Robert Redford urges businesses to embrace risk and take creativity more seriously

Respected actor and director shares his own experiences of reinvention during the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit

Creativity and business are intertwined and one cannot exist without the other, respected US actor and director, Robert Redford, told attendees at this year’s Adobe Summit.

Speaking from his own experience of the importance of artistic endeavour, Redford said creativity is a key part of how we transform and innovate not only as people, but also as organisations and society.

To further illustrate the point, Redford pointed out natural forms such as Planet Earth are created as the result of chaos followed by order. In a corporate environment, he labelled art/creativity the chaos, and business the order that follows it.

“Business has to follow chaos, it can’t come first,” he claimed. “Art is where the ideas start and catch fire. Once that happens, then you can make sense of it.

“Computers and the Internet, for example, have enormous value in our society but what they do is calculate the many ways of seeing something. It’s creativity that conceptualises that; you need that to innovate.”

While readily admitting to having an artistic prejudice, Redford called on more organisations to advocate creativity as a way of evolving and growing, and said art should be included much earlier in the education curriculum. He recalled a teacher from his early childhood who recognised his drawing in class to be an expression of an artistic bent, and actively encouraged it. This led him to pursue what most would recognise today as a highly successful artistic career.

“Creativity has too often been viewed as a trivial pursuit,” Redford added. “Art needs to be given more value; then order can follow it.”

Redford also talked through how he has been able to keep reinventing his own career, and cited instinct, intuition and taking risks as key elements.

“Not taking a risk is a risk; I think taking the risk is what propels you forward,” he said in response to a question from Adobe CMO, Ann Lewnes, on what it takes to reinvent yourself.

“One of the inevitable aspects of life is the role change plays... I’ve always tried to make this a positive thing in life. You should use change to create something new.”

Redford said the Sundance Film Institute and Festival, which he founded in 1981, is an example of a project that has gone through many iterations as it matured, experience several failures along the way. Adobe is a long-standing corporate partner for the independent film festival, which runs in Utah annually and focuses on actively encouraging risk-taking storytellers worldwide.

“There were a lot of roadblocks on the road which you could see as failures, but which I saw them in a positive way,” Redford said. “Some people see failure as a stop point, but I see it as a step along the road and something you use it to your advantage if you can.

“There are many things I’ve tried that didn’t work, but I felt so strongly about them being good ideas that I pursued them and kept pushing through. Either you completely stop, and are institutionalised, or you find out that failure was just a step and not the end result.”

In a similar manner, Redford said success was another component of the journey, but warned against embracing it as the end game.

“I see success as something you shadow box with but don’t embrace,” he said. “If you embrace it, it could stop you from innovating. I don’t like to get too close to it because success can have a dark side too.

“I don’t tend to measure success by awards, as that’s often too political. Awards are an acknowledgment and something I’m grateful for when I receive them, but I then move along.

“If you get too connected to the success you gained, rather than seeing it as a step, it could actually stop you. Sometimes people get so consumed by it, they forget to use that success to propel themselves forward in other new forms.”

- Nadia Cameron attended Adobe Summit as a guest of Adobe.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Nice blog!Blog is really informative , valuable.keep updating us with such amazing blogs.influencer agency in Melbourne

Rajat Kumar

Why flipping Status Quo Bias is the key to B2B marketing success

Read more

good this information are very helpful for millions of peoples customer loyalty Consultant is an important part of every business.

Tom Devid

Report: 4 ways to generate customer loyalty

Read more

Great post, thanks for sharing such a informative content.

CodeWare Limited

APAC software company brings on first VP of growth

Read more

This article highlights Gartner’s latest digital experience platforms report and how they are influencing content operations ecosystems. ...

vikram Roy

Gartner 2022 Digital Experience Platforms reveals leading vendor players

Read more

What about this one FormDesigner.pro? I think it's a great platform providing a lot of options, you can collect different data and work w...

Salvador Lopez

Gartner highlights four content marketing platform players as leaders

Read more

Blog Posts

​Why we need to look at the whole brand puzzle, not just play with the pieces

Creating meaningful brands should be a holistic and considered process. However, all too frequently it’s one that is disparate and reactive, where one objective is prioritized at the expense of all others. So, what are the key pieces to the ‘good’ brand puzzle?

Marketing overseas? 4 ways to make your message stick

Companies encounter a variety of challenges when it comes to marketing overseas. Marketing departments often don’t know much about the business and cultural context of the international audiences they are trying to reach. Sometimes they are also unsure about what kind of marketing they should be doing.

Cynthia Dearin

Author, business strategist, advisor

From unconscious to reflective: What level of data user are you?

Using data is a hot topic right now. Leaders are realising data can no longer just be the responsibility of dedicated analysts or staff with ‘data’ in their title or role description.

Dr Selena Fisk

Data expert, author

Sign in