Adapt and thrive with creativity, conviction, continuity and courage

By: Bill Van Eron Monday February 16, 2015 0 comments Tags: Bill Van Eron

The Innovation Advantage with Bill Van Eron


By Bill Van Eron

CMO, Value Creation Strategist

Headwaters Marketing

Creativity -- In this ongoing age of flux, our definition and application of creativity has to be expanded well beyond design or product development as most understand, to a more holistic view of all the elements affecting a market, and how they interact now. Then, what defines a more ideal or critical interaction.

For me, lesser understood systems-thinking or influencer ecosystems modeling begin to characterize how an expanded view of creativity have and will open new doors and paths for business to succeed. It can also integrate personal goals without sacrificing either, as was common the last few decades through today. The rise of UX design, Design Think, and a sharp rise in the demand for creativity in business as the top skill are all early clues. These illustrate the need to shed practices, mindsets and skills groomed in an age when change was the exception, routines and efficiency predictability dominated management attention and control ruled the land.

Now we all need to embrace and enjoy a silent-yet-vital power shift underway. Surely those who opt to resist this vital transformation will be likened to yesterday's dinosaurs as they witness early symptoms, such as the erosion in employee engagement and customer confidence.

Until recent times, most businesses were not regarded as being designed for people; thus enabling employees to expand their passion and contribution quotient; or to rank personal needs and hopes into the overall priority business equation. Creativity - unleashed, expanded, personalized and symphonically orchestrated -- will truly benefit every organization that seeks to stand up in its market space. The sum of these 4 attributes will help many to begin an honest transformation to adapt in this new trust economy and amidst increased flux. It helps to recognize the role and attributes that folks with broader creative thinking skills bring whether as inside talent or as external advisors.

Conviction - The opposite of conviction as intended here is strong opinions amidst a field of closed-mindedness. It's great to have opinions and demonstrate expertise as long as you stay open-minded to what others have to say about your hypothesis before it earns the designation as a conviction. Besides, anyone so convinced they have a worthwhile conviction should be pleased to test it against however realities can be defined and gathered. Also, don't confuse conviction with analytics gone wild, as convictions should be the result of smart customer motivational or resistance insight, thus more human-based than Big Data or sales report-based info reveals. Yeah, Steve Jobs had many traits, but conviction may have been his greatest one. Think: How many people do you know whose convictions stand above hardheadedness, ego or closed mindedness? How many have convictions that are bold, inspiring and inclusive? You may be scratching your head if you are like most. Having an organizational conviction in which ideas will be encouraged, along with outside-in and inside-out objectivity, and challenging the status quo is a good one to add to the very culture of any organization. Imagine in politics how convictions as based on how to do something better versus how to just say no (obstructionism) would change the confidence of an entire nation.

Continuity - This begs comparison with the Field of Dreams movie with regard to the spirit of the game captured and delivered in its purest value as inclusive to all yet touching the soul of everyone involved. Quite the opposite of 'build it and they will come' closed approaches. With all the attention to managing the customer experience, one would think more would understand and benefit by increased human attention to support versus all the automated robotic answering machine approaches. What customers have to say after a purchase is where their experience with you starts in most cases, unless your brand promise precedes you (i.e. Patagonia). Continuity also happens when all customer touch points personally reinforce the intended brand rather than a wild array of personal interpretations. Imagine symphonic delivery of your brand.

Courage - This perhaps is the most important element and hardest historically to achieve as most bureaucracies naturally force people into patterns that limit us and in turn limit what that company can be. There may be instances when having courage initially isolates you from factions within and outside of an organization -ironically, when having courage about doing the right thing clearly endears you to a market. A win-win scenario is when courage is attached to an attribute everyone cares about. When I summed up my courage to challenge the status quo in HP, Agilent and for most clients when I chose to tell all what they needed to understand as constructively as possible versus what they wanted to hear, I was fortunate to earn the attribute as a 'customer champion' and secondary attributes as a 'creative thinker.' I suspect winning early and winning big helped my case as having courage and being wrong can equate to an early career exit strategy ... or so the fear was that still prevents many from following their gut and their values. Rest assured, having courage to put forth what is right to do is vital if your organization wants to remain vital in its customer's view of them. So courage starts with personal courage to challenge conventional patterns and that can soon become an organization's culture. Certainly, when an organization encourages this, it becomes more widespread faster.

Good luck applying these principles as they do work and are highly relevant today. Call or email me if you'd like to know more or begin the transformation in your organization. I eagerly give credit where it's due, yet being among the 1% that really get this and know how to help others to apply it, I can only encourage you to dive in and seek help as where others learn to apply these principles and other methods that build trust, engage all, are relevant and is self-evident across any organization; that becomes your winning formula. Probably only 5% of the businesses today apply this to its full potential and they are all leaders in their fields.

So great timing to jump in.
Bill Van Eron

About the Author: Bill Van Eron

Bill Van Eron, Founder of Headwaters Marketing & Innovation (970-221-0751, easily wears the hat of Chief Insurgency Officer, along with many other hats modeled for today. His path has been collaborative, innovative, conscious, inspiring & enabling high performance teams & companies by applying marketing – insurgent to conventions that yield low real value - as an asset builder across functional effectiveness, earning credibility, relevance, and value creation. Bill has evolved the ability to earn regard across the business and market ecosystems that define success. Bill is motivated to help organizations proactively and objectively that want to be better to assess where they really are, get past the abundance of ordinary, to embrace the values that define robust internal and external regard. When your entire career existed on the bleeding edge, today’s high change economy rewards the eternally curious, open minds to see through solutions where they offer limits, and instead opt to raise the bar on what is possible & practical.