Taken from the Globe and Mail, July 14, 2001
When it comes to productivity, corporate CEOs are the mirror image of artists. Many can command obscenely high pay packages, even as the value of their companies’ stocks declines, as recent media stories attest. It may be hard for the business world to admit, but impecunious artists who produce a lot for a little might have a thing or two to teach them.
Productivity is only one. Companies that want to hang on to their competitive edge must think and do things differently as they develop a new product, a unique marketing approach, or a cutting-edge financing model. The most successful enterprises harbour and support creative thinkers, people skilled at breaking the rules. An example: Dell Computers employees decided not to follow the tradition of using third parties to market and distribute their products. They did it themselves — successfully.
One of the most compelling questions for business today is how to come up with new ideas. Who knows more about creative thinking than the people who spend their days and nights creating?