Why smart business leaders LOVE creativity

7 compelling reasons to invest in innovation right now


A recent global survey of 1,500 leaders showed eight of ten CEOs considered innovation vital to reap the benefits of the economic recovery.[i] Business creativity produces ideas which break the mould and have the potential to turn a profit. Smart leaders love business creativity because it….

Delivers ALL new products and services

Let’s face it, human breakthroughs since the dawn of time have begun with a single spark of creativity. It first happened when a caveman (or woman!) grabbed a stick and thought “hmmm, what can I do with this?”

Improves business processes

Even in an economic downturn incremental steps to lower cost and improve quality keep the flame of business creativity going strong.

Improves returns on R&D investment

Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton analysed the top thousand R&D spenders. The result surprised everybody. It showed there’s no relationship at all between R&D spending and shareholder returns. American Academic Keith Sawyer argues investment is ineffective because it’s often funnelled into a single R&D team. “Collaborative organisations are creative in all divisions,” he argues.

Wins the War for Talent

Sadly, the majority of people report they are unengaged by work. So, how can you persuade the best talent to love working for you? Be more creative – it attracts staff. It’s especially true for younger workers demanding more transparency, authenticity and freedom at work than ever before.[ii]

Helps companies avoid the ‘Kodak Moment’

Business creativity is the only long-term response to a world of accelerating change. Change means extinction to businesses that find themselves wedded to the “old ways”. Famously, Kodak invented digital technology but then refused to cannibalise its lucrative film-based business model. The company went bankrupt in 2012; suicide by complacency.

Makes more money

Finally, the commercial clincher. A battery of analytical studies show businesses which innovate outperform their rivals. Put simply: companies which produce a stream of new ideas and transform them into new products make more money.

Check out my new book The Spark: How to Ignite and Lead Business Creativity (Financial Times Publishing) available at all good bookshops and on Amazon.

[i] BCG Report Innovation 2010 A Return to Prominence – and the Emergence of a New World Order

[ii] Great expectations: managing Generation Y, Institute of Leadership & Management and  Ashridge Business School, 2011