Friday, May 06, 2005

The Ten Easy Steps To Increase Your Confidence, Creativity and Cash In The Attention Economy

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

In Australia at the moment we are celebrating the Australian Innovation Festival.

This years theme is Innovation and You.

The festival was established to celebrate the best in Australian innovation.

According to the official brochure innovation can be defined as "a process that transfers ideas through business activity into saleable goods, processes and services".

I have been proud to present a range of seminars as part of the festival and attend the official launch.

I was impressed by guest speaker, John Howkins who is a leading figure in global communications, media and entertainment. I'm currently reading his groundbreaking book The Creative Economy.

As I sat, listened and then reflected on his presentation, here is my analysis distilled down into my Top 10 Tips:

1. Create a Confidence Culture.
Don't rely only on your own individual talent to have and implement ideas. When you have ideas you need to convince people to invest in those ideas. This relies on your confidence and ability to persuade people to turn a dream into reality. If you're not confident in your idea how can you convince others to invest time, money and resources in it?

2. Sit and Think and Look and Question.
The best answers to problems are solved by observation, analysis and insight. Take time out to practice these too often lost skills. Appreciate time working on your own. As Dr Karl Kruszelnicki says in his IQ case study on Nobel Prize Winners (who by the way have normal IQs around the 120 mark), "its not the answers that get you to the blue hall, but the questions!"

3. Attitude.
Ideas are available to anyone. All you need is your brain because it is made up of perceptions and memories which form inherited ideas. Put the priority on ideas rather than data. In our democratic and populist societies, we're seeing the rise of the individual. Be an individual to stand out from the crowd and nurture your uniqueness, but also be a team player. This unique combination is essential for success.

It is a credo I live by. Framed hanging on the wall in my office in a prominent position is a poster with my logo and this message:


"OUR CORE VALUES

The following values are actively fostered, encouraged and central to the way we do business:

Creativity
Excellence
Service
Teamwork
"

Have an attitude, live it and be consistent.

4. Be Competitive and Tough.
The barriers of entry for new ideas are extremely low, even non-existent. You need to outsmart your competition and understand patents, copyright, trademarks and other intellectual property laws that protect ideas. What business is about, is not the technology, but about ideas and the application and protection of ideas.

Howkins compares the examples of two brilliant men, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and inventor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee. Gates protected his idea and is now the wealthiest man on the planet. Berners-Lee didn't and yet his invention has changed the way we communicate.

5. The Ability To Change People's Mind.
Being part of the creative economy is about changing people's minds. If you want your ideas to be taken seriously, you need to have outstanding persuasion and influence skills.

6. Learn Endlessly.
Ideas are about doing something different and better. Borrow. Innovate. In beautiful Perth where I live, as well as the low cost of living, stunning lifestyle and great weather - we have another advantage. I call it the isolation, ideas and innovation factor. We live in the most isolated city in the world and this is both a negative and positive. The positive is remoteness breeds creativity. When you stop learning, you stop being creative.

7. Excel In The Attention Economy
We now live in an economy where creativity, the media and entertainment dominate. It seeps into every crease, fold and cranny in our lives. Learn to excel in this economy. Understand the pressures and the principles of living in this age.

I call this a time when the Three C's of Change are on the increase:

1. Chaos,
2. Clutter, and
3. Competition

Chaos - Our lives are getting busier and busier and more and more chaotic as we sift through the masses of information coming at us.

Clutter - This mass of information is getting held up, like grains of sand in an hourglass, and the sheer volume is cluttering up our lives and decision-making processes.

Competition - It is an increasingly competitive marketplace now, with me too brands, look at me brands, and global brands dominating the marketplace. It is increasingly difficult to be truly unique and standout from the crowd.

8. To Make A Mistake Is Not To Fail.
There's a well-known saying along the lines of "a mistake is only a mistake if you don't learn from it". The rate of failure is high within an economy built on ideas. That failure can be at a personal, company or even Government policy level. Learn how to deal with failure and manage it. Traditionally bureaucrats have focussed on policy and businesses avoid risk.

When a senior executive at the ABC, I always found this a challenge as a manager. A delicate balancing act was required to encourage creativity to make good programs on the one hand, while working within a dinosaur-like, bureacratic, public service culture where policy and process dominate. I learnt the hard way there is an unstable relationship between creativity, innovation and bureacracy. You can read a full article about these challenges originally published in The West Australian newspaper in November 2000 in the next article in this blog.

9. Build A Powerful Personal Brand.
How creative you are, whether your ideas are accepted and how often you fail will impact on your personal identity. Your identity is how others see you. Manage these perceptions and build a strong personal brand that is resilient, reliable and real.

10. Have Ideas, Make Fun, Make Money.
Ideas are the currency and rules by which we get access to capital. If you have the right idea, with the right support, you can have great fun and make a huge amount of money along the way.

Want to learn more? Discover how to get your ideas taken seriously by using the media to become a thought leader at our next Winning the Media Game course on July 21st, 2005 or we can customise for your organisation.

More details here.

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