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Creativity and being weird

When you think of creative persons, what are the names that come into your mind?

Steve Jobs, Pablo Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci would be on top of the list.

But not only them, we can be creative in many small ways as well.

I worked with “creative” people when I was still in the garments industry. Some of them wore strange fashion garbs as a way of pitching their creative ideas.

One young lady wore gigantic earrings and I wondered how those pieces of contraptions can defy gravity, and I also wondered how those extremely shredded jeans managed to hang on  to her body. The ideas were presented, but they were not creative, they were just strange.

I ended up giving the entire advertising campaign to a plainly clothed gentleman who was oblivious to the latest fashion sense. Because when this man presented his ideas, he was brilliant, fresh and creative.

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Creativity doesn’t just mean reinventing the wheel.

As an entrepreneur, I would describe creativity as being able to think beyond the obvious. The creative person gives you another lens to look at. This lens presents a different narrative that energizes the conversation, brings a fresh approach to the process and makes the finished product better.

We are in the creative economy. Young people have the power to create in their hands. Every single young person entering the market place should no longer be seen from the marketing eyes as a “consumer”, he or she should be respected as a “creator”.

And senior people are getting comfortable with technology. Just a few years ago, YouTube featured a pair of grandparents trying to figure out what to do with their laptops. But those days are absolutely gone. Senior citizens are now fascinated with technology and they have money to hire young people to do the job for them.

This is why we have no choice but to be creative.

Creativity can cover small acts. Then you accumulate these small acts until they gather momentum. And small acts may come in very simple forms.

Joseph Kaplan, a Russian immigrant, went to New York in 1901. He saw nothing but plain white shower curtains everywhere, and so he started making beautifully designed curtains and his products took off. This made him a rich man.

This is what I mean by looking at things with a different lens.

The enemy of creativity is laziness. This is when a person goes through his job doing the same thing for the past 20 years without any drive to improve, excel or add a new twist in order to improve efficiency and productivity.

The enemy of creativity is safety. People who want to be safe do not want to rock the boat. They do not want to offer ideas. It is easier to criticize than to take the risk of failure.

Today, creativity is essential towards business success. And leaders should provide a safe place for their people to express creative ideas and execute them.

And here is another thing about creativity: it doesn’t matter if the business organization is huge or small. The creative initiatives will come from a work environment that is built on meritocracy.

Do not be afraid of being branded as weird, as long as there is substance in the idea.

Paul McCartney, a famous singer, said, “I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn’t weird at all, and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.”

Be weird in a creative way.

(You can connect with Francis Kong through Facebook at or listen to his program called “Business Matters” from Monday to Friday at 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. in 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)









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