Companies are failing to realise creativity across the organisation: Nicole Velik

Creativity shouldn't be the domain of one group of individuals, but it's up to business leaders to foster creative thinking, says Nicole Velik

Nicole Velik
Nicole Velik

The marketing and advertising industry has done more than any other to enshrine the term ‘creative’ as a job description rather than simply as a personal characteristic. But to assume that creativity resides in one set of individuals alone is to ignore the latent creativity scattered across an organisations.

Nicole Velik has built her career on unlocking latent creativity. As a brand strategist with kirshenbaum bond + partners in New York, she was tasked with managing brainstorming sessions across the firm’s client portfolio.

Now as founding director of the Ideas Bodega she works with organisations across Australia to unlock their creative potential by training managers and workers in innovation, creativity and idea generation. Contrary to conventional organisational structures, Velik believes everyone can be creative when properly stimulated, and can also be taught to unlock that creative streak. Her belief was reinforced after a recent project working with a group of actuaries.

“People think they need to outsource creativity, when in reality there are all these amazing people running around in organisations ideas with, but with no one or no platform to give them to,” Velik said.

“That comes from our society, which puts people on one side of the fence – you are either deemed creative or non-creative. And where that comes from is a massive misunderstanding about what creativity in a business context is. People confuse creative expression with creative thinking.”

Speaking ahead of her appearance at the Creative Innovation 2015 conference in Melbourne from March 23, Velik pointed to numerous factors preventing organisations from unlocking the creative potential of their employees.

“A very simple thing I do when people walk in for a brainstorm is say ‘leave your titles at the door’,” she said. “There are certain skills that a copywriter or a designer has that obviously need to be honoured and respected, but an actual idea can come from anywhere.

“It is doing organisations a disservice to not utilise the people in an organisation by thinking ideas need to come from a few certain people. Everyone is in the business of creativity, or you just shouldn’t be in business.”

Even in highly creative organisations, Velik said there are numerous barriers to creative outcomes. Firstly, many don’t allocate sufficient time to creative thinking, she said. Also, for the creative process to be effective, it is essential that sufficient effort be made to ensure the challenge set is appropriate, and be not so broad as to deliver unworkable solutions.

“Most people don’t spend enough time upfront doing the strategic work and figuring out what they are trying to do,” Velik said.

Organisations should also be willing to be more inventive when it comes to finding sources of creative innovation, she continued. While data can provide fantastic insights, stripping out the context of the problem to be solved and looking outside of the organisation – and specifically past its industry peers – can provide new models to explore.

Velik cited the fitness industry as one example, where there is a constant challenge to recruit new members.

“The next question I train people to ask themselves is where in the world has that challenge been solved before,” she said. “Great examples of recruitment can be anywhere from the Army to Facebook and LinkedIn, and in religion. So you can gather all these amazing ideas.

“As a gym, it is not natural to think about what the Army or Hillsong are doing to recruit. But when you look at what they are doing and you see that method is working, you can appropriate that.”

However, ensuring creativity becomes part of the everyday environment requires strong leadership and a culture that rewards creativity.

“As a leader, look for the ‘closet creatives’ in your organisation,” Velik advised. “Walk the floor and get down and talk to people. And then nurture them.

“Everyone wants to love what they do and everyone wants contribution and recognition in their jobs, creativity is the best way to give both of those things. Individual leaders can do so much, and it doesn’t need to cost anything.”

CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

The rise of the conscious consumer

The concept of consumers boycotting brands and publishers isn’t a new one.

Jodie Sangster

CEO, ADMA

Cannes 2017: The Machines Are Here

It’s day 4 in Cannes and among the ever-growing divergent panels, presentations and workshops spanning from one end of the Croisette to the other, there has been a very real emergence of how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning needs to fit into the marketing ecosystem of today and tomorrow.

Aden Hepburn

Executive creative director and managing director, VML Australia

Is your content marketing missing the mark?

Does it ever seem like the content you create falls flat on its face or that the leads you’re generating aren’t worth following up?

Dan Ratner

managing director, uberbrand

Great Hire - Congrats Dan & Solotel

Tom Phillips

Solotel taps Dan Lacaze as first group marketing director

Read more

One more start-up to disrupt the trucking industry. Well the market is hot. Uber Freight, Doft, Trucker Path... Still no one of these ube...

Sergey

Uber for the truckies: How one Aussie startup is disrupting the freight industry

Read more

Typo"claiming no other email service protects its users form spam, hacking and phishing as successfully as Gmail"I'm sure Google can help...

OlliesBlog

Google to stop scanning personal Gmail accounts for ad targeting

Read more

It is interesting. Rebrand is very good. Perhaps they should change the logo to something more modern. For example as it is - https://www...

David Hill

Grace Group undergoes first rebrand in 30 years to unify and contemporise

Read more

Hey Guys, just one small typo that changes a part of the story :“That was a really big step forward for our company because we didn’t hav...

Damian Young

Chobani tastes success with data analytics platform

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in