Fear of Risk and Business: The Scary World of Creativity

Businesses and their love/hate relationship with creativity

Business seems to have a love/hate relationship with creativity, innovation and fear of risk. They love the idea, but the whole process of bringing a new idea to market carries an element of risk. That’s the part that doesn’t go over so well. Business seems to be comfortable with processes and expected outcome, which is at odds with the whole creative process. I’ve seen companies try and embrace creativity, but only to fail by stifling the process.
If business knows where the innovation will end up, then the whole creative process becomes an implementation project, innovation. Implementation is part of the process however, but the whole creative process involves an element of mess, conflict, emotion, and even a few casualties along the way. When those elements of experimentation are removed from the process, then we aren’t really innovating. If you don’t have a few failures along the way, then you’re not stepping outside of your comfort zone. And that’s where true innovation lies.

Inaction equates a fear of risk

Fear of risk often equates to standing still or adapting at a very slow pace. Opportunities seem to pass by, and this is a truly bad position to be in as a business. If you’re competition is innovating, how will you continue to compete in the future? Time does not stand still, and we must constantly look to the future for ways to innovate and create in order to remain relevant in the near future and beyond. The truth is that the best scientists, the greatest entrepreneurs, designers, politicians and CEOs are all creative. We as human beings like to think that they can be creative. It’s time to tap into that creativity and start coming up with true innovation, for small businesses, large, and for society. Eliminating fear of risk can open up a world of potential for businesses.



traits of a great leader

What Makes A Great Leader

Soar to the heights of a great leader

Not everyone is born to be an entrepreneur, or to lead. If we were all born to lead, then there would be nobody left to follow. But anyway, great leaders tend to have certain characteristics that set them apart from the herd. Personality traits, that can often times be misinterpreted as weaknesses, but when properly channeled can signify the spark of an entrepreneur.

Are you easily bored? Perhaps the reason for that is that you’ve chewed through activities that aren’t up to your abilities and don’t present themselves as a challenge. This is generally one of the indicators early in life that a budding entrepreneur is coming into their own. Great minds need to be challenged, and when a great mind is placed amongst those that don’t measure up, then boredom sets in.

Constantly questioning the status quo? Remember, the status quo is for the common folk. Who wants to be average when you can be exceptional? If you think that it doesn’t make sense to keep doing things the same way over and over just because that’s the way they’ve always been done without explanation, then you have the power to change things. Or at least upset the status quo from time to time. You don’t get ahead by following the pack. Greatness lies outside of the lines of conformity.

Do you realize that you’re a bit different from everyone else? This can be the motivation that you need to acknowledge the entrepreneur in you just dying to get out.  Rebelling against the norm is a normal pattern in your life. It’s good to channel that sense of rebellion into a company and start innovating.

Always trying to make improvements on everything around you? Opinionated and always willing to offer your perspective on things, you constantly see ways to make things better. Here’s a perfect opportunity to channel that spirit in developing a product that improves the lives of those around you. Or better yet, expand into improving the lives of people on the other side of the planet.

Can’t switch off at night? Do you lie in bed trying to get some seriously needed sleep, but can’t quite switch off and drift into blissful slumber? Do those voices keep telling you about the next great idea that you need to start to work on in the morning? There’s just too much energy to burn to switch off and relax.

Depending on how you look at it, any of those traits could be thought of as a weakness. And it’s important to understand where your weaknesses lie as an individual. Understanding weak areas is in fact a strength. You don’t always lead with your strengths, but with your weaknesses. Make those weaknesses benefit your leadership style, and then you’ll come across as authentic.  Get those people in around you to compliment  your strong areas and fill in the gaps of where you are weak, and then you have the start of building a winning team.

Discover new music by listening to the radio

America turns to the radio as a way to discover new music

Nielsen released their Music 360 report, which found that radio is still the place where the majority of people go to discover new music as opposed to YouTube (48% for radio and 7% for YouTube). Well, those people must be tuning in to other radio stations than I’ve come across that seem to have only twenty songs in their playlist. Or perhaps, Americans are discovering the same twenty songs over and over again.
Anyway, Nielsen discovered that once Americans have discovered that new song, the majority of teens then listen to it on YouTube. iTunes is another hot destination for playing music, running a close third (behind YouTube and the old-fashioned radio). Around half in the survey still listen to their music on CD (remember those?). But interestingly, only 36% bought a physical CD in the previous year compared to 51% who purchased a digital download.

The moral of the story is that people still seem to listen to the radio according to market trends and demographics. And they still seem to discover new music. The results of the survey can be found on the Nielsen website.

Studies Prove Uncluttered Websites Perform Better

New research from SAY Media and IPG have shown that an ad placed on uncluttered websites without overloading the senses of the user are more useful, trusted and effective. This bit of research also indicates that if multiple adverts are placed on simple, uncluttered websites, they also perform better. Shocking revelation, isn’t it? We’ve been taught time and time again that in order to get your message across, the message must be simple, clear and concise. When decorating, we’ve been taught to simplify the amount of objects in a room so that the eye can focus upon said objects rather than darting about in a confused state. So it comes as no surprise that a simple, clean website with an advert allows the viewer to actually notice the advert, and quite possibly react.

We live in a “short attention span” world, where we are constantly bombarded with messages and want to find the information that we are seeking in as quick and easily a manner as possible. According to comScore, the average time spent on a web page is steadily decreasing, with the average user spending just 40 seconds on a single page.  By using a combination of eye-tracking technology and survey research, the study found that viewers spend twice as long with ads on clean pages that feature ads from just one brand. Uncluttered websites also have higher ad recall.

Ads on uncluttered websites have higher performance rates

Some findings from the research are that uncluttered websites and clean pages enhance site perception as well as ad perception. Those sites that were clean and easy to navigate were perceived as being more useful and trustworthy than similar cluttered sites. Ads that appear on clean sites are also always seen, according to eye-tracking data. Less clutter also means higher recall.

So let this be a lesson to all of you webmasters and advertisers out there. Don’t try to cram too many adverts/messages/objects/etc. into your layouts. Less really does seem to be more.


The Domain Name Game is Changing

It’s a game that many startups play when choosing a name for their business venture. Check the URL to see if the “chosen name” is available with a dot-com extension. Often times, we end up making up names out of the blue so that we can lay claim to that elusive dot com. After all, how do you think that recent startups came up with the names of their businesses, like Etsy, Pinterest or Tumblr? They weren’t necessarily the first choice for those starting their businesses, but their domain with a dot-com extension was available. But now, the domain name game is changing.

The non-profit organization that oversees the domain naming process has recently announced a change to the way that domain names are dished out. Countries that have domain extensions that hold any sort of appeal to businesses can now license the use of their domain extensions in the United States. Startups are now no longer forced to make up strange business names just so they can grab said name with a dot-com extension. The .co extension, which actually hails from Columbia, is catching on with startups. We are starting to see new businesses with extensions such as .ly, which comes from Lybia, .io, which is an Indian Ocean domain and .fm, which is a Federal States of Micronesian domain. Now, startups aren’t limited to naming their company by whatever is leftover on .com. Part of what startups like about the .co domain extension is that it alludes to “company” and small business startups can settle for their original choice for a company name.

The domain name game doesn’t stop with startups though. Larger companies such as Google purchased .google and .goog, therefore giving Google more control over its brand by sending customers to an easy to remember website with a branded domain extension.

There are drawbacks with alternative domain suffixes for small businesses, especially when it comes to SEO and Google, which is currently set to give priority to sites that end in .com, .org and .net. But as small businesses begin taking advantage of this naming structure, you can bet that Google will adapt its analytics to follow the trend. So when you’re starting your small business, you no longer have to play the domain name game. Simply name your company as you’ve originally intended, and incorporate one of the new domain suffixes to match.

From Catwalk to Sidewalk: Burberry’s Concept of Fast Fashion

From catwalk to sidewalk

Burberry goes the way of fast fashion, a la H&M? Fear not fashionistas! Burberry isn’t planning on competing with Primark any time soon, but they’ve cleverly upped their game in regards to getting their product into the hands of those that want to buy. Call it a “catwalk to sidewalk” strategy.

Burberry is to embrace its own concept of ‘”fast fashion” by allowing consumers to buy items from its next collection online and in-store ahead of traditional drop dates. For the first time, consumers will be able to purchase Burberry’s garments from the autumn-winter collection directly through a campaign gallery and short films on their website to instantly move their garments from catwalk to sidewalk. The campaign will also run across digital platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

Runway to reality

The news follows the launch of the brand’s catwalk to sidewalk strategy called ‘Runway to Reality’, which allows VIP consumers to buy items from its runway collections immediately, via an iPad app. The brilliance of this strategy is that it eliminates the lag time that fast fashion retailers such as Primark and H&M were able to exploit. Previously, a high end designer would show their collection in any of the fashion capitals well ahead of the date that any of the items would end up in retail stores. This lag time allowed the fast fashion bunch to copy the designs, put them into mass production and get them into their stores, often times in advance of the originals. Spanish retailers Mango and Zara were notorious for their extremely quick production times that allowed them to released their knocked off versions of the high end designers before the high end designers had a chance to release their designs to the public. Burberry is a very smart company, and was obviously aware that the  fast fashion retailers were copying their creations. So what better way to avoid that than to make the originals available for sale at the moment that they are revealed to the public?

Now, if Burberry can address the catwalk to sidewalk dilemma, then hopefully next on their agenda would be to address the issue of sustainability in the fashion world by reducing the amount of pollution that their industry generates during the production process.

Global Creativity Gap and The State of Creativity

The Global Creativity Gap

Adobe released another study, called “State Of Create”, that reveals a global creativity gap exists in the worlds top five global economies (US, Japan, UK, Germany and France). We here at Un_Standard love these types of surveys, because they provide a fascinating glimpse into how we perceive creativity and how we as individuals are living up to our creative potential. This bit of research found that 80% of people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to the economic growth of their city/region/country, and 2/3 feel creativity is valuable to society. In contrast, only 25% feel that they are living up to their own creative potential. A true global creativity gap indeed.

Interviews conducted across the five countries revealed surprising attitudes and beliefs about creativity, providing new insight into the role of creativity in business, education and society.

The study found that there is a major global creativity gap in the workplace, 75% feel that they are under increased pressure to be productive rather than creative. “Don’t think, just do”. This is in stark contrast to the fact that respondents are increasingly expected to think creatively on the job.

And ways to deal with the global creativity gap

Over half of the respondents felt that creativity is being stifled by the educational system, and many feel that creativity is being taken for granted. This is most notable in the US, where 70% felt that creativity is being taken for granted. “One of the myths of creativity is that very few people are really creative,” said Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. “The truth is that everyone has great capacities but not everyone develops them. One of the problems is that too often our educational systems don’t enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead, they promote uniformity and standardization. The result is that we’re draining people of their creative possibilities and, as this study reveals, producing a workforce that’s conditioned to prioritize conformity over creativity.”

So who ranked as the most creative in this global creativity gap survey? Japan tops the list, with the US in second place. Ironically, the Japanese largely don’t see themselves as being creative. Tokyo ranked as the most creative city, with New York coming in at second.

The study in its entirety can be found on the Adobe website.