“Creativity is a process of preparing, generating and having ideas as well as the process of making those ideas happen,” says Fredrik Härén, founder of interesting.org and renowned author of The Idea Book and The Developing World.
The fine line between creativity and business seems to lie in the last part of the process – making those ideas happen, and of course, making the ‘idea’ sell. An idea, put simply by Fredrik, is a combination of at least two previously known things in a new way that is better than what we used to do.
And the value of creativity in business is coming up with the idea that is different and better to which one can confidently sell it. “Customers are people. And people tend to be lazy. They just do what they did before. So if you start a new company, you need to be able to convince people who are clients somehwere else to swtich to you – and to get them to do that you need to offer something that is different and better – and that calls for creativity,” Fredrik advises.
However, often, new start-ups tend to fall into different traps of entrepreneurship process: to develop a highly creative but ultimately useless product; to create a fine and useful product, but fail to define the right target market; to have a fine and useful product, well-defined market, but fail in the execution process.
The foundations of a successful business are laid once a good idea meets a good execution. This is the point where creativity and business meet. In order to move forward it is essential to build a symbiotic relationship between the creativity and its execution.
We often talk about successful start-ups, but we tend to forget the high proportion of failures.
We must look at these examples and reflect on the mistakes, and avoid them when starting a new business. For instance, Phogo was a mobile application that used package/image recognition to deliver product information in a user-friendly way to mobile phone screens.
The idea was good, the market well defined, but the product never made it because of poor execution. The founding team could not combine their full time jobs with the start-up idea which fatally slowed down the release of the product. As time passed, some key people left the team which made deadlines even more elusive.
Clearly, the value of creativity in business is to be met with good execution – and this is where many new ventures find themselves inadequate.
In order to build the symbiotic relationship between creativity and execution, many young entrepreneurs seek to find a mentor – an experienced professional to guide them through the process. The entrepreneurial team is also crucial, so a high priority should be given to finding the right people to contribute extra skills to your idea. Individually, you should question everything and seek alternative opinions as often as possible. In this process your idea will slowly take its shape and will become real and presentable.
Once your start-up idea is ready, it is time for the ultimate test of presenting it to potential investors. A good way to do it is to look for likeminded people who can provide funding. The Pitch It! competition in September is one such forum. Held yearly in Singapore as part of Asia on the Edge, it gives upcoming creative entrepreneurs a stage where they can present their ideas in front of potential investors.
Fredrik, who is evaluating this year’s contestants, says that business ideas should make the world a better place to live – ultimately the goal of business is to serve people in a clever and sustainable way.
Sandra Peev – Guest Contributor
Sandra is a marketing specialist with experience in starting up business in Europe. She was part of a start up team for a management consulting company in Europe, where she gained a first-hand experience on building a business from scratch. Before moving to Singapore at the beginning of 2012, Sandra also worked as a Project Manager at one of the leading and fastest growing communication agencies in Central and Eastern Europe. She is a passionate traveler and relishes exploring exotic destinations. Sandra is a travel correspondent for the US based Reach the World Foundation and blogger for INSEAD Business School.
Special Thanks to Asia on the Edge for this article
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