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Courage is Required for Creativity in Industrial Marketing | Manufacturing Marketing

Courage is Required for Creativity in Industrial Marketing

Courage is necessary for creativity

The creativity required for effective industrial marketing causes resistance.

Creativity is the act of looking at our daily environment and experiences in new ways. This often involves questioning the “why” of things to fully understand why things are the way they are. Creativity is necessary to change the status quo, but the status quo is comforting and apparently certain.

People are creatures of habit and resist change, especially when the outcome is unpredictable. Doing what hasn’t been done before, by definition, will have an uncertain result. Failure is a real possibility. When the fear of failure is larger than the desire for change, nothing will happen.

Jessica Olien, writing for Slate, has the following insight:

This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking, despite all of their insistence otherwise.

“We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,” says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity.

Staw says most people are risk-averse. He refers to them as satisfiers. “As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,” he says. Satisfiers avoid stirring things up, even if it means forsaking the truth or rejecting a good idea.

Even people who say they are looking for creativity react negatively to creative ideas, as demonstrated in a 2011 study from the University of Pennsylvania. Uncertainty is an inherent part of new ideas, and it’s also something that most people would do almost anything to avoid. People’s partiality toward certainty biases them against creative ideas and can interfere with their ability to even recognize creative ideas.

The first step is to define the status quo and the need for change. With the amount of constant change we all are experiencing, this may be a moot point. Regardless, noting where you are creates a baseline which is used to measure progress. Consensus on the need to change will be instrumental throughout the creative process. The pain of doing nothing must be greater than the pain of change or your marketing effort will stall.

Identify and anticipate resistance at key decision points so you can discuss these ahead of time with the executives responsible for approvals. Establish a logical process which allows for small tests along the way, limiting early failures and keeping decision makers involved.

Ultimately, you will reach a point where no information regarding outcome exists. Statistical analysis cannot predict the success of something that hasn’t been done before. This is what I often refer to as the leap of faith.

Have the courage to take that leap.

photo credit: leafbug via photopin cc

5 Responses to “Courage is Required for Creativity in Industrial Marketing”

  1. Great article that had me nodding my head all the way through. Thanks!

    • Bob Parina says:

      Scott,

      Thanks for the comment. Doing what has always been done is easy and doesn’t get you in trouble if it doesn’t work. It’s hard to take responsibility for trying new things when there is real money at stake.

      Bob

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