I’m pleased to announce the availability of my new book, Creative Clarity: A Practical Guide for Bringing Creative Thinking Into Your Company. This book is built on a simple premise: Most companies don’t know what creativity really is, so they can’t benefit from it.
We look around at the few companies that seem to have creativity figured out, the companies celebrated as creative market leaders. Google has launched an entire business called “X” to drive its creative “moonshots”—huge problems with radical solutions. X is combining creatively diverse backgrounds in a high-pressure environment to arrive at massively different ways of thinking about problems: “What if a sculptor and a kite surfer worked together to rethink how we harness the power of the wind? Or if an aerospace engineer and a fashion designer teamed up to bring internet to everyone with balloons?”
Disney, which is literally in the business of selling creativity, spent more than a billion dollars developing the MyMagic+ wristband and its supporting infrastructure. The ethos of creativity is fundamental to everything the company does, including shepherding in a digital era for its brand.
And Tesla, perhaps one of the most creative companies of our generation, is redefining multiple industries by pursuing a dramatic vision of the future. The company is so confident of that vision that CEO Elon Musk presents it on tesla.com: The “Master Plan” includes a focus on solar power, affordable vehicles, and autonomous driving.
We see these companies’ articulated solutions, glossy product launches, market-driving innovations, and blog post after blog post describing the genius of their creative machines. How can their methods be so straightforward while we struggle with the basics? How do they attract and retain such creative talent while we struggle to build creative brand equity? And how can their leadership have such vision and their teams, such alignment?
These companies are shining examples of creativity because feelings of freedom and optimism shape their entire cultures. They can build the future because they can see that future clearly. With such vision, the leaders in these organizations are able to recruit and retain innovators and great thinkers. They have creative clarity.
But bringing the freedom of creativity into our own companies feels like adding to the crazy, not fixing it. Creative people are unpredictable and wild. They don’t do well with our traditional management frameworks, and it often feels as though we can’t manage them at all. We aren’t much better at managing our creative processes. Some of our best tools, such as the design-thinking and lean methods, only scratch the surface of the business problems and the market threats we face. We don’t have the organizational capacity to bring the mess into focus, so we flail and struggle.
It’s time to properly drive an ethos of creativity into our companies. This is a new way of thinking about everything from process, to people, to organizational design—about building a company and a company culture that can see through the mess.
This book is primarily for people in charge of driving strategic change through an organization. If you are a line manager responsible for exploring a horizon of opportunity, the book will help you establish a culture of creative product development in which your teams can predictably deliver creative results. You’ll learn methods to drive trust among your team members to enable you to critique and improve their work. And as an organizational leader, you’ll complement your traditional business strategies with the new language and understanding you need to implement creativity in a strategic manner across your company.