Failure of Creatives in Business

Creativity begins with a belief and ends with the result.  The belief has to be in yourself, though the (primary) result has to be for others.

If you think you are creative, you have the belief.  If your customer thinks you add the value they need, you have the result.

Between the belief and the result lie many aspects that will do good to focus on.  How do we translate our belief into results?

  1. Belief
  2. Recognition of abilities, typically from recognition by others of results
  3. Development of Skills
  4. Finding Opportunities to practice skills
  5. The Discipline of practice, leading to results by design (Disciplined Expression of Solutions Implied by Gathered Needs), using a Method.
  6. The Projection of results
  7. Recognition of results

Over years of working in creative teams, teams of consultants, designers, creators, reviewers, and sales professionals, the challenge of managing creative people took significance for me.  By the very definition that most people believe of ‘creativity’, creative people ought to be difficult, if not impossible to manage.  The very concept of a ‘process’ for them is to limit possibilities, to limit creativity, to limit their own potential.

Fallacies of Creative people:

  • Self-centered, self-importance
  • Arrogance
  • Mistaken or incomplete in their understanding of
  • What they do,
  • How they do it,
  • Who they do it for,
  • Why they do it.
    • Regardless of other people, and regardless of others’ value in their own life – anti-collaboration
    • Belief that ‘being innovative’ requires ‘being a maverick’
    • Belief that processes stifle creativity
    • Cardinal sin of Creativity – believing that you know what the customer wants better than the customer himself.  You may know their needs better, but not their wants.

These fallacies lead to inability in being open to others, improving themselves, receiving inputs, becoming useful to others, remaining useful, or even growing in their usefulness to others (like their employers).

  • Inability to receive feedback
  • Inability to acknowledge and change what they want
  • Inability to seek beyond themselves

The ones who are able to open up to receive are the ones who are able to give, and the best ones of us are able to give more than we get.  Possibly an important question for all Creatives to know the answer to is whether the purpose of their creativity is for others or for themselves.  There is undoubtedly a fulfillment we all feel when we are able to create, but in Business it is imperative to focus on creating value for others and to seek fulfillment therein for ourselves.

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One comment on “Failure of Creatives in Business

  1. Hi Mukul,

    As expected, you have once again expressed your ideas in a structured manner, with an interesting backronym. Please seriously consider publishing a book on backronym or put them all together in an electronic version.

    In the present write up, you have used the term ‘manage’ (reads ‘handle’) in place of ‘work’ with creative people. I think this is the biggest gap. Allow me to give an example.
    Once, I wanted to create an e-learning course without the next and the back buttons for design reasons. My manager was appalled by the idea. He feared that it could be a complete failure and possibly ruin the relationship with the client. And with a little back luck, the office will be nuked for such arbitrary mischief. Luckily, he had to proceed on leave and I could present the idea to the client. The client understood why it was being suggested and we all could hear a big smile over the telephone. The instructional design team started working on the concept; however, as it turned out later, the manager had already instructed the graphics designers to ‘conceptualize’ a ‘vibrant graphics user interface’, which, as managed, turned out to be totally out of sync with the overall concept!! It took a lot to manage the manager.

    You largely attribute the ‘failure of creative in business’ to certain ‘fallacies’ of creative people. Have we ever tried to take these ‘fallacies’ as ‘traits’? Have we ever wondered as to why creative people ‘happen to possess’ these traits? These traits could be useful in doing what they are supposed to do. In fact, some of these traits that you have mentioned become accentuated when these ‘creative people’ face bottlenecks that managers create mostly because of their lack of understanding or a different perspective towards the work to be done. This is the reason why ‘managers’ and the ‘creative people’ need to ‘work with each other’ and not ‘manage’ each other. The least that the most seniors in the organization can do is to create a work culture of equal collaboration, learning stance, and alliance attitude. In a formal setting, the results of creativity will percolate from the top to the bottom.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It will not be too much to ask that you please write more frequently. You might not make everyone agree with you all the time, but you will never fail to provoke and inspire others to investigate.

    Warm regards,


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