lehrer in his new book, “How Creativity Works.”
Three key thoughts from his book reminded me how we have committed to a culture of creativity here at SIGMA:
1. “For prompting creativity, few things are as important as time devoted to cross-pollination with fields outside our areas of expertise.”
2. “We have to either work together or fail alone.”
SIGMA associates represent the “Noah’s Ark” of professional diversity. There are IT specialists, programmers, analysts, statisticians, plus marketing strategists and creatives. We have backgrounds in academics, advertising, banking, and big business, and we hail from all over the globe.
We find that this combination of different brains, diverse backgrounds and differing expertise brings about greater innovation and a more comprehensive solution for our clients.
3. “Another benefit of diversity is providing the raw material of great solutions.
If you're trying to be more creative, one of the most important things you can do is increase the volume and diversity of the information to which you are exposed.”
When I start a new project with a lot of great “raw material," such as well-defined profiles — created by my analytical co-worker — it is much easier for me to craft offers and content that resonate with the needs of different segments of customers.
Guess who wins? Our clients and, most of all, the consumer.
“Steve Jobs famously declared that "creativity is just connecting things." Although we think of inventors as dreaming up breakthroughs out of thin air, Mr. Jobs was pointing out that even the most far-fetched concepts are usually just new combinations of stuff that already exists.”
As Lehrer explains in his book, the Post-It NoteTM was not invented by the guy who mistakenly created a wimpy glue, but by the 3M co-worker who was frustrated because his bookmarks kept falling out of his hymnal while singing in church!
Great solutions come from great diversity, creating an open environment for collaboration, with a culture that embraces failure as a stepping-stone to success.