Know your purpose: maximising the creativity of your business

The last few years have dramatically accelerated artificial intelligence and automation to resolve key industry challenges. This has sparked conversations about the role that humans play in operations, with creativity becoming recognised as the unique element that distinguishes humans from machines.

On 9 November, the keynote speaker at the Canadian Coffee Association’s (CAC) conference, Daniel Lamarre, vice-chair of the board, Cirque du Soleil and author of Balancing Acts: Unleashing the Power of Creativity in Your Life and Work, challenged the coffee industry to both identify and embrace their innate creativity. During this dynamic conversation, he shared several examples of how creativity was an essential element of the company’s success and its role in reviving Cirque du Soliel after the mandated shutdown during the pandemic.

Ideas, on their own, are not enough, stressed Lamarre, as ideas will fall flat without a sense of purpose and direction. Advanced artificial intelligence can use algorithms and data to populate ideas for products and services. However, where artificial intelligence fails is in distinguishing which of these ideas should be put to fruition.

The human element is required to determine which of these concepts aligns with the purpose and brand of the business and to help put the strategy in place to move the idea into reality.

The core of creativity is not an artistic pursuit but about developing and implementing something that was not there before. This includes facing challenges and investing the time to discover new solutions. True creativity requires collaboration, listening, debating, paying attention to your intuition, and being willing to move quickly. “In an accelerated world, you cannot predict everything and eliminate all risks,” shared Lamarre. It is about going beyond the idea and investing the time to discover your purpose and allow that to drive you.

“Creativity is about leaning into, not just advertising, agility, problem solving, all of those things are important in a sea of change, to be able to navigate that and have a creative advantage is massive,” said Tracey Cooke, SVP, marketing and commercialisation, head of the Centre of Marketing Excellence, Nestlé, during a panel discussion at the CAC Conference. “There are types of tasks that artificial intelligence can do well; it is all about embracing it for what it can unlock. However, generating ideas and implementing the strategy are areas that require human expertise.”

Integrating artificial intelligence and automation into an operation will not extinguish the need to be creative. In fact, it might give businesses the drive to adopt a more creative mindset to ensure their operation remains unique and relevant. By allocating automation to standardised tasks, human resources can focus on tasks that require deep thinking and, in turn, present the opportunity for more innovation and increased alignment with brand values and purpose.

  • Anne-Marie Hardie is a freelance writer, professor and speaker based in Barrie, Ontario. She may be reached at: [email protected].

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