Making creativity part of company culture

William Bernbach, one of the three founders of the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), once said: “It may well be that creativity is the last unfair advantage we’re legally allowed to take over our competitors.”

During the 20 years that I have taught creative thinking, there have been fundamental shifts within our civilisation. For example, the rise of low cost distributed computing is perhaps best epitomised by the launch in 2007, by Apple Inc of the iPhone, one of the first smartphones to include a multi-touch interface. Apple is a hot bed of creative thinking and in May 2017 became the first US company to hit US$800 billion in value.

Globalisation, intense competition and the disruption of entire industries are now part of daily life. Underneath these dramatic changes, human beings are the same. The desire to be creative resides in all of us.

Creativity in its many forms outside of the work place is a good thing. Whether it belongs in the office environment is another question entirely. Some would say that creativity in business is OK for computer game producers, architects, advertising agencies and the like. I believe that it gives every organisation, regardless of size the edge within a fast changing environment. Making creativity a part of company culture will give you a competitive advantage, motivate staff and help to increase turnover and profitability.

A client asked me recently: “How can we make creativity part of everyday office life?”

Here is my response:

* Nominate a company (0r department) Creative Thinker each month.

* Buy some creative thinking books and leave them lying around the office.

* Use a creative thinking technique, such as Mind Mapping, the next time you encounter a problem.

* Take a walk with the people who are tackling the problem and discuss it as you move.

* Share creative thinking stories with each other.

* Talk about creative thinking during business meetings.

* Put up some creative thinking posters in the office.

* Mention creative thinking within internal newsletters.

* Blog about creative thinking.

* Let your customers know that you enjoy using creative thinking techniques.

* Share interesting creative thinking articles, stories, cuttings and books with your colleagues.

* Count the number of new ideas that your company / department generates each month and display the number where everyone can see it.

* Get senior management involved.

* Share creative thinking quotes around the office.

* Once a year, have a creative thinking away day.

* Ask non competitors to share their approach to creativity with you (and return the favour).

* Try using creativity software.

* Use creativity ice breakers to get meetings started.

* Invite artists, engineers, architects, authors and professors to talk about creativity.

* Announce an annual award for the best creative thinker within your organisation.

* Tell the media what you are doing.

* Never stop experimenting and learning.

What other ideas could you add to this list?

Nigel Temple is a creativity speaker and trainer. He delivers engaging creativity talks and creative thinking workshops for audiences of all sizes, anywhere in the world.


Are you a creative thinker?

Creative thinkingWould you say that you are a creative thinker? To a large extent, marketing is a creative thinking exercise. If you are able to generate new ideas on demand, you will be able to come up with more options. This is always a good thing in business and in marketing, as you need to experiment with different approaches.

With the advent of internet marketing, new ways to promote your business are being launched every day. See: 269 Ways to Promote Your Business. Some of us don’t like to change – however – change is now happening at a faster pace than ever before. An open mind and a creative approach will help you to take advantage of these marketing opportunities. Successful enterprises are creative and adaptable. Everyone can improve their skills in this area.

For 12 years, I taught Creative Thinking for the Chartered Institute of Marketing. They sent me all over the UK and throughout mainland Europe, teaching executives, managers, directors and marketing professionals how to become more creative. I have also taught creative thinking in schools. I found that everyone is creative – given the opportunity to be so. Coming up with ideas and solutions to challenges is hard wired into our brains – as this is part of the survival process. After all, when the food ran out, if our ancestors hadn’t been creative, we wouldn’t be here, would we?

When you are faced with your next challenge (and they do come thick and fast, don’t they?) think creatively in order to find alternative approaches. You can use an imaginative or logical approach, either working on your own or with colleagues. I use Mind Mapping a great deal (as you will see within my home page). There are a huge variety of creative thinking techniques and there will be a handful that consistently work for you.

See: Coming up with new ideas and finding time to think and Creative thinking for business and marketing

This is a big subject that I cover within my creative thinking training courses.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.’  ~ Henry Ford

Written by marketing consultant, trainer, speaker and author Nigel Temple.
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Creative thinking for business and marketing

I have found that business and marketing are creative thinking exercises. As a marketer, for example, you must be able to come up with new ideas all the time. The ability to generate new ideas on demand can be taught (I know, because I did this for 12 years when I was a CIM Faculty Member). Here is Mind Map which I use in idea generation sessions and marketing consultancy meetings: Marketing planning Mind Map by Nigel  TempleIn a fast changing world, you need to experiment with different approaches. You need to out-think the competition. You need to produce new ideas for products, services and promotion. You need to solve marketing challenges every day. It can seem never ending! Creative thinking is a skill, just like any other. It begins with the belief that you can do it, which begs the question: are you creative? I have asked thousands of seminar delegates this question and the show of hands is always surprising (what do you think the hands are telling me?)

Radical and innovate promotional techniques are arriving thick and fast. Some enterprises don’t like change. However, in the 21st century, change is happening at a faster pace than ever before. This is a Darwinian process: survival and success goes alongside the ability to adapt.

An open mind and a creative approach will help you to thrive and take advantage of new opportunities. The good news is that we can all improve our skills and abilities in this area.

There are 100s of creative thinking techniques which you can experiment with. Some are logical in their approach. Others use the human imagination. Some of the techniques are for personal use, whilst others are for team thinking. Some of them, like Mind Mapping, have wide applicability. Experiment with the techniques and apply them to your business and marketing challenges.

In conclusion, creative thinking for business and marketing is a key issue.  If you aren’t coming up with new ideas on a regular basis, perhaps it is time to change your approach.

Learn about my Creative Thinking training courses.

To find out more, email or call Joanna on +44 (0)1628 773128.

~ Mind Map © Nigel Temple ~ Mind Mapping was created by Tony Buzan~

Creative thinking skills

Creative thinking skills give you an unfair advantage in business. If you can create new ideas on demand, you’ll be better equipped to overcome challenges, create new product ideas and sail past the competition. The question is, are you a creative thinker?

I have asked several thousand seminar delegates this question (I taught Creative Thinking for Marketers for 12 years at CIM, the Chartered Institute of Marketing). It was always interesting to watch people’s reactions to this question. Sadly, the majority of delegates did not raise their hands. Which is a shame, as every human being is naturally creative.

Creativity is all about coming up with new ideas. Immediately, we encounter the first challenge, as the human brain may respond by saying: “Oh, I can’t do that!”

The answer is to be open to the idea of thinking about alternatives, to any given challenge. At this stage, you don’t have to actually come up with new ideas – you just have to be OK with the belief that you can do this.

The next stage is to be able to come up with several options, to a given challenge. Two or three options would be OK. A larger number would be better, as the quality of your solutions is directly connected to the number of options you generate.

Here is an exercise for you. The next time you encounter a challenge, think of at least three ways to solve it. I would be interested to know how you get on. You are welcome to post a reply to this blog or you could let me know via

Incidentally, I offer creative thinking training – this can be delivered 1-2-1, to small groups or to audiences of any size.