National Creativity Month

LetterHead TemplaateJanuary is National Creativity Month

I can’t help but wonder if creativity is valued in corporate America today? 



After 10 years in a corporate marketing position, the company I worked for was bought out by a REIT. When the new team took over there were many changes in senior level directors as well as cultural changes. During one of my first meetings with the new Executive Vice President, I asked him if he valued creativity. He responded, “As long as it drives ROI to the bottom line.” The message was clear, shortly thereafter every meeting and action plan was spreadsheet based and accounting focused. The marketing planning process, which used to include a big idea brainstorming session, was reduced to revenue statistics and measurable KPIs with little to no idea exchange. Don’t get me wrong, businesses should be about profits and driving revenue but I distinctly felt like a fish out of water when I so much as suggested a new idea or a different way to look at something.


Just as I was feeling a bit discouraged about the power of creativity and the value of idea generation in today’s workplace, I stumbled across a speech that the late Steve Job’s gave during his commencement address; “Stay Hungry & Stay Foolish.” As it turns out so many of today’s successful companies were built on the principals of innovation and creativity. 3M’s late president was famous for saying, “Listen to anyone with an original idea, no matter how absurd it may sound at first. If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.” — William McKnight.


So how can you harness creativity and turn it into innovation? Creativity is the birth of an idea, innovation is the action it takes to put it in place. Both need to be valued and nurtured in order to grow. After all, aren’t we in business to solve problems and find new opportunities?


Here are some ideas to help cultivate creativity in your work place.


1. Reward creativity and creative accomplishments. When employees come up with suggestions cultivate the idea. The best motivation is to listen, take action and put ideas into practice.

2. Be willing to foster different points of view. Make it fun, create an idea challenge that goes across departmental lines.

3. Hire and mix employees with different backgrounds, cultures and experiences. Include all departments in brainstorming and idea creation.

4. Expect creativity, let all your employees know part of their job is to think and come up with ideas.

5. Make it a pleasure to share new ideas in your company, disallow the use of negative mental blocks such as; That’s not my area, I’m not creative, We tried that, That will never work.

6. Brainstorm the right way. Hold a session with mixed departments and managers with varying backgrounds. Collaborate on idea generation and allow for debate during the session because debate often fuels better and stronger ideas. Be careful not to let the debate turn to blame storming. Never accept the first idea, go for quantity, and always try to get one more idea. If we always remain curious and willing to take risks we will succeed.


Innovation and creativity is one of the greatest natural resources we have and continue to put America in the forefront of the world.


If you are interested in learning more about generating new, fresh ideas to drive your business forward or would like to conduct a Brainstorming Session please contact us today. 


Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at or