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Think Different

I believe everyone is creative.  I also believe it’s getting harder to convince people of that.

Why? Because the world is changing.  It’s always changing.  But this time, it’s different.  This time the changes are coming so fast, it’s nearly impossible to keep up.

Think of all the progress we’ve made in the past 25 years.  Now, compare those advancements to the previous 2,000 years.

If I told you in 1999 that Kodak would be gone in 2 years, you would have jokingly laughed with me.

If I’d said in 2005 that Blockbuster would be gone by 2010, you would have seriously laughed at me.

The next decade will be the most disruptive period of our lives, as Artificial Intelligence rips up the rule book and challenges every paradigm we’ve ever known, leaving in its wake, hundreds of companies and brands we grew up with and admired.

So how will you compete in a world that is becoming automated faster than we can think?

The first step is to have a purpose – a WHY?  Ask yourself what it is you stand for?  If your answer is “quarterly results” or “a paycheck”, you’re gone!

Now add to the mix the crowd-sharing economy and things get even more complicated. Soon no one person will own a car. We’ll share them. So what does that mean for the automotive and architectural industries and urban developers?  Will garages and superhighways become as relevant as a video store?

And if 3D printers can print anything we want at home, what will that mean for the tool industry, the do-it-yourself retailers, and furniture manufacturers?

The only constant is the ever-increasing pace of change, at an increasingly exponential rate.

So what will evolve as the strongest human core element to compete in this brave new world? Creativity. The ability to think differently and design creative solutions for challenges big and small.  But haven’t we all been told that we’re not creative?

Ask a group of adults if they can draw and watch how few hands are raised. Ask a classroom of 6 years-olds and every hand shoots into the air.  We were all kids once, but the stagnant corporate environment has drummed into us the idea of looking for the “one right answer.”  So much so, that we’ve simply stopped looking for the others.  We’ve been iterating instead of innovating, making marginal improvements on what worked the year before.

As head of Innovation and Creativity at The Walt Disney Company, I worked with some of the most creative people in the world.  Not just animators and “Imagineers,” but also “cast members” on the “front line,” everyday Disney employees who, when given the tools to think differently, came up with innovative solutions to real issues.

Think back to the 6-year-old you.  The you, who believes that anything is possible.  The curious you, who always asks, “Why?”  The you, who could draw and raised your hand to prove it.  The you, who turned a cardboard box into a rocket ship or a castle.

Steve Jobs was right…  “The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules.  You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things.  They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I believe we are all creative.  And I hope to change the world by helping everyone realize how wonderfully creative they can be.

Photo credit: rawpixel.com

More On Being Creative

5 Simple Tips to Improve Creativity!

Creativity, Intuition, Curiosity and Imagination: The 4 Traits That Will Dominate the Workforce of the Future

Seven Behaviors That Will Unleash Your Creativity

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