First, it’s important to understand what exactly creativity is. In its simplest sense, creativity is a function of knowledge, curiosity, imagination, and evaluation. The greater your knowledge base and level of curiosity, the more ideas, patterns, and combinations you can achieve, which then correlates to creating new and innovative products and services. But merely having the knowledge does not guarantee the formation of new patterns. The bits and pieces must be shaken up and iterated in new ways. Then the embryonic ideas must be evaluated and developed into usable ideas. In other words, there really is a process.
Daniel Burrus' Strategic Insights Blog
Those who are truly creative don’t copy what others do; instead, they might use innovative ideas from others as a springboard to come up with a unique application, product, or service for themselves. They tend to distance themselves from the competition rather than compete with them. If they see another company or person copying what they do, they create something new and better. In other words, they are able to leverage their creativity and their innovative capabilities to attain long-term success.
Hiring employees can be time consuming and expensive. Having started six companies I understand that. So you want to make sure you’re bringing in the right people who have a genuine interest in the position. Are your new hires and current employees excited about what they do? Or is it just a job for them?
There’s a big difference between a job, a career, and a calling.
Over the years I’ve started six companies: five were profitable in their first year, with three of them becoming U.S. leaders in that same time span. From this experience, I’ve learned that the most important part of a company is not its technology, buildings, offices, or brand; rather, the most important element of any company is its people. How so? Because even though we live in a technical world, we also live in a human world. So when people are performing at their peak, your company can do amazing things.
Thanks to exponential advances in processing power, bandwidth, and storage (what I call the three change accelerators), the business environment is undergoing a major transformation. I have been tracking the trajectory of these three change accelerators for the past thirty years and they have now entered a predictable new phase—one that will transform every business process. In fact, based on the technology-enabled hard trends that are already in place, including advances in cloud computing and virtualization, over the next five years we will transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train, and educate.
I have been writing about 3D Printing (also called Additive Manufacturing) for over 20 years. At first the technology was used for rapid prototyping. Over the past few years, however, rapid advances in processing power, storage, and bandwidth have catapulted this technology into a tool for manufacturing finished products that include jewelry, shoes, dresses, car dashboards, parts for jet engines, jawbones for humans, replacement parts for synthesizers, and much more.
The companies that have done the best over the long haul are those who are the most creative and innovative. These organizations don’t copy what others do; instead, they may use innovative ideas from others as a spring board to come up with a unique application, product, or service for themselves. They tend to distance themselves from the competition rather than compete with them. If they see another company copying what they do, they create something new and better. In other words, they are able to leverage their creativity and their innovative capabilities to attain long-term success.
I recently took my first trip to Iceland in order to do some speaking and consulting with one of my clients. As I rode in the car to my hotel, I noticed a huge manufacturing plant—obviously a major source of income and employment for the country.
I asked the driver what it was, and he said, “That’s an aluminum plant. We make aluminum here.”
In Florence, I saw David, Michelangelo’s amazing sculpture. I also refreshed my memory about the history of that sculpture which is a great story of innovation, courage, and reinvention. Historians have well documented the fact that Michelangelo was very competitive with other artists. When other sculptures looked at the large piece of marble that was selected for this sculpture that was being commissioned, they decided it was not a good piece of marble and would be too difficult to work with. So they passed on it.
In a recent blog post, I suggested that the role of the CIO needs to shift from that of a Chief Information Officer to a Chief Innovation Officer, largely due to the massive, rapid, multiple technology-driven transformations that are occurring today. And, just as the CIO’s role needs to change, so too does the CTO’s role—from Chief Technology Officer to Chief Transformation Officer. This fundamental shift is necessary in order to not only maintain but also elevate the position’s contribution and relevance within the organization.