Friday, May 09, 2014


An example of creaivity
 Two words which have been ruthlessly abused in the last ten to fifteen years are 'CREATIVITY' and "INNOVATION". If you are somewhat sceptical of that ststement, then listen to this. I was just going through the paper a few days back when I came to this line in an obituary I was just glancing through of an old codger who died of old age in his nineties. And there was the sentence" Mr So.-and-so did many innovative things in his lifetime. Really?? 

"Familiarity breeds Contempt" and today we are so familiar with the I-word and to a lesser extent the C-word, that they don't mean anything. The tragedy about this is the boy who is eaten up..
You: Which boy?
Me: You know the one who used to shout 'Wolf"
You. Was he eaten up?
Me:  Aaaah! He wasn't . I am just indulging in some creative innovation.
You go : Waaah! How do you do that? ....

That is the story of Innovation and Creativity, folks!. We have become so familiar with it today that we won't recognize the real I and C, even if they dance the "Lungi dance" in front of us stark naked. We will tackle the I-word in another post and in this post, we will just tackle with creativity.

Just what is Creativity

Creativity is " the ability to look at inputs from a different perspective /viewing angle so that the resultant output makes sense or enhances value"
Creativity is not jumping to conclusions.

Some people confuse creativity with " Creative Writing" , a phrase much bandied around these days, which is not correct. Creative writing is connected to the writer and the writer's work. Perhaps if I give an example of creativity, it will be more clear to you, dear reader, just what I am trying to tell you.

Let us imagine a hypothetical situation where a person travelling along a road comes to a fork on the road. One arm goes to the right and the other to the left. He is now at a loss as to which way to go. Actually both the fork arms first diverge and then converge again to form the road again. But our hero dosen't know this. He is flummoxed and unable to continue. But after a couple of hours,a light bulb shines on the top of his head.  Why don't I look at my road  from a higher elevation, he thinks?  He climbs a tree (growing conveniently nearby) and from the very top sees that the roads meet again . He climbs down and continues on his way, right or left now makes no difference.This is creativity

We must all have experienced the phenomenon that something written by you which looks perfect, appears flawed when you look at it the next morning. This is Creativity as I understand it and the credit for my comrehension (only if correct-if flawed, its mine) must go to Dr. Edward DeBono and his books.

Creativity and Selling

But as you may be wondering by now, how can creativity help in selling. Simple ! Take nothing for granted and try thinking of a tough problem in different ways. If you are just not able to sell

something despite trying your best, think differently. Maybe the customer's value and your idea of value is different. Now you may probably think if that is true, then the customer should tell you. Nope - that isn't the way. The customer dosen't tell you and you can't ask why? You may say its illogical and irrational. To that, my answer will be maybe but who told you that customers are rational and logical. Anyway, your job is not to gauge the personality of the customer. Your job is to sell your product to him. Be creative. Don't jump to conclusions.

I was once trying to break a monopoly of a company in small dewatering centrifuges. Their prices were lower and quality was the same. When I made a plea to the lady engineer in charge about giving us a chance too and said I would quote a price the same as theirs ( I had got permission from my boss beforehand), this lady taught me something valuable. She told me "Look, we have been using their centrifuges for the last so many projects and our people are familiar with them. They have our confidence. Now, you tell me why I should buy yours in this scenario". I accepted defeat immediately and we stopped trying to break that particular monopoly in that part of the country. My point in telling you this incident is that at times with creativity, you may appear to lose ( I saw the matter from the customer's perspective) but did I really lose? I didn't lose. I stopped wasting my time banging my head against the brick wall and concentrated on other things. That's a win.

 In industrial selling, if you come across someone who says that they have never lost a sale, the person is lying. Always winning is impossible. You can make it possible by dressing it in specific words but the truth is that we all come naked to this world. If someone claims that he came or she came dressed, be assured that the concerned salesperson has no sense of integrity.

"Curiosity" is a great crowd puller. That is the significance of the image in this post. That is a creative idea turning conventional logic upside down. What will you do if you see a restaurent with that sign? I'll certainly go inside and check it out. This idea may have become common now-a-days in the US. Still, I don't think anyone in India will have the guts to open a eatery and put a similar sign. By the way, the more common an idea becomes, the less is its creativity.

This post has got rather long so I'll stop now. Next time, we will explore the mechanics of creativity,and perhaps start the I-word as well. And my request to everyone is that to advise others from putting the I-word in obituaries. "Innovative sex" is okay but " lived an innovative life " is a phrase which is just plain 'ol bullshit'.The dead person dosen't deserve that surely.

With love,

Bilbo -the-salesgyaan-man

1 comment:

  1. Agree with this. Creativity can be a great booster in sales.