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?

            When looking at creative luminaries and their contributions to society, we come upon men and woman who have either produced works of art, made mathematical or scientific discoveries, or created inventions. Traditionally businessmen have not been included in that group; history doesn’t tend to look at John D. Rockefeller and proclaim him a creative luminary. People associate business with analytics, facts, financial statements, focus group responses, and numbers that can be measured to produce sales. “Analysis is what drives business thinking,” writes Stephen Denning in The Leaders Guide to Storytelling. “It seemingly cuts through the fog of myth, gossip, and speculation to get to the hard facts. … Its strength lies in its objectivity, its impersonality, its heartlessness” (Denning, 2005, p. 5). A glance at any business school’s course catalogue reveals the same: Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Strategy, Economics. Yet in recent days our society has considered someone like Steve Jobs to be a creative luminary, start-ups are building businesses with strategies taken from the world of art and design, companies are creating the position of Chief Creative Officer, and books on storytelling can be found in the business section at any bookstore. It seems that creative thinking is becoming the newest strategy in business, and “story” is becoming the newest buzzword.

Next: Markers of creative businesses

Last: How Story Connects Brands to People – Preface


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