Thoughts by Jesper Strøm,
Creative Lead Guitar and Partner at Frankly
In a digital era, where businesses gather data about everything – and everyone – and all is measured in calories, carbs, and levels of sugar and fat, creativity is the gateway to company progress.
Companies gather data in raw quantities. To be fair, it’s common sense to retrieve data for the purpose of identifying tomorrow’s challenges and possibilities. Data can create focus and overview, it can optimize and streamline business. And let’s be honest, these are all virtues appreciated by the biggest of big bosses.
But when – and how – will data actually evolve business? The short answer: When data and creativity are intertwined. Data equals knowledge, and when creativity blossoms, that knowledge will be redeemed.
Allow me to elaborate.
You know it, and we know: creativity is an abstract concept. It's a notion, a quality, that can't be seen nor heard. So, what defines it? Creativity is the ability to condense a complex issue into something simple and useful that makes sense for a (defined) group of people. Only when you handle knowledge and insights from data with a creative touch, unique, obvious, and easy-to-understand stuff appears. In short, creativity makes problem solving look smooth.
Creativity needs to be rolled out early in the process. When the 250-page analysis land on the leadership's desk you either have your assumptions confirmed or you get new insights. The immediate actions will often equate to low hanging fruits in terms of logical optimisation and simplification of your operations. But why settle for the low hanging fruits, when you can shoot for the stars – and hit bullseye? Whether new knowledge is intended for internal or external use, it’s only when the creative concept, i.e., the good idea, surfaces, it becomes clear to everyone how to convert knowledge into a resourceful tool.
Creative companies = brave companies
Creativity is about understanding people. The best creative solutions come out of the best insights into human behaviour; how people think and act. Data can – through creativity – be transformed into human needs. And human needs can steer your business towards new and exciting places. If you fail to use data to fulfil human needs, it stays irrelevant. As it is the case with any other product or service.
Companies with a strong belief in the creative and design thinkers as a key asset attract both (valuable) employees and customers. Sure, it takes courage for companies to bet on alternative approaches and make decisions based on new perspectives that may defy conventional mind-sets. But if you dare to be brave and let creativity work its magic, you’ll come up with solutions far more vibrant that your competitors. It’s not a coincidence that concepts like ‘design thinking’ and ‘ideation’ have been prominent factors at the very top of the tech industry in recent years. At the tech giants currently dominating the world stock markets and our daily lives as consumers, data plays a crucial role and solutions are constantly challenged with hard-hitting creative force for both meeting and creating human needs.
So – and be honest now – in which direction do you want your business to evolve from here: The generic one, or the unique one? The choice is yours!