Markers of Creative Businesses: How Story Connects Brands to People – Part 2

In continuing with some of the thoughts I’ve put together on creativity, business, and storytelling:

In analyzing the markers of creativity – like convergent versus divergent thinking, lateral thinking, metaphors, and breaking set – traditional business seems to fall on the non-creative side. Yet businesses employing creative techniques look outwards towards engagement with their customers through story, social media, relationship management, and other ways to connect, which emulates divergent thinking (multiple solutions) rather than convergent thinking (bottom line). Creative companies often employ lateral thinking and broader association across different subjects and mediums. An example is the multimedia installation that Moment Factory created for Los Angeles International Airport, using large digital screens with interactivity based on customer movement to set off 3D effects, images, and movies, in order to enhance the passenger experience. Creative businesses also think in metaphors. And example is the way IDEO, an innovation and design consulting firm, pitches ideas to its clients. By showing a fresh apple next to an older one, IDEO was able to communicate to a client through metaphor about the need for visual freshness for their products – in this case, mattresses. A creative company also breaks set, like Apple, who has managed to equate phones and computers with a lifestyle. Many of these companies are aware of and understand the tools of storytelling as well, and incorporate it into their model. Continue reading

Does Creativity Have a Place in Business?: How Story Connects Brands to People – Part I

In continuing with some of the thoughts I’ve put together on creativity, business, and storytelling:

Does creativity have a place in the world of business? Often “creativity” or “creative thinking” is not considered an asset where finances, marketing, and strategy are king. Yet businesses are increasingly looking towards creative strategies beyond facts and figures to engage their customers and establish their brand. One of those creative techniques has been a recognition of the power of story to drive customer relations, and while storytelling has been around since the beginning of time, business are just now seeing its importance and profitability. Who are those businesses that are employing creative techniques, specifically storytelling, what are those techniques, and how have those techniques forwarded their business? Continue reading

Creativity in Business: How Story Connects Brands to People – Preface

Appropriately, I’ll start with a story.

When I moved out to Boston a few years ago, I got plugged into a church plant that hadn’t even begun yet. That time before launch was precious. We were all in this thing together, yet we were strangers to one another. So every time we were together there were always “get to know you” conversations. I had a chat with the pastor’s wife and told her about my background in fiction writing and literature. The next time I saw my pastor, Al, he came up to me and, obviously having heard about my background through his wife, said to me, “You’re a story person. We have to talk.” Continue reading

What I’m Watching: Nuggets

So, I’ve had a few “What I’m Reading” posts. How about a “What I’m Watching” post?

Have you guys seen this video? It heard about it through Fast Company, in one of their non-businessy posts they do every so often. It’s a short animation called “Nuggets” that is meant to illustrate the pull of addiction. Very well done, and stays with you.

Building a Life

What does it mean to “build a life”? Someone mentioned that phrase to me the other day in a discussion about life and career and interests. It’s something that’s been on my mind recently, and comes down to ownership and choices and alignment. I wonder if living life really is more active than I think I think it is. I wonder if it really is like writing a story (I’m sure Donald Miller would say it is), where you brainstorm and dream, come up with plot and characters and events, and then set it down on paper. The other question is, Whose story is it? Whose life is it? It’s very different to go through your day believing that this is your life, this is your thing, these are your choices, rather than going through the day living for someone else, and in constant question of, “Is this the right thing?” When you can take ownership of your values and choices and passions and hobbies and personality type, then that’s when, I believe, you start building a life.

It reminds me of the words of Youngme Moon, former senior associate dean at HBS: “Please remember. You were put on this planet to build a life. Not to build a résumé, and certainly not to build your net worth. You are here to build a life, a life full of impact and a life full of meaning.”