Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ladeja Godina Košir, connector & managing director, Giacomelli media
“You can be an ex-CEO, ex-manager, ex-husband, perhaps even an ex-President, but you can never be an ex-creative. It is something you either are or you aren’t. No one can take it away from you,” Luc De Brabander, corporate philosopher, advisor to BCG, explained to me with great seriousness in his voice as he wrote the dedication to the book he co-authored, Thinking in New Boxes. As guest and keynote speaker of the unique regional event, BCG CEO Dinner, which was held in Slovenia amid the first anniversary of operations in this region of one of the three most prestigious global consulting companies, he left a permanent impression on a selected group of pampered board presidents and members. Luc just spoke. He had no presentations or videos in the background. No sound, no special lighting. He spoke about creativity. He talked about what it is and how not to kill it, but to systematically and strategically strengthen it. He talked about how to include it in the development stories of companies, how to give it space and manage it at the same time. He talked about the links between creativity and innovation. The spontaneous nodding and, above all, careful listening, uninterrupted by any single glance at mobile devices, were the best manifestation of what it means to be captivated by a speech. A day after Luc’s lecture, at an event which was opened by one of the guests of the previous evening, when I heard him quote Luc and his books in the opening part of his speech, it was clear to me that there had been something much greater than pure attention. The impression left a permanent mark.
Creativity is becoming mainstream. To reward and celebrate creativity has become almost fashionable. In managerial circles this word is on the “top list” among other “magnificent” words such as – innovation, leadership, collaboration, connectivity, mindfulness, empathy, design thinking, sharing, etc. That which a decade ago was reserved only for “artists and bohemians”, who had no businesses meddling in serious business, has obtained a place on the floor of great strategists and carriers of change, in literary hits, at conferences, in magazines such as the Harvard Business Review. This gives confidence and pleasure. Declaratively, everything works. But what about in practice?
The gap between the common agreement that the above-mentioned characteristics and values should be celebrated, and the fact that things often flounder when that same creativity begins to push the limits of comfort, is still present. When creativity goes from theory to practice, we would rather “tame it” just a little bit, so that it doesn’t bother us or challenge us. The article The Dark Side of Creativity demonstrates what – as a rule – comes “bundled” with creativity. The author writes: “But if creativity were as uniformly desirable and attractive as most writings on the subject suggest, it would happen more often, and without adverse consequences for creative minds.”
So, that’s where we stand. We want to have creative people in our ranks. We want to boast how we are changing the business culture, how we create a temple of innovation. But not really, and not right now. First we do what is necessary to keep the job stabilized and successful, and only later will we give space to creativity. According to the astute author Seth Godin “You don’t get creative once everything is okay.” We can’t turn creativity on and off whenever we feel like it. If we tell it “yes”, it will surely pave the way where there are as yet no established riverbeds. It will do so when the business models are set or changed, when brands are born or die, and when there is chaos and maybe even fear. Do we want it? Do we accept it?
Another challenger came in the way of the Slovenian creativity days in December. At the FDI Summit in Ljubljana Professor Arturo Bris, President of the IMD World Competitiveness Center (Lausanne), presented the competitiveness ranking of countries, in which Slovenia occupies the unenviable 49th place (of 61 countries). Slovenia has the knowledge, creativity, talent and a good educational system. But it doesn’t know how to mobilize, develop and exploit this asset well enough. Hence the brain drain, and hence a lesser degree of risk taking and, as a consequence, less powerful stories and creation of added value. We have creative people, but we don’t encourage them and keep them here. As early as primary school we send the message that obedient straight A students are preferable to inquisitive creators. Let others deal with them and their dark sides. Why would it be us? Professor Bris encourages us to start responsibly managing human capital as soon as possible in order to increase our competitiveness.
Albert Einstein defined creativity as: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Maybe we should start first by taking ourselves a little less seriously, and allow ourselves a little more laughter and relaxation. That way we won’t even notice that we have let creativity in.