Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To Be First...Be Creative



Back in the late 60s, before Jim Henson & Frank Oz introduced the Muppets on Sesame Street there wasn’t much on television for kids. Sure there was Saturday morning cartoons but not much that was appealing. Jim & Frank created a new industry because they wanted to make childrens education fun and entertaining. By integrating their already popular puppeteering to the show, Sesame Street became an icon of children's television...and still going strong to this day.

George Lucas envisioned a strange world and put it on film at a time when very few science fiction films made any money nor were they taken seriously. George is a pioneer.

Marin Alsop became the first female conductor and Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony in an industry dominated by men. She ignored the statistics and became a trailblazer.

Dick Gregory decided to tell White Americans what Black Americans thought at a time when the majority of comedians were standing around in a dark suit with a microphone in a stand telling people what they wanted to hear. Gregory brought us into his world. He didn’t sugar coat it – he was raw about it – but he took the time out to make it funny. He lead the way for Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker. Dick Gregory was courageous.

What is my point? well there are 2 things each of these stories has in common. First, each of  these people mentioned took chances despite what everyone else was doing, saying or believing. Second, they are incredibly creative people. And this is a major key for success in any field.

What sets every single product you buy apart? Creativity. We pay a premium but many don't know why. Jaguar, Bose, Nike...name a brand that is a leader in their field and you find consistent creative innovation. Getting creative and introducing products and systems that no one else is doing will position you as a leader in a new niche within your industry.
Think creativity in business is just for the creative industries? Think again.

Donald Trump is into the Art of The Deal. His first book made me realize this man sees business as a creative opportunity. The Donald is a creative strategist.

Stephen Hawking is capable of envisioning and proving alternative theories on physics and time because he is creative in the way he approaches every new idea. He has not only introduced completely new ways of thinking about our universe, he has overturned as well as proven some of Einstein’s well-documented theories. Dr. Hawking is a visionary creative.

The television show American Chopper focuses on a family owned, custom motorcycle shop – Orange County Choppers. The antics of Paul Teutul Sr. and his two sons Paul Jr. and Mikey make the show entertaining, but their creative approach to custom bike building is just mesmerizing to watch. Paul Sr. has written 2 successful business books so far (I am expecting more), run a business and a successful television show. All based on Paul Sr. 40 years as an entrepreneur. And the guys at OCC give back – they are one of the top companies working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Paul Sr. is a creative entrepreneur.

Steven Jobs figured computers should be user friendly. While Steve Wozniak figured out how this new business would be structured both inside and out. Together they created a multi-billion dollar company within a niche industry inside the computer industry. All because Apple and the culture they created, look at computers differently. Creative technologists.

Each visionary leader mentioned above may get all the credit, but they surrounded themselves with incredibly talented individuals – and in many cases, gave those team members credit.

Companies that respect their own creative process and the people who get them there seem to be consistent leaders. Every product or system that comes from his or her imaginations is an industry unto itself.

Try taking a page from their process. Creativity is King.

Thank you for reading,


Brad Szollose