How to Build a Creative System to Sustain Innovation

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Shashwith Uthappa
Marketing Director, APAC

Talking Creativity in Bold Text

Every organization wants to grow, and the most sure-fire way to do so is through innovation. In the beginning stages of growth, it is easier to be nimble and disruptive but as companies scale, they need to sustain current revenue streams while planning for new ones, all while keeping a keen ear to the ground on what consumers need.

Enterprise companies are seeking management practices focused on strategies, systems and culture that foster creativity. On our first installment of “Talking Creativity” webinars, we touched on the topic of always-on creativity: how leading brands are maintaining high standards of creativity and the ways that creatives, who form the engine for sparking innovations, are building the systems for scale. Below are a handful of takeaways from the session.

Everyone is creative, but some exercise it better than others.

From finance to data, legal to sales, or even science to football, every job function has individuals who are inherently creative. Being creative is never an end, but rather a means to finding solutions. One must continuously hone their skills in creativity. Haniah Omar, Associate Creative Director for Media.Monks Singapore, put it this way: “Remember pretending to be a plane when you were a kid? Bring that amusement back and channel it to solve real-world problems.”

The new-age creatives need to be like Swiss army knives.

Creatives need to dream big but dream quickly. They need to imbibe an iterative approach to creativity by thinking, doing, testing and repeating. Most creatives today need to be “T-shaped people”: experts in one or two fields who also have skills in other ones, and who are able to connect those competencies. For example, if you have pitched your creative idea, you have been a salesman. It’s donning multiple hats but knowing the one that fits rather comfortably.

Organizations must be willing to invest in creativity and innovation.

Global Marketing Director for Paypal Shane Capron shares that his mantra is to innovate or die. He quoted a study he’d read about how 77% of brands could disappear and people wouldn’t even care. The only way of survival is to invest in creativity, knowing that it might not yield results immediately but can help future-proof your business. It’s important to avoid having myopic view. Think of both the immediate and long-lasting effects of creativity and innovation on the brand.

Agility can be a bit of a dangerous word.

Despite needing to be agile in today’s volatile world, Capron warns brands not to get on a race to the finish line, absorbing as much data as possible and applying them into campaigns. That’s when brands turn to a cookie-cutter approach to creativity, making their marketing ineffective and their people burnt out. Creativity comes from unlocking beautiful insights that enable brands to make a significant impact on its consumers now and into the future. Agencies who help brands do that build brand continue to build value amidst disruption.

Simplify the brief.

Capron shares how briefs can be a whiteboard for demonstrating marketer knowledge and includes all the bells and whistles. This is when creativity can be in the ether but not touch real ground. It’s important to really dig into what problem statement the brand is dealing with and what are the mediums they could explore within a time frame. Instead of the nice-to-haves, focus on the north star and try to understand what’s not on the brief. Those cues are important to brand learning.

Monk Thoughts The hardest briefs are the ones with no guardrails.
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Haniah Omar headshot
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Make space for collective creativity.

We pride ourselves for offering brands seamless access to a diverse range of global talent, agnostic of where your business is. This comes from the understanding that collective creativity is truly a superpower and that sharing insights is key. Organizations must create a system for creativity and innovation by combining people and teams with three individual factors: plasticity (drive to explore), divergence (high-degree of non-conformity and impulsivity) and convergence (ability to be precise, conscientious and persistent by seeing interdependencies). Omar believes putting your soul out there as a creative is scary but teamwork makes it lesser so.

"A great innovative idea can come from anywhere." Shane Capron, Global Marketing Director, PayPal

Seize the areas ripe for creativity.

With digitalization and now virtualization, creativity will play a key role in riding the future. Capron warns brands to not just fit into mediums for the sake of it. Instead, they should define their purpose and then choose the medium that best supports it. Creativity is finding the right role brands can play to add value to the customer. We’ve mapped out different virtual realms to help brands discover ways they can authentically present themselves in our Map of The Metaverse worlds

Finally, the panelists shared that the ultimate role of creativity is about being meaningful and influencing change—be it in changed behavior, identity, experience and/or growth. Awesome work ultimately creates memory recall and has a lasting impact on the minds of consumers. Thus, exercising creativity is knowing the role you play in shaping the future.

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