25 Feb The new era of creativity
I’ve seen ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ four times. Three times with Jack Nicholson playing McMurphy in the film, and once in London’s West End with Christian Slater in the lead role.
Every time it’s clear the lunatics really should run the asylum. They’re clever, inventive and adventurous – qualities now much in demand. In the teens of the 21st century looney creative types are invited to sit at the grown ups table.
It wasn’t always thus. Back in 1998 I went to NY looking for a job. One night I was having dinner next to a table of three businessmen, the kind that Tom Wolfe would call, ‘Masters of the Universe’. They were talking about what their kids were going to do at college.
One guy had a son doing economics. Bravo. Another had a daughter off to do medicine. Fabulous. The third guy was squirming in his seat. He lamented that his son, for reasons he could not grasp, was going to study design.
They laughed and scoffed and poo-pooed the whole idea. “What good is that going to be?” They were sitting in the fine dining restaurant of The Paramount Hotel – a monument to the design skills of Philippe Starck.
Every room in the hotel, every stick of furniture, light fitting, carpets, basin, curtain and cushion, everything on the table, down to the cutlery and napkin holders was a product of Starck’s creative vision. The guys in the restaurant just didn’t see it.
Thank God the world has changed.
Creativity is no longer laughable in the elite restaurants and boardrooms of the world. In 2010 IBM conducted a research study involving CEOs and public sector leaders – 1,500 people, 33 countries, 60 industry sectors. When asked what was the most important characteristic for success in the next 5 years 60% of them answered, “creativity”.
Last year Adobe commissioned a study of their own – 5,000 people across five countries. Eighty percent of respondents said that creativity and innovation were the keys to unlocking growth. The challenges around business are more profound and more sophisticated than they’ve ever been. Creativity as a catalyst for innovation is now highly desirable and lusted after.
Steve Jobs who famously said, “the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do”, presided over the largest creative company on the planet. Loopy Larry and mad Sergey rule the internet. And the UTS Business School has just commissioned eccentric architect Frank Gehry to replace their present digs, reminiscent of mental hospitals everywhere, with a suitably creative edifice.
Lunatics, it’s your turn now.