Are you creative? If you play an instrument, like to paint, or enjoy inventing new games to entertain your kids – you probably will answer with ‘yes.’ But in business context, who are the colleagues that you perceive as creative, inspiring, envisioning – and what makes them that way?
Creativity is performed when something, somehow new, and somehow valuable is formed. That new ‘thing’ can be intangible, such as an idea, a theory, a composition, or a physical object, a product, or a piece of artwork. The emphasis is on new and valuable – but that doesn’t mean that the tools to create that ‘thing’ must be entirely new. It’s about how tools are applied to find answers to unanswered questions.
The two scientists that were awarded with the Nobel laureates in Physics in 2020 for the discovery of black hole formation at the center of our galaxy, still used, among other things, the geometric theory of gravitation from Albert Einstein published in 1915. And with good-old stenciling and spray cans, Banksy is creating satirical and provocative artwork. Both ‘things’ are truly new and valuable.
Creativity in your recipe for digital transformation
The tools, theories, and concepts we all use to drive digital transformation are well known. Whether it is wireless technology or cloud computing, theory of constraints, or the business model canvas. The methods alone are not making us digitally transformed – nor will their sole implementation create competitive advantages. Only when creatively combined and applied to unanswered questions will positive business outcomes emerge.
In my last post, ‘When Everyone has Digital Transformation Strategies, How Can You Be Different?’ I explained what you should focus on in order to identify your differentiation and convert it to your digital advantage. Add to these focus areas creativity and you will discover new possibilities or how technology can redefine experiences, help you gain more insight and control, or accelerate development for your next ‘thing.’
Be creative – here and now!
Forced creativity doesn’t work – unless you can tell me, instinctively, what your organization should do to engage with your customers above their expectations? Remember the days back in school during your art classes, when the teacher said: “Now, paint something beautiful.” At least I struggled a lot and today I know why. Truly, my painting skills were below average, but I was missing the context, the articulated need, the empathy with a situation. If all of that had have been explored prior to the teacher’s ask, I might have been become something different than a Digital Advisor at HPE!
Converting this situation into the business world, where we all are challenged with the request for innovative solutions for unanswered questions, is there a process that can help people become creative? With the Advance Moment from HPE’s Digital Next Advisory framework, you’ll get a recipe to identify your differentiated and unique digital advantage.
Set the creativity scope
To ideate on your next ‘thing,’ select one strategic theme from your organization’s digital strategy. That theme can be focused on establishing net new revenue streams, increasing productivity, boosting efficiency, or any other outcome-focused objective. Underpin the theme with your digital aspiration that is ambitious and guides you on your path forward – like a north star for navigation.
Now, identify the key beneficial persona that you want to help. That can be a specific role in your organization, a customer cohort, or your partners. With that persona in mind, empathize with them by describing a situation he or she is in and explore their perceptions, what they see, feel, and think.
Sometimes, I got the reaction from people that they think they are less empathic. In my experience, these people, if open to the exercises, can become even more engaged. In a recent customer workshop, the most stubborn person in the room made exactly that statement – 15 minutes later, that participant imitated the language, accent, and movement of the beneficial persona – totally felt the situation and was very precise in describing emotions.
Explore the needs
After you stepped into the shoes of the persona that is benefiting from the chosen strategic theme, articulate as clear as possible the compelling need. What’s the primary goal of the persona in the given situation? Why aren’t they satisfied with the current opportunities they have along their journey through the situation?
We all know these occasions when we think “this can be done better.” That’s exactly the compelling need, as we are not satisfied with the given circumstance.
To foster creativity, changing perspectives and getting more insights helps. In short, through lightning talks with experts you can gain more understanding and review the data more effectively. Schedule interviews with the selected beneficial persona to prove your assumptions and ask for ideas to make their life easier in the defined situation. Get inspired by the possibilities of today’s technology, not for the sake of the technology itself, but how the tools can be creatively combined to satisfy your persona.
In a recent article I also described why exploring other industries is key for inspiration. Having a partner that’s both broad and deep – one with expertise like HPE, which turns desired digital transformation outcomes into differentiated use cases and customer experiences, enabled and delivered through digital technology, will help you to ideate your next ‘thing.’
Engineer experiences and narrative
Victor Hugo said, “Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
But the idea needs clear articulation, in a way that everyone gets it – that they buy into it, that they want it. Not only the beneficial persona, but also your organization’s management. Many ideas don’t reach the production stage because their inventors weren’t able to tell a compelling narrative that convinced budget approvers to invest.
Phrasing the story behind the idea, with results from the outlined steps, paired with enhancements to your organization’s operating or even business model, will ensure you gain supporters for your new ‘thing.’ And HPE Digital Advisors are here to help you turn the trust from your budget approvers into meaningful experiences and tangible outcomes.
Advancing your digital aspiration
Creativity creates new and valuable ‘things’ by leveraging tools, theories, and concepts that exist. Digital transformation is the application of technology to generate business outcomes. Combine these two and let the outlined recipe guide you to ideate your unique ‘thing’ that sets the bar for your peers.
Stimulate creativity with this step-by-step approach will help you better empathize with the beneficial persona, explore unsatisfied needs, and get inspired to unveil new experiences to amplify your digital advantage. And if you like guidance, let’s get in touch, because we at HPE like advancing the way people live and work by engineering experiences that unlock your full potential.
For further information on how to engage with a Digital Next Advisor contact [email protected]
About Christian Reichenbach
Christian Reichenbach is a digital advisor for exploratory, digital business transformations. He advises customers worldwide on how to establish connected economy business models, designs and builds minimum viable products, and drives operating model changes toward a more innovative, efficient, and productive way of doing business. In an edge-centric, data-driven, and cloud-enabled world, he is an evangelist for the role that digital plays in advancing the way we live and work by engineering contemporary experiences. As an enthusiast for digitalization, Christian bridges the gap between technology, user experiences, and business benefits. He also talks with senior executives and runs ideation session to unveil new opportunities for digital business models.
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