Last week I attended the launch of Victoria’s Small Business Festival which runs throughout August.
These sorts of events are always inspiring as it’s a chance to meet lots of entrepreneurs and SmartCompany readers.
But I got a real dose of motivation from Craig Davis, the speaker at the launch.
Davis is co-chairman of ad agency Publicis Mojo Australia and New Zealand, founder of Brandkarma.com and previously worked at industry giant J Walter Thompson where he had the heady title of “chief creative officer”.
Given this background it’s no surprise his talk focused on bringing creativity into small business.
Davis believes creativity is the key to really excelling in business.
“It’s relatively easy to be different but much harder to be better,” he says.
He recommends focusing on three qualities to kick start creativity: trust, empathy and engagement.
According to Davis, small business can focus on trust by inviting feedback as much as possible.
He says small businesses need to leverage their trust advantage as they have a “massive head start” in this department over bigger businesses.
In terms of empathy, Davis says putting yourself in others shoes will help you innovate.
“It’s really hard to listen to customers well,” he says. “Don’t ask what’s in it for me; ask how is this for you?”
Finally, Davis says engagement means building a conscious company.
Davis says this comes down to the style of leadership you show in your business and the culture you create.
“We are all smarter than we used to be and we are all looking for meaning,” he says.
“We’re all more aware our choices have implications.”
In Australia he singles out Aesop and Intrepid as examples of businesses which have used being conscious companies as a way to build success.
The downside is creativity takes time.
Even Google is rumoured to have cut back on its famous “me time” designed to foster creativity where workers can spend 20% of work time on self-directed projects.
Davis says you don’t need 20% of your time to be more creative.
Just try being more present with what you are doing.
“The biggest impediment to creativity is multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is an illusion, it’s a myth,” he says.
“If you want to be creative you have to spend the time to do it.”
Have you got time to make your business more creative?