You might think that being creative doesn’t stack up well with business. After all, the stereotype of the suffering artist or writer wrestling with the Muse doesn’t sound like a great candidate to be running a company, right? But in fact, creative people make outstanding entrepreneurs.
Researchers have found that there are a number of characteristics creatives share, which can make them innovative and successful businesspeople.
- Creatives are innovative
Creative people tend to take a different, even quirky view of the world. They have flexible, adaptive minds and can often find solutions to tricky problems. And they’re really good at coming up with lots of new ideas.
- Creative processes mirror business processes.
It might sound surprising, but the stages of developing a creative project are very similar to those involved in setting up a business. Commonly there are four steps to each enterprise. There is a research phase, gathering information about an issue, product, or problem. There is an ‘incubation; stage where this information gets processed, followed by a big breakthrough Eureka moment when the solution becomes clear. Then comes the final testing phase, where the creative/entrepreneur tests the solution to see if it works. This applies whether you’re setting up a business, launching a new product, or writing a novel.
- Creatives and entrepreneurs work in the same conditions
Both creatives and entrepreneurs work in a flexible, highly changeable environment. There is the freedom to float and test new ideas in a less structured environment than a regular job or company.
There are risks and sometimes high stakes involved, but for the creative and entrepreneur alike, this is fertile ground that can allow innovative ideas to flourish.
- They make connections
One of the hallmarks of the creative mind is being able to think outside the box and make connections between superficially unrelated ideas. They are also intensely curious and want to know the ‘why’s and ‘why nots’ about the world.
Entrepreneurs are also eclectic thinkers who are not afraid to try new strategies and ideas to see what happens. Both types are big on the ‘what if’ approach to the world.
- They are great at communicating their message
Both creatives and entrepreneurs are likely to be passionate about their work and have great powers of persuasion. They have thought about it and worked at it and lived it, so they know it inside out, and they care about sharing their passion with the world.
I Came Up with it in the Bath
The hapless hero is completely at a loss. With no idea where to turn, he finally turns away from the problem to do something mindless. Then BANG! There it is! The answer comes to him in a flash.
We credit the phrase “Eureka” meaning “I have found it!” to Archimedes, an ancient Greek scientist, and mathematician who supposedly came up with his brilliant Principle (named after himself) in the bath.
In truth, those lightning bolt inspirations are more the result of a lot of hard work already put into the problem. The ‘A-ha!’ tends to come more out of making the connections through subconscious thought processes.
So, the next time you need an Archimedes moment, first start with a lot of research. Then let the information gel for a while. It’s when your mind relaxes into the data and starts processing it that ideas start springing forth.