Creativity is a concept that generations of artists, performers, thinkers, businesspeople, politicians, and many others have sweated blood in trying to define, all in completely different ways: one person's creativity really is another's pile of garbage.
But the search for the “big idea” is one that dominates the agenda of communicators, marketers, and business strategists alike as they search for the elusive elixir that can superpower their business or organization.
There's no point being “creative” if the activity doesn't move the needle from an effectiveness point of view. Indeed, one of the accusations often leveled at advertising agencies is that they produce creative work aimed more at winning awards than increasing sales or changing behaviors.
The landscape in which creativity exists has changed exponentially over the years, moving a long way from the 30-second spot into the realm of interaction, conversation, and content development.
But in and amongst these changes, creativity in a business context still ultimately has to be joined at the hip with demonstrating real operational results.
This month's issue reflects creativity on a number of fronts, from our fascinating C-Factors Survey produced in conjunction with Allison+Partners; through our Newsmaker profile of Doug Michelman, who is evolving Visa from a payments company into a creative content producer; to the innovation of our Diversity Distinction in PR Awards winners; to our communications pioneers in Asia, who are defining an industry as they go along in a continent of incredible contrasts.
These truly are examples of creativity operating as a means to a business end, rather than an end in itself.