5 Tips for honing creativity in business

5 Tips for honing creativity in business

Starting a business is no easy feat – it takes loads of perseverance, a lot of strategic thinking, and even a whole heap of creativity. Mentoring this batch of MMK students for their Entrepreneurship project, strategy and development professional and Genuine Ventures Managing Director Fabrizio Corradini says business and creativity go hand-in-hand. He explains that “while creativity and analytics are necessary complements, the latter should, in most cases, be used as a support to the former… From the conception of the product or service, configuring and promoting it in a meaningfully distinctive way, to building up the company and running it.”

That’s the kind of thinking students from the Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation specialisation had to run with. In the span of about a month, seven teams sought to identify opportunities to create valuable businesses. Factoring in the sustainability and viability of their concepts, each team focused on building brands that could innovate for a better world. Fabrizio adds, “the key challenge here, as in all organisations, was how to cultivate and maintain a fervent culture of innovation as they move through the various stages of their development.” 

To culminate their efforts in building their businesses, each team got to showcase the fruits of their labour at the 14th J. B. Say Entrepreneurship Festival, where they had a business fair at the Student Lounge to attract visitors and passers by, followed by the business pitch in front of an esteemed panel. The panellists were Fabrizio Corradini, Entrepreneurship professor Stela Ivanova, Katalist Co-Founder Pierre-Simon Ntiruhungwa, and Kokoon Co-Founder Alice Ivanoff. Keynote speakers Julien Decot (Director of International Business Development and Strategy at Intuit) and Maëva Tordo (Head of ESCP’s Blue Factory) gave inspiring speeches to the budding entrepreneurs, and networking and drinks concluded the event.

From a platform providing senior citizens a way to connect and meet each other through their interests, a meal subscription service so people with allergies can enjoy food like everyone else, to an online marketplace for sneaker buyers and sellers to connect and build their collections in a safe space, and more, each group’s creativity shone through, as no two brands aimed to solve the same problem. That just goes to show the amount of creativity and strategic thinking put into each team’s business building process. 

In an interview with Fabrizio, he said that in order to hone one’s creativity in the business world, “I’d recommend wisely picking the environment in which you will deploy your skills… There is a scope for creativity in pretty much every role, but some cultures are not favourable to it.” In terms of practice, he names five that are handy and useful to cultivate:

  • Relentless, broad, and empathetic curiosity: Every pertinent insight into customers’ needs requires understanding their aspirations and their end-to-end experience with your offering. Furthermore, valuable insights often come from outside your immediate field of activity or even industry
  • Systemic thinking: To design workable, innovative solutions requires the need to fully grasp the interconnectedness of activities within your organisation and those between it and its partners
  • Actively open-minded thinking: Always be willing to consider alternatives to your views and assumptions and never rush into conclusions
  • Willingness to constructively challenge orthodoxy: Bringing about change takes abundant tenacity and tact, and an environment that is open to change
  • Networking for influence: Reach out and connect widely within your organisation, solve problems creatively and get things done, and soon become that go-to person for the most interesting challenges