Robert Saffian penned an interesting editorial in Fast Company for their special feature on “How to live a creative life”. He noted that there are two parallel economies at work in the US at present: the traditional economy with big players, often from an industrial era who benefit from a status quo and an “innovative economy” who thrives on change and disruption. The latter lives within a new virtual triangle that connects Madison Avenue, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. These creative centres traditionally did not engage each other much. They have since taken bold steps to work together to create a new “co-creative” economy.
At eYeka we have always rebelliously connected dots where most preffered to erect walls. We see creativity as a tool that can affect changes not only in products, marketing or entertainment but could transform society for the better. As we have mentioned before on this blog, we believe that creativity can come from the most unlikely places. By breaking the dogma of closed-loop thinking and inviting people who are not the kind brands traditionally engage, we too forge connections that result in fast, fresh thinking.
Many researchers have already demonstrated how people who seem too remote from the context of a problem to be bothered, can actually bring the most creative solutions to the table. Yet as society is battling with an ever inflating (and frightening) array of challenges, from building a sustainable economy that doesn’t solely rely on debt to fighting climate change to accomodating a growing population, it seems like we are running-out of fresh ideas. Could it be because it is always the same type of people who are involved in problem solving?
Governments and NGOs have a unique opportunity to sollicit participation from “non-traditionally involved people” regardless of who they are and where they are, to solve very specific problems. Imagine the European Union inviting contributions from outside Europe to sort out its ageing population issue? Imagine Mexico City inviting people from all other the World to suggest how it could create green community spaces for its residents? By taking two bold steps: co-creating solutions with people and broadening engagement to all who are keen to contribute, it is fair to imagine that governments and NGOs could offer fresher solutions for the benefits of all. Looking at the ever-rising mountain of challenges that our society is facing, we hope they will be bold as we need a more co-creative society, fast.
Upon hearing news of an impending recession, most companies opt for the traditional corporate practice of shrinking budgets, cost cutting, sweeping layoffs and freezing plans. As corporate turnarounds experts will tell you, it is important to stop the blood flow first when attending to an injured patient. But if the injured is a competitive athlete, how long will you prevent him from training before his skills and stamina take a turn for the worst too?
Innovation is like a muscle, if you do not exercise it, it atrophies. Once the necessary housekeeping to ensure relative corporate stability is over, an economic recession could become a great opportunity for innovation.
“Many of the world’s enduring, multibillion-dollar corporations, from Disney to Microsoft, were founded during economic downturns. Generally speaking, operating costs tend to be cheaper in a recession. Talent is easier to find because of widespread layoffs. And competition is usually less fierce because, frankly, many players are taken out of the game.” – Reena Jana, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, July 2009
A study by McKinsey & Co. conducted over a period of 18 years found out that companies that “retained or gained market leadership during the recession of 1990-1998 invested on strategic acquisitions and pursued new opportunities rather than focusing on reducing operating expense”.