’Everything is invention, and the need to innovate must be preceded by a sound comprehension.’ These are the words of Antonio Marquez, talking about Flamenco dancing.
’Everything is invention, and the need to innovate must be preceded
by a sound comprehension.’ These are the words of Antonio Marquez,
talking about Flamenco dancing.
’Discovery is in part seeing what everyone else has seen, but thinking
what no one else has thought. It also involves taking paths overlooked
or shunned by the crowd.’ Here, Charles Townes was talking about
’Redesign is not so much having a new idea, as stopping having an old
idea.’ John Gage was talking about science, but doesn’t this idea -
don’t all these ideas - hold equally true for PR?
What do the ’greatest professional dancer’ in Spain, the inventor of the
laser beam and the director of the Science Office of Sun Microsystems
have in common with each other and with PR? They all spoke at the
Zermatt Symposium on Creative Leadership in Economics, Arts and Science
this past January, where I participated in a panel that connected the
varied speakers’ contributions to the interests of the business
Obviously much of what the speakers said was right on target with how we
should be thinking about creativity in PR. Many are lessons I’ve been
working to ingrain for years, but how validating to hear them echoed by
Nobel Prize winners like Townes.
In order to discover, one must look for new input. But how many of us
prefer to proceed with the information provided to us? How many of us
remain more comfortable doing things the same way again and again? Why
is the unknown path perceived as such a dangerous one, when it can lead
to untold new vistas?
And why, above all, when we are finally ready to innovate and ’invent,’
are we too rushed to take the time to dig deeply and really grasp the
problem we’re trying to solve? What is this race to find a solution when
we haven’t identified the problem? How can we attempt, as Marquez said,
’to build a house by starting with the roof’?
Part of the problem that prevents us from doing this is our deadline
mentality. We need to take the time to think through our problems, delve
into them, connect with their essence, and then our responses will be
significantly more creative and successful.
Creativity comes from structure. It is essential to build the foundation
first. We must define what is needed in order to refine our
We gain that edge from ’applied’ creativity; creativity by application
solves the problem.
Gage said that ’small changes can have unexpected results.’ Let’s make
some small - but strategic - changes and see what comes of it: it may
not win you a Nobel Prize, but it is likely to get your ideas moving
more closely in step with your client’s needs.