Creative Distraction: Buggy Whip Makers Were in the Motivation Business

Thu, May 13, 2010

Bruce DeBoer, Editorials

If you’re a creativity supplier be very proud of your steady revenue in the face of change. Either you’re a positioning genius in an unstable market or it just may be the quiet before a bigger storm.

Scott Anthony for the Harvard Business Review writes how flat yet steady revenue might, in the face of disruption, help category leaders ignore even the most obvious need for change. CD sales in the mid 90’s, Newspaper Revenues, or photographic film sales are solid examples of change snubbing categories.  Another example of an organization disregarding change – yet much less surprising – is the USPS sited in an article in the Economist titled: Hoping for Deliverance.

Market positioning is difficult under the best of circumstances and the sole proprietor may have neither the time nor inclination to react even if they’re trend aware. Professional photographers are an especially hard hit group. It was nearly impossible to avoid flat footing the need for dramatic change.  As a group they’re finally mostly aware yet a large number remain bemused about how deep the change will go and its affects, same goes for the advertising industry.

For the last couple years I’ve been thinking about my work in terms of big “D” and little “d” where big “D” is discovery and little “d” is delivery.  Discover your motivation, your unique blend of expertise, and the problems to be solved.  Delivery is the how your discovery fits onto a business model. Sound like “design thinking” – yeah, it should.

It’s been an ongoing process that, thus far, pivots on motivation and passion.  I’ve been taking inventory with questions like these:

1.  Where is my work passion rooted; What do I find exciting?

2.  What are the relevant experiences and skills bordering the excitement?

3.  Among my collected experience / skill inventory, what is uniquely mine?

4.  What value can I offer based on my inventory?

5.  What values are uniquely mine that will not change?

6.  What is the value proposition of my work?

Basic ? Remedial? Yes but it’s easy to lose track of #1 and if you do, #6 will eventually  suck.  It’s a process that was probably switched to auto pilot in early career but certainly if I stayed more cognoscente it would have lead to fewer wrong turns.

What’s at the core of your offering?  You’re a musician but aren’t you also a performer? I’m a commercial photographer but I’m also a visual artist.  If you’re an auto maker aren’t you also a transportation company?  I make these distinctions because they are roots oriented.  Buggy whip manufacturers were in the in the motivation business.  Photographic trends lose relevance but visual art will always move people.

Get the point? Find passion’s root, get back in touch with what you offer, hold onto what won’t change and rappel from there. Good advice for the USPS don’t you think?

Reference Permission To Suck Manifesto:

Law #6.    Your creativity is about your heart, not their surface. Creativity is your world view filtered through your talent. It’s your passion, experience, expertise, inspiration and your rules that drive you to create wonderful things that you’re destined to hate because they’re not good enough, and others are open to admire because they couldn’t do it.



Design Thinking, Inspiration, Motivation, Passion

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