On being creative

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

We usually associate creativity with artists, writers, and musicians, but creativity is essential, especially if you want to take your business to the next level. Creativity is the element you need to disrupt an industry or to build your brand.

So how do we cultivate creativity? Let me offer a few ideas.

1. Come up with a lot of ideas, including the bad ones

Edison is known primarily for a few significant inventions (The light bulb, phonograph, etc.). He also made 1,093 other inventions; many of which never went into commercial use and have been forgotten. Einstein is best known for his theory of relativity, but he published 247 other papers, many of which the public doesn’t even know about.

It takes a lot of bad work to come up with a work of genius. Do not be afraid of your work not being good enough, be afraid of not trying.

2. Study existing ideas and build upon them

Many creative ideas do not take off because of the faulty thinking that creativity involves coming up with something original. Even the great thinkers in history have studied ideas that already existed and built upon them, transformed them, and made their work unique as a result of the transformation.

3. Be a keen observer

Looking and seeing is not observing. When we are observing, we become mindful, and usually, what we observe will lead us to possible solutions or creative ideas we are looking for. Grab the insights and capture them through a piece of paper or use your smartphone’s recording app. Those are merely floating in the subconscious level and they cannot stay long in our memory bank.

4. Increase knowledge and then ask questions

Read books, attend webinars, listen to audiobooks or podcasts. This brings us back to idea number 1. We are building more ideas we can bank on and build. Always be curious. Ask questions. Ever observed a child and the favorite question is “Why?” Asking questions and wanting to know why is a sign of a vibrant intellect. The opposite of this, of course, is when one assumes they know it all.

5. Be relaxed. Be excited. And have fun.

Have you noticed that many ideas seem to enter the mind when one is taking a shower? People taking a shower are in a state of relaxation. In the workplace, people become creative when they are having fun and they get excited to churn out ideas if there is a safe place for them to experiment with new ideas with the support of their leaders’ blessings.

Creative people are happy and excited about life, provided they use their creativity for good and positive endeavors. There are certain things wherein we are not given leeway to be creative. We follow the rules. You do not ask an accountant to do creative accounting; you do not use creativity to dodge laws and regulations; you do not use creative ideas to betray friends and business partners.

A game warden stopped a man caught holding two ice chests full of live fish in water and asked, “Do you have a license to catch fish?” The man responded: “No, I do not have a license and I do not need it because these are pet fish.”

“Pet fish? What do you mean?”

The man explained: “I take these fish down to the river every night and let them swim around for a while. This keeps them fit. And then I whistle, and they jump right back into these ice chests, then I take them home.”

The game warden says: “That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard in my life. Fish cannot do that!” The man looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, “It’s the truth. Here I will show you how it works.” And so the man poured the fish into the river. He then stood and waited. After several minutes and while both looked at the river, the game warden turned to him and said, “Well?”

The man said, “Well, what?” The game warden said. “When are you going to whistle to call them back?” The man looked at the game warden this time and asked: “Call who back?”

“Fish, you dumb idiot!” And then the man  looked at the game warden and said, “What fish?”

This is not the kind of creativity we are talking about.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online runs from Oct. 1315. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with