What North America can teach us about business creativity

Recently when in North America (Canada more precisely) I got to thinking. I was speaking at a conference on creativity when it occurred to me that other countries have a broader view of creativity, and embrace it more than we do.

Hear me out. When you mention creativity in Australia it conjures up thoughts and reactions of whaffle and intangibility. It’s seen as fluffy and as something only people with ponytails do who drink lattes and throw paint around a room. Alternately it’s seen as the sole domain of larger enterprise or start-ups and as a result, in small business, we tend to shy away from it when talking to clients or developing our businesses because creativity is a dirty word when it comes to outcomes, strategy and bottom line.

But in many parts of the world (especially North America) it’s a different story because they see it differently than us. They seek creativity out, hanker to get better at it and help their people get better at it. They understand that it belongs to everyone because it’s about thinking differently.

So does our limited view of creativity inhibit small business growth in Australia? I believe it does and here’s why. It prevents us from being adventurous and causes us to play safe, it stops us from finding the most impactful solutions for our clients. It means we silo our people into who is and who isn’t creative which in turn limits the flow of workable ideas and solutions.

I believe we need to start seeing creativity differently. As a mindset, a way of doing, and a way of seeing problems as opportunities, and that little things done creatively well lead to substantial results. We need to understand that it drives innovation and long-term growth.

One thing each of us can do to strengthen small business in Australia, is redefine what creativity means for ourselves, our employees, our businesses and our customers. Then once we get our heads around that, hopefully we can start thinking, behaving and doing more creatively.

Nigel Collin, Business Coach and Author of “Game of Inches”

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