Despite increased calls for efficiency and measurable results, marketing remains an inherently creative discipline. What can marketing leaders do to keep the creative flame burning bright? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.
Edward de Bono, who passed in June 2021, coined the term “lateral thinking” back in 1967 and spent most of his life since then advocating for the power of creativity in business—and in life. Few would argue against creativity’s power, but turning theory into practice and actually harnessing that power is another thing entirely.
Put simply: creativity is a delicate thing—difficult to foster and remarkably easy to kill.
So what can you do to avoid these pitfalls and help creativity take root? It’s mostly about understanding the things that can kill creativity—and then doing the opposite.
Let’s start with you as an individual. Self-judgment is probably the single best way to talk yourself out of being creative. To overcome this, learn to postpone self-judgement until your ideas are down on paper. Next, learn how to unstick your brain with fresh stimulus. Musician and producer Brian Eno uses a deck of specially created cards, but a walk around the block can do the trick as well.
It’s also important not to confuse creativity with originality. Even the greatest creative works build on others that came before. If you don’t believe us, just ask Dave Grohl about the opening drum fill in Smells Like Teen Spirit.
When it comes to your team, fostering creativity is about eliminating its deadliest enemy: fear. This feels like an opportune time to re-introduce the concept of psychological safety.