Creativity in business: Edison, IBM and Harvard Biz prove that it’s a timeless necessity.

November 29, 2010 — 2 Comments

Was Thomas Edison a wildly creative person who became good at business, or was he a wildly good businessman who happened to be creative? Both. He wouldn’t have been who he was without his tremendous strengths in creativity and in business. I’d nominate him to be the poster boy for excellence in creativity and business.

His maxim: imagination plus entrepreneurship equals innovation, and innovation equals competitive advantage. To him, creativity and business go seamlessly together.

Times have sure changed since he toiled away at the light bulb, but over 100 years later, that maxim is still true.

In 2010, Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Management Unit said the ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions demands high levels of creativity. So here’s one of our most renowned business think-tanks saying we need lots of creativity in business. Huh. A very Edisonian notion.

What about the future? IBM conducted a survey recently, and found that CEOs identify creativity as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.

So, gentle business reader, how and when and where will you dial up your creativity?

2 responses to Creativity in business: Edison, IBM and Harvard Biz prove that it’s a timeless necessity.


    My partner Nick Ecos works for a US-HQ company that works REALLY long hours. He runs a business for them in Norway in which people have REALLY LONG vacation periods. I asked Nick if the “space” generated a more creative work force and he said, “I hadn’t thought about that, but some of our most creative ideas come from my Norway teams.” I think space — to let the mind wander — and breadth of experience are vital to creativity. Unfortunately, corporate America too often appears to value neither.

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