My last post had me thinking a lot about creativity.  I have a some friends that are artists and their ability to create new things continually is really impressive.  The people I look up to most are artists: writers and musicians mostly.  My grandfather was an artist, both commercially and as a way of life.

I do not believe most people look at business as though it’s a creative exercise.  For most it looks like a fairly buttoned up, straight forward practice with little room for interpretation.  It’s hard NOT to see it this way in fact.  Like most aspects of life, there are people and institutions that have perspectives that are more broadly accepted–these perspectives over time become “common knowledge” (an oxymoron) set as standards for all of society.  This is foolish at best and dangerous when wielded forcefully.

Einstein stated intelligently that science and art are branches on the same tree.  If that oft cited appeal to authority doesn’t compel you consider the most celebrated  historical figures in business:  Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes, Leo Burnett, Seth Godin, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos, Rockefeller and so on are renowned for CHANGING things.  Their fame and fortunes came from altering the current state of business through creativity.  Absolutely no one is renowned for doing things the exact same as their predecessors.

This is what is so enticing about business in general.  Mark Cuban points out tha technology is in a perpetual state of change and provides opportunity to entrepreneurs as such.  This is obvious today as technology changes so visibly.  What should also be obvious is that culture and the state of the world is continually changing as well.  My previous point on Youth Culture and the importance of younger generations centered around this thought.  As culture changes, the need for business to adapt provides opportunity.

Small businesses’ advantages mostly lie in their ability to adapt and move quickly.  Large organizations are typically tied to existing revenue models where altering their strategy has too many costs, not to mention the agency issues for leadership who’s primary concern is keeping their  roles.  They are often reporting to Wall Street which means taking risks in their markets is beyond courageous, it’s often foolhardy and will lead to being fired.  No, slow and measured steps are how large organizations will choose to adapt.  If you’ve worked in a larger organization, this is not always obvious as you’re in the weeds of day to day, but manifests tangibly in your OS being six years old, your CRM in a perpetual state of “work in progress”, etc.

Creativity is what allows organizations to grow, large and small.  Innovation of product, path to market and interacting with customers builds a buffer between your offering and competitors.  Being in a small business means you can continually  update these things with less costs due to the scale of operations; you can actually provide a better experience for customers in many situations.  There are definitely times where being bigger helps to facilitate better interactions due to capital costs of large infrastructure, or scale of providing service, but all in all the amount of areas creativity can impact consumer decisions is incredible for both.

Talent drives creativity.  Businesses need people who think differently about how value is created as you can only set a mousetrap so well.  Eventually a new mousetrap may be needed.  Where talent comes from is integral to long term success–finding the right people to manage and add creativity to your business will ultimately be your growth driver.