Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
My Blog

Safety and creativity are mutually exclusive

Th either day I was bemoaning the lack of imagination and innovation in today's television; a medium that has had a long tradition of artistic creativity.

The thing that particularly caught my eye was a new programme coming to British television after the apparent success of a programme based on people competing for a prize by baking cakes and called the Great British Bake Off! This new programme was to follow the same formula but was to see potters (people who make things out of clay) competing using the same basic formula and called the Great Pottery Throw Down!

This is yet another of these situations where people take a single creative idea and try and replicate the success by simply enacting a marginal change. Some TV companies have made fortunes by taking a basic reality show formula and locating it in different areas.

And this concept of replacing creativity with more of the same has become a global phenomena. From a simple idea of the traditional talent competition called Britain's Got Talent, this has replicated around the world. Recently I found a YouTube video called Mongolia's Got Talent!

However, what does become clear from viewing figures is that the desire to shun creativity and deliver more of the same eventually leads to the law of diminishing returns. As creativity is replaced by manipulation and pseudo creative changes, the viewer becomes wise and moves away.

This is something that is also true in the entrepreneurial world of business. Too many entrepreneurs enter the business arena with a great idea and the desire to risk all in order to deliver something new and exciting.

However, once they have made it into the business arena too many of them look to play safe and protect what they have rather than continuing to create. If we look at many of the big companies in existence today, we see companies that are being driven by the financiers rather than the innovators.

This results in minor, safety-first modifications to products and services while the real entrepreneurs continue to innovate around them. Ultimately this desire to protect what they have rather than going for the bigger prize turns the excitement into a business as usual, mundane, run of the mill job where the only challenge left is survival.

We all marvel at the undoubted success of Apple with the iPhone and iPad. But as we wait for versions 7, 8 and 9, how long before the purchaser starts to ask themselves whether they need a different size screen, a better camera or other modifications.

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economies. These are the artists of the business world. What a pity it is when these creative people succumb to the very business rules that they broke to get there. 

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