What we can learn from a selection from the 100 Most Creative Business People picked in 2016.
Dream, go for the Impossible with irresistible Challenges, be Exceptional to beat Competition, help your Cust & others.
We discovered “innovators” everywhere from fashion to education, material science to behavioral design. Our honorees hail from 13 countries and half are women. They are modern-business super-heroes, and their examples can serve to inspire our own creativity. Here are 15 lessons drawn from among this year’s Most Creative People.
1. Dream what doesn’t exist, then create it. Creative people come up with a Vision first, then make it happen, Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli (Nos. 5 and 6) at Valentino are commanding attention in the fashion world. Asako Shimazaki (No. 80) is bringing Muji’s vision of order to U.S. retail, while Jeff Turnas (No. 51) is re-imagining what Whole Foods might be. Nike designer Martin Lotti (No. 28) has created sock like soccer cleats and has integrated secret messages into Olympic gear to inspire athletes.
2. Opportunity is always expanding. If you need reassurance that the status quo isn’t tenable, talk to Dawn Shaughnessy (No. 9), who led the team that discovered new Elements that have been added to the periodic table. Or Karin Strauss (No. 16), whose group at Microsoft is unlocking how to store info on DNA, which could radically alter our assumptions about data. The physical world is not as fixed as we were taught in school, and our dreams needn’t be fixed either. Allow yourself to be creative.
3. The impossible happens – only if you go for it !!! Lin-Manuel Miranda first tested his creative idea for a Hip-hop Musical about American history at the White House . . . in front of the Obamas. Jean Liu (No. 4), the president of Chinese Ride-sharing pioneer Didi Chuxing, made her initial leadership move at the helm . . . by buying her biggest competitor. These high-stakes initiatives are typical of our honorees. It’s not that they don’t fear failure; rather, they believe that if one idea doesn’t pan out as planned, they’ll be able to devise another one.
4. What’s “exceptional” is what people want. Rather than shy away from confronting cultural norms, Jill Soloway (No. 3) has been creative exploding them through breakthrough shows like Amazon’s Transparent—and by welcoming diverse talent both in front of the screen and behind it. Zainab Salbi’s (No. 44) TV show is breaking down barriers in the Middle East, raising cultural topics—how politics affects home life—that others shy away from.
5. Every Community needs a Moose, no, Muse. Anna Young (No. 22) has empowered nurses to solve Health Care dilemmas, and, in turn, they’re helping patients & doctors + saving $$$. Sarah Snow (No. 36) has tilted video-texting app Glide to ease mobile communication for the deaf. Kakul Srivastava (No. 25) is widening the GitHub audience and inviting more people into tech.
6. Corp work can be challenging – if you’re creative. Corporate bureaucracies need not rule the workplace, as REI’s Jerry Stritzke (No. 85), Slack’s Diógenes Brito (No. 86), and PwC’s Shannon Schuyler & Michael Fenlon (Nos. 87 and 88) have each distinctively illustrated. At Northrop Grumman, the FabLab launched by Tony Long (No. 59) has unleashed a new kind of play—and productivity—that is now being expanded to company offices around the U.S.A.
7. Look for new Opportunities. YouTube star Lilly Singh (No. 100) keeps her videos fresh by taking time to explore how others are creative. Nicole Van Der Tuin (No. 84) at First Access was aware enough to notice that mobile-phone registrations could provide Credit Histories for those without other options.
8. Competition is the “fuel” that feeds the flame. Katrine Bosley (No. 34) at Editas Medicine isn’t dissuaded by the many obstacles facing Genetic editing. Instead, they increased her urgency for action.
9. There’s more than the Lining of Silver. Who pays attention to a Fungus among us? [LoL, Wiz4biz] At Starbucks, Carlos Mario Rodriguez (No. 15) had to—it was threatening the world’s coffee crop—and not only did he find a solution, the creative way he deployed it, empowered under-protected coffee growers. John McDonough’s (No. 8) team at T2 Biosystems took aim at a different kind of Fungus, the sepsis-causing candida + their remedy—using magnetics—promises to apply to a far wider group of ailments.
10. Impossible problems are an irresistible Challenge. The Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway & Kate Roberts (Nos. 92 and 93) have pressed members of their Maverick Collective to help poor Girls around the world. Yasmin Belo-Osagie (No. 26) of She Leads Africa is helping women-led businesses blossom in Africa.
11. Protecting the Planet is good for everyone. Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell (No. 32) is trying to get customers of her own energy firm to use less energy, while H&M’s Sara Wallander (No. 35) found a creative way to embrace non-toxic materials & sustainable packaging in the brand’s new makeup line—without jacking up prices.
12. Even M-weeds need Pruning. With marijuana becoming a growing legal business, Colorado’s director of Marijuana Coordination, Andrew Freedman (No. 99), is putting regulations in place to balance societal concerns & financial viability. When Snoop Dogg introduced his branded marijuana line, Pentagram’s Emily Oberman (No. 63) constructed a visual design motif that could appeal to a more sophisticated marketplace.
13. Data can have a Heart. Apple’s ResearchKit & CareKit, led by Divya Nag (No. 2), open the way for new medical solutions with broader info. Ida Tin (No. 70) at Clue is among those tapping into the opportunity, for women’s Health – allowing new freedom and understanding of their menstrual cycles.
14. Generosity comes back. Chance the Rapper (No. 40) gives away his music to fans, which allows him to stay independent & more creative—and endears him to his audience. Miranda has made Hamilton tickets, which can go for upwards of $3,000 each on the resale market, available for some high schoolers for only $10. It’s almost enough to make you want to be a teenager again
Comment: Do you know any person or product that impressed you with it’s creativity?
from Fast Company Zine 16 May 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz