What advice would the world’s most gifted minds have to say on invention? Read on to find out…
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein
The marketing world already knows about the powerful association between creativity and intelligence. They recognize that intelligence fuels creativity. However, industries where intelligence leads first are missing this mark. An intelligent mind is creative because it has to be creative to query, process and rearrange the information coming at it. That said, if your business is rich in academia but you have a sterile environment, it might be time to shake things up a little bit. Einstein would agree: “Play is the highest form of research.”
“There are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.” – Thomas Edison
This one is also about the business landscape but rather than it being a physical space, it’s a mindset on how to cultivate your environment. Rules are antithetical to creation and innovation. Rules sets up a dichotomy between what is accepted and what isn’t. Rules cage the mind and inhibit free expression. Rules are the death of ideas.
In your environment, that means creating an atmosphere where people aren’t criticized for poor ideas. You don’t have to run with every idea or reward the effort, but you definitely do have to support you team member’s willingness to speak up with something they’ve thought of. This is how the best ideas come forward – when no one is afraid to share the worst ones for fear of ridicule or punishment.
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
If you need PR help, here’s your answer. For most businesses, writing something worth reading has been all about blogs or white papers. Unless you have a stellar voice and some creative way to bring it forward, that’s only going to get you so far. Having some more direct impact way to communicate with your clients is key. In my experience, clients have wanted that through highly personalized email newsletters that tell them something they can’t find on the website or through anything else they’re coming across.
On the other hand, doing something worth writing about was best exemplified this week with an Israeli restaurant that gave interfaith patrons a 50% discount on hummus dishes for dining together. It was that restaurant’s way of diffusing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a meaningful way. Another restaurant more locally did the same by offering phone-free diners a meal discount in order to encourage actual conversation and enjoyment of the meal.
“Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.” – Nikola Tesla
This is also why the best ideas are discovered while taking a shower and why vacations are encouraged. Here Tesla is really talking about disconnecting from the outside world and going in, allowing your mind to wander, explore and play with ideas that you otherwise don’t have time for. When you’re alone, you’re allowed to think in quiet without outside influence – and that’s huge!
Translating this into a working environment means giving employees a work-life balance. This means no emails after hours or on the weekends, giving people a chance to really stop working. Seeing pop-up emails on your smartphone from your boss on a Saturday morning, for example, is not a way to achieve this. When it comes to an inventive mind, this is a crucial piece of wisdom from Tesla: give people a chance to live their lives and separate work from that life otherwise you’re going to get short-circuited employees with zero ability , energy, or interest in invention.
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