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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 13:27


In the developing world, cooking is a major health issue - and not for the reason you think.

Despite all the advances in technology, nearly 200 million people in India and China still make their daily meals over ineffient wood stoves or open fires. This method of cooking emits large amounts of smoke, gas and carbon, polluting the air and poisoning the people who use them.

The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million worldwide die every year from the smoke generated by cooking and heating. The resulting indoor air pollution causes respiratory issues, lung disease and pneumonia, and contributes to cancer, heart disease and global warming.

Yet, despite the extreme negative consequences of using ineffient wood-burning stoves, people in the developing world aren't buying smokeless stoves. In a recent interview with Ideas To Go, K. Sudhir, the Director of the Yale China Insights Program at Yale School of Management, describes the startling reason the new smokeless stoves languish on the shelves:

Women are the ones who use the stoves, and actually suffer from many of the health ailments. But the men have the economic power. So sometimes, even when the women want it, and even when it’s subsidized to a very low price—the efficient stoves aren’t being purchased.

All political issues about the power of women aside, isn't it fascinating how the smokeless stove companies completely missed who their real customer was?

Once the smokeless stove companies realized that they actually need to market their product to men, they completely changed their approach.

Researchers realized that men in those countries often live 2-3 miles from a place with electricity - making it extremely difficult to charge their cell phones. So, the smokeless stove companies make a small change to their stoves - they added a USB charger.

Author: "Katie Konrath"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 03:21


It never fails. When a group of people are excited about an idea, they run right into the biggest challenge of moving that idea forward: Settling on that product's one key benefit.

Why is that so difficult? Because when people like an idea, they want others to like it as well. 

The natural response is to benefit-load an idea so that consumers can't do anything BUT love it.  It's the miracle pillow that stops snoring, aligns your neck, cleans your bathroom and gets you a date with Ryan Gosling.

The problem is, benefit-loading always backfires. People want to hear less, not more, when you're telling them about your idea.

Imagine if Tolkien had gotten carried away with his idea about Middle Earth. What if the books had followed a quest to destroy all the rings of power - instead of just Sauron's? 

The Lords of the Rings - as opposed to the Lord of the Rings - would have 20 different story-lines with different heroes. An ancient, exhausted Frodo would have to pass the quest on to his great-grandchildren.

If Tolkien had written about all 20 ring of power, would the book have had the same magic? Would we been able to get as involved with the characters? I doubt it. The Lord of the Rings is compelling precisely because everyone units in one, single urgent only-way-to-save-the-world quest.

Just like the Lord of the Rings, new ideas need to have that one compelling reason for people to buy. Otherwise consumers get lost in the possibilities, and lose interest. 

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Idea Acceptance, Positio..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 06:01


The Nile crocodile is a dangerous beast. Descended from the dinosaurs, it can grow over 20 feet long and has a bite force of 3,700 pounds per square inch. (Over 3 times greater than a grizzly bear and 10 times greater than a Rottweiler.) It's a killing machine that is responsible for the deaths of nearly 200 people every year.

But the Nile crocodile also has another fascinating claim to fame. It's one of the first written examples of how you can't make assumptions about how people think! 

The first historian, Herodotus, recounted how the ancient Egyptians viewed the deadly creature that lurked in their river:

Some Egyptians view them as sacred, while others treat them as enemies. The people who live around Thebes and about the lake of Moiris consider the crocodile so holy that they tame a crocodile, treat it as a god, adorn it with gold ornaments in the ears and around claws, make sacrifices on its behalf and embalm it in holy tombs when they die. On the other hand, the people who live near the city of Elephantine eat them.

Isn't it fascinating how each group had such a different perspective on the exact same predator? All of those groups lived along the Nile. All were constantly at risk of becoming part of the crocodile's food chain. Yet each group reacted differently to the threat and viewed the crocodile with a unique perspective.

Just makes you think - what assumptions are we making because of our culture? How might might our perspectives change if we talked to people who live just down the river?

Photo Credit: "Just chilling." by Owen Jones

Author: "Katie Konrath"
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Date: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 14:33


She was last Pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Brilliant and charismatic, she ruled over the great city of Alexandria and spoke 7 languages. And she stole ideas.

After Julius Caesar’s assassination, Cleopatra struggled against the politics of a divided Rome. So when the powerful general Mark Antony summoned Cleopatra to explain her loyalties, the Egyptian ruler pulled out all the stops.

Arriving in a treasure barge rowed by silver oars, Cleopatra dazzled in expensive silks and wore the biggest pearls ever discovered in her ears. She threw lavish banquets for Antony and his friends, all in the hopes of an alliance.

Mark Antony remained unconvinced - until Cleopatra wagered that she could spend 10 million sesterces (~$1.5 million today) on a single meal. But at the end of the extravagant feast, Antony expressed doubt she had delivered.

Cleopatra laughed, and told Antony he had not yet tasted the final course. At her gesture, a servant brought in two glasses of wine. Cleopatra removed a priceless pearl earring and tossed it into the wine. It dissolved and she drank the wine in a single swallow. She then offered the other earing to a stunned Mark Antony.

Unbelievably, the most expensive mixed drink in history wasn’t Cleopatra’s idea. (Although it's often credited to her.) Not long before, Clodius, the son of a famous Roman actor, served wine flavored by a pearl to each guest at a dinner party. Cleopatra, with her insatiable thirst for knowledge, had surely heard the tale.

A brilliant tactician, however, Cleopatra made the idea her own. With one bold, theatrical act, she proved to Mark Antony that Egypt was a powerful, rich ally with the resources to help him in his wars. He was blown away.

That is how Cleopatra built the most powerful partnership of the Ancient World from a stolen idea.

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Ideation and Brainstorming, Opportunity Areas, Fresh..."
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 22:28

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/14041112/89d6b72e-dc19-4de2-8d7f-5fe513bcac53.png
Recently I wrote about why it's essential for innovators to go by the motto "less is more" when they're promoting an idea.  Turns out that "less is more" when deciding who to promote your idea to as well!

The Journal of Consumer Research just published a fascinating article titled Overindividuation in Gift Giving: Shopping for Multiple Recipients Leads Givers to Choose Unique but Less Preferred Gifts. It's about how just thinking about giving gifts to more than one person negatively affects the gift-giver's ability to understand what the recipients really want.

When you're promoting an idea, you need to think about how that new product or service is going to make the consumer's life better. That's called the "benefit" of a product - or the "gift" of your product to them.

The article Overindividuation in Gift Giving, however, reveals that it's a mistake to think about multiple people when you're figuring out the benefit of your new product.

The researchers found:

  • All gift givers want to buy the gift that their receipients will enjoy the most.
    Translation: You want to tell your consumer the "gift" of your product that will appeal the most to them.

  • When gift-givers had only one person to buy a gift for, they reliably picked the gift that would appeal most to the recipient.

  • But, when the gift giver was asked to choose gifts for two people, most gift-givers passed over the obvious "best" gift for at least one of their recipients and choose something else entirely!

So why does thinking about more than one person make people worse at picking out what will appeal most to their recipients?

What happens is that gift-givers feel guilty if they give two people the same gift. They feel it's cheating and doesn't show they  considered each person as an individual. So when someone has to buy a gift for two or more people, they focus on the differences between the recipients.

That means if both recipients love Science Fiction movies most, but one person also likes Romantic Comedies and the other likes Horror - the gift-giver will buy a Romantic comedy and a Horror movie as presents.  Neither will receive a Science Fiction movie - their first choice.

This is the danger in considering two different types of consumers when you're trying to pick the benefit (gift) of your product that will appeal the most to them.  Instead of focusing on what each person really wants, you feel like you have to show each consumer that you understand how they are unique.

That's why it's so important to target only one consumer at a time - even if your product can appeal to multiple demographics. You need to focus on what's most important to that consumer, not what's most important to that consumer when they're compared to someone else!

Image credit: "Gift" by asenat29

Author: "Katie Konrath"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 03:57


Innovation doesn't have to be hard. Sometimes ideas with big impacts can result from simply looking at a challenge from an angle no one has ever considered before.

A 14-year old in Pennsylvania recently found a way to save the US government nearly $400 million dollars - simply by considering something most other people overlooked.

As part of a science project, sixth graders Suvir Mirchandani dove into a study of the cost of printing and ink. He discovered that by switching their default font, his school district could save $21,000 every year. 

How?  Simple - fonts like Garamond are narrower than commonly-used fonts like Times New Roman and require 24% less ink.

Doing the same calculation for the federal government, Suvir found that they'd save $136 million per year in printing costs. And if all the states followed suit, they'd save another $234 million.

Such a small, simple idea - but with a potentially-enormous impact!  Isn't it amazing what ideas can result from looking at a big problem from a different perspective?

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Opportunity Areas, Fresh..."
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Date: Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 18:12


It isn't everyday that you get to look a legendary innovation guru in the eye and refuse to show your openness to new possibilities. Yet there I was, sitting across the table from Lateral Thinking legend Edward de Bono as he urged me to eat a plate full of chocolate-covered worms.  And I wanted nothing to do with them.

Edible-final-cover-hi-res-1I've been thinking about this recently as I was reading Edible, An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet, a new book about eating bugs by entomophagist Daniella Martin.

As I read the book and was faced by all the evidence Daniella presents about why bugs are one of the best sources of protein available, I wondered: Why is it that we are so resistant to eating bugs?  Is it because they're creepy-crawly?  Or because we're sure they cannot possibly taste good? 

Lets think this through.  After all, shrimp definitely can be considered "creepy-crawly" - and they're delicious in so many ways

And bugs are eaten as delicacies across the world - from Columbians eating toasted leafcutter ants like popcorn at movie theaters to skewers of fried scorpions in Thailand and roasted June bugs in Native American cuisine.

Rather, I think our resistance to eating bugs in Western cuisine is a symptom of the reluctance of humans to trying something new.

This attitude makes a lot of sense if you consider how dangerous it can be to experiment with potential foods. If you're ever starving in the wild, experts recommend following the 14-step Universal Edibiliy Test to determine if something is safe to eat.  It's important to remember, however, that this test must be done individually for every part of the plant you want to eat. And don't forget that even if a part of a plant (e.g. the root) is proven to be safe raw, that doesn't mean it will be safe when it's cooked (and vise versa).

Consider the history of two foods widely consumered today. For over 200 years (until nearly the 20th century), tomatos were regarded as dangerous in Europe and North America. As it turns out, most deaths attributed to tomatos were a result of the lead plates they were served upon. However, until that cause of death became known, tomatoes were classified as a type of "deadly nightshade"

Unlike the tomato, the mushroom deserves its deadly reputation. Accidental mushroom poisoning is rumored to have caused the deaths of Buddha, two Roman emporors, the mother of Peter the Great and the inventor of the Fahrenheit temperature scale. Many poisonous mushrooms appear similar to safe ones, and a mushroom's toxicity can even vary due to geographical location.  Thus, even the most experienced mushroom gatherers must cultivate a highly-suspicious nature.

For thousands of years, the survival of the human race has depended on being cautious about what we eat. Perhaps that's part of why we are so wary of putting strange new foods - like bugs - in our mouths. 

Yet, at the same time, the success of the human race has depended on our ability to incorporate new food sources into our diets - allowing for migration to different climates, the evolution of hunting and agriculture, and everything else that has led to how we live today.  Can you imagine how little the human race would have evolved if we only ate a single source of food like the endangered giant panda?

Our ability to adapt - and ultimately to innovate - has depended on us being open to new possibilities.  So while our caution for strange new food sources is well-deserved, it's also an obstacle we should overcome.

So who will join me in reading Edible - and being open to trying new possibilities?  

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Idea Acceptance"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 16:40

During ideation and consumer interaction, time is of the essence, so it’s important to keep the conversation on track. But there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. For example: Don’t do thisDon’t think of thatWe’re not going to go there

Limitations like these quickly become the elephant in the room. They make the room feel smaller and suck all the life out of the discussion—and soon they’re the only thing anyonecan think about. 

But limitations can help idea generation and lead to more ideas – if you use them the right way.

The key to using limitations correctly during idea generation is to change how you view them. Instead of blocking in thinking and adding restrictions, focus your thinking on an “Opportunity Area.”  

Same premise—you’re still preventing ideation from going off in random, unhelpful directions—but very, very different results.

Why does this work? 

First, because vocabulary is important.

By changing the vocabulary from “don’t think about x, y and z,” to “what does this Opportunity Area make you think of?” you’re telling your brain that you’re open to whatever possibilities may arise.

Idea generation is all about making connections between the challenge you’re trying to solve and your life experience/knowledge base. So when you ask your brain to focus in on an Opportunity Area and make new connections, you’re working withyour brain, rather than against it. And, as long as you can connect that idea to the Opportunity Area, that idea isn’t bad or wrong (as your brain would interpret it if you were imposing limitations).

The vocabulary shift is also incredibly important because you avoid telling your brain “don’t think of this.” This keeps you from putting the elephant in the room in the first place.

Secondly, shifting your thinking to focusing on Opportunity Areas also increases your idea quantity. 

When people ideate without limitations, they begin by coming up with ideas fast and furious. The ideas are all over the board and they’re wildly creative—right until they hit a wall and run completely out of possibilities!

The human brain wants order, and so it channels thinking into pathways that it has used before. This happens a lot in ideation: people get stuck on a theme and all the ideas they come up with are centered on that theme.  As a result, they come up with tons of ideas, but the ideas don’t cover a broad range of opportunities.

Imposing limitations on ideation (in terms of a focus on an Opportunity Area), can combat this tendency. How? Simple—you deliberately focus on coming up with ideas in a single area (e.g. Customization) until you run out of ideas. Then, when that area is exhausted, you make a deliberate switch to a new focus (e.g. All-Natural).

The deliberate switching keeps your brain fresh by pushing you to look in different directions every time it gets stuck. It’s about staying nimble and looking for many options to get around that “don’t go there” elephant in the room. And the result is tens or hundreds of more ideas than you’d get by simply throwing yourself full-force in a single direction until you run out of gas.

So as you can see, limitations don’t have to be the bane of ideation sessions. Whenused properly, they can open the brain to new possibilities and also dramatically increase the number of ideas you create—and the number of ideas that make it to development and, eventually, to market.

Image © Brittany 2010


Katie Konrath helps companies come up with "ideas so fresh... they should be slapped" at leading innovation company Ideas To Go

This post was originally published April 1, 2014 on the Ideas To Go blog.

© 2014 Katie Konrath and Ideas To Go. For permission to republish, please contact.

Author: "Katie Konrath"
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Date: Monday, 31 Mar 2014 16:50

 Many people believe that creativity is an innate characteristic.  You're either born with it, or you're not - it's not something that can be developed.

Whether you believe that or not, there's a place in South West England where creativity sprouts right from the ground. Check out this fun tongue-in-cheek video about how they export creative juice to the rest of the world.*

*No creatives were actually juiced in the making of this video!

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Ideation and Brainstorming, Ideation and Brainstorming, Ideation and Brainstorming"
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Date: Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 17:57

Got a hot new product hitting the market? Are you looking to convince your consumers that it’s the perfect solution to their unmet needs? Then you’ll want to pay attention, because it turns out that how much you say about your new product might matter just as much as what you say about it.

When marketers have a hot new product on their hands, it’s incredibly hard to resist telling consumers all the wonderful things about it. For a great example of this, take a look at a product I recently read about on the Forbes blog.

This amazing pillow, the Pillo1, is designed to give users a better night’s sleep. It not only relieves neck pain, improves circulation, and reduces snoring, it helps people fall asleep 19% faster and increases REM sleep by 21% (as validated by independent testing). It also stays cool at night—all while being eco-friendly, sound-dampening and made in the USA.

But wait, there’s more! A quick probe of their website revealed that the pillow is dust-mite resistant and hypoallergenic, as well as mold- and mildew-proof! Not to mention, it was designed by a sleep specialist to maintain ideal spine alignment. Plus, Oprah.com says it's perfect for back sleepers and side sleepers, all in one comfy package.

Egads! Do you feel like you’re being buried under all the claims? Or did you just zone out halfway through? If so, you’re not alone.

Studies show that when people know they are being sold to, they begin “coping” (pdf) by disengaging, ignoring the message or simply discounting it altogether. That is why the “miracle” pillow above seems so suspicious. Consumers start to wonder: “If the pillow is so good in the first place, why are they trying so hard to convince me?”

Your product may actually be that good, but it doesn’t matter. Rather than intriguing them, telling consumers too many reasons why your product is the best thing since sliced bread can undermine your message, and might actually prevent them from taking out their wallets!

So how do you convey the value of your product? How much can you say? As it turns out, the answer is simple: in order to be believed, say three positive things—and stop there.

In this fascinating article published in January 2014 in the Journal of Marketing (pdf), researchers tested how many positive “claims” should be made about a product in a series of experiments. They found that when a person hears up to three positive traits about a product, they viewed that product more favorably. However, as soon as a fourth positive trait was mentioned, the person started feeling “sold to” and started to view the product more negatively. This result remained consistent across all four trials.

So, when you’re positioning your new product on the market, remember to show restraint when telling consumers about all the great things it can do for them. Three claims is plenty to get your message across, and will actually be more powerful.

Katie Konrath helps companies come up with "ideas so fresh... they should be slapped" at leading innovation company Ideas To Go. If you're interested in having her speak to your organization, she'd love to hear from you.

This post was originally published March 18th on the Ideas To Go blog.

© 2014 Katie Konrath. For permission to republish, please contact.

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Consumer Insights, Posit..."
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Date: Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 17:55

This morning, I watched a fascinating TED talk by Toby Shapshak about innovation in Africa.  In it, he projected the following image below.  


It's a picture of worldwide electricity usage, right?  No, he replied - this is actually a map of innovation.  In the rest of the world, people are too busy playing Angry Birds to focus on innovating.

Is that true?  Well, as it turns out, Angry Birds users log 200 million minutes every day!  So it's highly likely that a good portion of that electricty above is due to bored people playing a game where they lob virtual birds at each other. Astonishing, right?

But the point Toby is making is that in developed countries, people spend a lot of their day doing "time wasters" - which takes time away from the time they spend innovating.

Nearly 60% of US smartphone users spend most of their time on entertainment apps. People with smartphones spend 115 minutes a week using social networking. Going beyond mobile, 9.1 million viewers watched the season finale of The Bachelor and 112.2 million watched the Seahawks destroy the Broncos in the Super Bowl. (And trust me, both of those were a disappointment!)

Think about it - how much time have you wasted this week?  What thinking could you have been doing instead?  What problems could you have solved?  What's sucking up your time and distracting you from making amazing things happen?

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Ideation and Brainstorming, Published first at ITG, Learn to be Creative"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012 23:17

Michael Phelps

July 28th, 2012. London. A man on the verge of glory climbed on the starting blocks of his first final of the 2012 Summer Games. Earlier that day, he had unexpectedly squeaked his way into the final by only 0.07 of a second. As he crouched for the start, the crowd roared for him. When the buzzer blew, he did something that no one expected: he finished a well-beaten fourth.

Two days later, Michael Phelps became the greatest Olympic athlete ever as his 18th and 19th Olympic medals were placed around his neck. Over the next days, he added three more—finishing his career with more Olympic medals than 82 countries.

Yet even as his name was written in the history books, it was obvious that the rest of the world had finally caught up.

He was still magnificent, but Michael Phelps was no longer unstoppable.          

In the world of innovation, those shocking upsets lurk on every successful product’s horizon. An amazing product like the iPhone will take over the market. Challengers quickly rise and are just as quickly vanquished. Like Michael Phelps in 2008, the new product seems unstoppable.

Until suddenly, shockingly, it’s not.

Like Michael Phelps, the iPhone is without a doubt the greatest competitor in its category. No phone has sold so much and so consistently been tops for so many years. It has also worn the unstoppable label.

But right before it was named the most valuable company in history, Apple also tasted defeat. When customers bought 2.5 million fewer iPhones than expected this spring, Apple missed its earnings goal - something it has only done a handful of times in the past decade. At the same time, Samsung announced the Galaxy S3 smartphone—and the world pounced.

Before the Galaxy S3 even left the factory at the end of May, it had over 9 million pre-orders (2 times more pre-orders than for the latest iPhone.) In a shocking upset, the Galaxy S3 became the fastest-selling gadget in history.

What happened? How did Apple and Michael Phelps fall so short so fast?

Quite simply, they lost their hunger to push the envelope. They had reached the top—and instead of pushing to reach the next level—they paused to enjoy the moment.

Between Beijing and London, Michael Phelps cut down the mileage he swam and dabbled in alternative training methods. Competitors such as 400 IM gold medalist Ryan Lochte trained harder—and their intensity paid off. Phelps even admitted after the 400 IM that he had come up short at the end of the race.

Like Phelps, Apple stopped being so hungry this past year. The highly-anticipated iPhone 5 did not arrive in 2011 as expected. Instead, Apple disappointed with iPhone 4S—an improved fourth generation iPhone. Upgraded hardware and a nifty new speaking app simply weren’t enough to hold the lead when Samsung sought to change the game with their Galaxy S3.

When companies have a successful product, it’s tempting for them to take that as an opportunity to catch their breath and enjoy their success. But that’s when it’s most critical to keep the hunger level alive!

The instant something reaches the top, challengers have a benchmark and a target.

Between Beijing and London, elite swimmers studied Michael Phelps’ success. They studied his fitness regimen, analyzed his stroke and matched everything he did right. And then they dedicated themselves to going beyond.

The same thing happened with the iPhone. Samsung took some parts of the iPhone that consumers loved—and then asked themselves, “What’s next?” They studied consumer trends, gathered insights and unmet needs—and then set off to create a game-changer. And they succeeded.

In London, Michael Phelps was able to pull himself back to the top—but it was obvious that he was no longer an unstoppable force. In October, Apple has a chance to regain their dominance when the iPhone 5 hits shelves—but they are no longer the innovator to beat.

Reaching the top is an incredible feat—but staying at the top means staying hungry. There’s always a challenger waiting in the wings to take it away.


Katie Konrath helps companies come up with "ideas so fresh... they should be slapped" at leading innovation company Ideas To Go. If you're interested in having her speak to your organization, she'd love to hear from you.

This post was originally published on the Ideas To Go Blog.

Author: "Katie Konrath" Tags: "Missed Opportunities"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012 22:39

When you’re figuring out how to brand yourself for your dream career, you spend oodles of time discovering what you need to demonstrate in your brand to achieve your goals. But, what if I were to tell you that – no matter your field of how much pondering you’ve done – you’re probably forgetting to emphasize the single most important skill you need?

This is a skill that gets a lot of hype, but at the same time, usually gets pushed aside. It’s a skill that everyone has, and can develop more fully – although it’s also one often believed to be soley an innate skill. It’s also one of those soft skills that isn’t quantifiable. But most importantly, it’s the skill that over 1500 CEOS from over 33 industries worldwide believe is the ”most important leadership competency of the future”.

Do you have it? Depends – how creative do you consider yourself?        

In a 2010 global survey by IBM, CEOs worldwide ranked creativity as a more essential skill than dedication, ability to manage, integrity or vision for the leaders of tomorrow. Be assured though, that when they talk about creativity, it’s not about the artsy, sparkly meaning that is often given to the word.

This is the creativity that deals with new markets, new competitors, rising levels of complexity and everything else that results from an increasingly-connected global world where change happens daily.

In order to be on top – or to get there in the first place – it’s no longer enough for companies to manage themselves effciently. No, in order to be successful today, companies of all sizes need to create. Investing in creativity gives a company more strength and security than any other thing it can do.

Companies know this, and they’re looking for people – either as employees or as consultants – who are creative and can help them thrive.

At this point, some of you will probably be protesting that you’re simply not creative – so your personal brand will be fine without espousing any creativity. (“Thank you very much.”) And you wouldn’t be alone in saying this. A recent study by the European Centre for Strategic Innovation that found that 67% of business leaders believe great innovators are born and not made.

However, it’s absolute hogwash to say you’re not creative. (And taking the easy way out.)

Renowned innovation researcher Clayton Christensen and the other authors of The Innovator’s DNA have found that people who believe they are creative become so. Other researchers have found in studies of identical twins that (unlike intelligence) only 30% of creative ability has a basis in genetics. And innovation gurus like Edward de Bono, Michael Michalko, Genrich Altshuller and many more have developed techniques that anyone can use to generate ideas.

Instead, as those researchers, innovation gurus and the CEOs in the IBM study have found, creativity is a skill that can be developedand should. Every person has the ability to be creative: they just need to find the right technique that works with their style of thinking.

So, if you don’t already consider yourself creative and are not demonstrating your creativity already in your brand – or you are not actively learning how to become more creative, you’re leaving a giant hole in your personal brand. Are you willing to risk not having the “most important leadership competency of the future”?


Katie Konrath helps companies come up with "ideas so fresh... they should be slapped" at leading innovation company Ideas To Go. If you're interested in having her speak to your organization, she'd love to hear from you.

This post was originally published on the Personal Branding Blog.

Author: "Katie Konrath"
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