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Is creativity on your check list?

15 May 2015 03:13 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Doing things differently.Creativity, if needed, can be summed up in that one sentence. But creativity is often the last on the list when it comes to concepts that drive a business. Most good business ideas have been born in a spurt of creativity that ultimately became the springboard for bestselling products.
Liz Lange, Founder of Liz Lange Maternitywear, started her company in a tiny office space opposite her apartment; her concept was simple but powerful - creating chic maternitywear for women. The creativity was in innovating a line of clothes that women when pregnant could wear without looking out of shape and inelegant. Today, Lange is in partnership with Nike and Target and her business is a success.
Yellowberry was created by a young high school student Megan Grassell who couldn’t find cute, age appropriate bras; today, her company is admired for being a model of innovation and design. A clear example of success was how she was able to put into action a burst of creativity that came from wanting to experiment with new concepts and ideas.
In contrast with Sheryl Sandberg’s lean in brand of feminism that called for women to step forward, the women of Double Union – San Francisco’s feminist hacking space have taken on a creative but different platform; they believe that it is the system that needs fixing not the women. They have developed a structural approach that is built on creating a safe space for women in tech. The founders believe that they can make a difference with the creative line they have taken. 
Rent the Runway came into being to provide a service for those who cannot afford a designer dress to wear for a red carpet event. The company rents dresses at a price very much lower than retail stores. They also turn dresses around fast, ensuring that every dress is dry cleaned and ready for the next guest without any shortcomings. 
A good business idea always benefits from a good dose of creativity. As we all know, Steve Jobs, the driven and obsessive individual that he was, was all about applying creative principles to the innovative Apple products he pioneered. From the Mac to the iPod and iPad, Jobs was able to combine creativity with technology, giving customers unparalleled products that have defined the very boundaries of tech-related products.
There have to be limits though. Too much of creativity can ruin a business. The basic principles of empowering the business to be self-sufficient and generate profits must be retained in order for the business to thrive. 
Often, a creative concept is born when you see a need that is not being met. And that can easily happen in everyday situations. Like the case of Damn Heels, a foldable, lightweight flat shoes that Canadian businesswoman Hailey Coleman developed so that women can take off their high heels when the party ends and slip into something more comfortable. The shoes can easily fit into a hand bag or an evening bag and make an ideal companion for a night out on the town.
A product that may meet a need may also need to be fine-tuned to meet expectations while also appearing attractive or relevant. It may also need to be positioned cleverly, with a creative platform. Just how do you get the customers to notice your product, especially when you do not have access to big budgets? You can build in a creative element to the product offering that can also become its greatest feature.
Creativity can also be applied to an existing need that is being met but not always on consumer’s terms. Consumer dissatisfaction can lead to a new service or a product that can take on a whole new meaning, at a new level. Is there value addition that can be incorporated or a product extension thrown in to make a difference? There are so many such areas that can be easily turned into lucrative businesses if you only look around.
Every day we go through 100s of different motions – many of them involve dealing with people or things that we wish could be done differently. Presented on a creative platform with a unique angle, chances are they are the opportunities of the future, the ones that can become the next big idea. Keep in mind that some of the world’s biggest ideas were once just that – ideas.
(Nayomini Weerasooriya, a senior journalist, writer and a PR professional, can be contacted at nayominiweerasooriya@gmail.com)
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