Creativity: It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

The only quote about advertising I’ve ever committed to memory that wasn’t uttered by Bill Bernbach is this wonderful thought from the late Jay Chiat: “Creative is not a department.

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago Advertising
Creativity in the Wild: A Bowerbird Nest

Creativity should never be the sole provence of one group.  Some of us were lucky enough to grow up with teachers and parents telling us we are creative.  That simple encouragement can open a child’s imagination.  At the same time, not hearing that, or worse, being told you definitely are not creative, inevitably leads to restriction, to setting governors on expectations, even for ourselves.  That’s no way to live.

Creativity is the fun part of life.  It’s the chocolate sprinkles, the fresh daisies in a canning jar, the grin-inducing scribbles in the margins of daily life.

And if you believe Harvard Ph.D.’s, it’s also a necessary skill for thriving in our modern times.  This Huffington Post article by Shelley Carson outlines her overview on the many ways she thinks creativity has become more crucial to all of us.  In many ways, her thesis echoes Daniel Pink’s from his wonderful book “A Whole New Mind.”

Business people should need no more evidence than today’s Apple’s earnings report.  Driven by the phenomenal success of their new iPad, they were able to report their most successful financial quarter in the company’s history.  And what is the iPad?  It’s a tablet computer, but those already existed.  It doesn’t have any USB ports or a camera and it famously doesn’t support Flash.  But it is beautiful.  In the words of the toy industry, “it has exceptional play value.”  In other words, in a world of electronic devices, the iPad takes a far more creative approach to function.  And they’ve been rewarded handsomely.

The best part about increasing our emphasis on creativity is that it just makes life more interesting.  And frankly, that’s a worthy goal for any human being.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


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