Getting our Right Brains Turned On at the OFF Conference

At BSL, we’re always hunting for the latest trends and techniques. We read blogs, subscribe to magazines, take part in training seminars — all in an effort to find the best, most creative solutions to meet our clients’ marketing and communication needs. 

Image: Infopresse via Flickr
As part of this quest for “what’s next,” BSL recently attended OFF, the first annual conference on the future of creativity and innovation in business, presented by Infopresse at the Society for Arts and Technology in Montreal. 

Here are some of our key takeaways from the daylong meeting of the minds:

First, according to INSEAD professor and Harvard Business Review author Hal Gregersen, it seems that only 33% of human creativity comes from our genes. For Gregersen, this means that anyone, in any profession, can learn to be creative in their own way under the right conditions. In other words,
“It is possible for creativity to be “forced” and fed. You just have to know how to think differently. And to think differently, you have to act differently. And to do that, you have to talk to people who are different from you. You have to be curious, observe and make connections that others don’t see.” 
Others, like Yannick Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal, believe that creativity is a much more complex and delicate thing to achieve, especially at the organizational level. “It cannot be simply integrated, it must be lived on an everyday basis. It is not implemented, but rather revealed,” said Mallat. And this starts with an organizational culture that embraces disruptive elements and makes breaking from the status quo a part of the daily routine. 

For many companies, the challenge with making a commitment to this kind of game-changing creativity is time — or the lack of it. For Francois Lacoursière, Senior Partner at Sid Lee, the solution is to "develop processes that favor speed and efficiency" for less creative tasks, like answering emails for example. If done diligently, this should free up more time to spend on what Lacoursière sees as the basis for innovation: non-linear work, collaboration, idea clashing and experimentation. 

Image: by Infopresse via Flickr
This organic, trial-and-error approach is also endorsed by Patrick Beauduin, Executive Director of radio at Radio-Canada (the French CBC). “The important thing is often not the results you get, but the path you take to get there,” explained Beauduin. “You have to tolerate error, and put your trust in it, because a failure can still be a success in the long run.” 

In the end, based on everything we heard at OFF, it seems that unlocking creativity and innovation, both at the individual and the organizational level, boils down to confidence. It requires a judgment-free environment where risk-taking is rewarded, where people actively listen to each other, and where a strong sense of trust and togetherness exists amongst team members. 

We hope that this information will get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to “run towards tension,” as Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen put it during his presentation. 

Maybe you can start by identifying one thing you can do differently — right now — to make creativity a bigger part of your work/ company/ life? 

We would love to hear what that would be. And to help you make it happen. 

For a video recap of the OFF Conference, visit: http://www.infopresse.tv/videos/off-2012

For a photostream of the event, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/infopresse/off-2012

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