With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the modern age, markets all over the world were radicalized in many ways. The most important change felt in the markets was the principle of laissez faire which allowed the people themselves to act as business owners and market influencers without the interference of the government. This gave rise to more autonomy and individualization in the modern market. This rapid individualization saw the need for a person who would be willing to take the risks posed by the market and come up with businesses so as to earn profits for the business and themselves. This need for such a class of persons was fulfilled by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are people who aim to set up and fund businesses and take a shot at the market and the risks posed by it so as to reap benefits and gains.
Over a period of time, entrepreneurs started turning up dime a dozen and in almost every field. But, this did not mean that such entrepreneurs were successful in their business escapades. Many failed, but, some managed to shine through and entered the pantheon of business wizards. The reason why some of these entrepreneurs succeeded and some failed and fizzled out is because the difference in traits of such entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur requires many qualities to be successful, like good leadership skills, market understanding, future vision et al, but, perhaps the most important skill an entrepreneur requires is the ability to stand out from the crowd and be creative. The main aim of this report is to find out the link between creativity and entrepreneurship in extensive detail by using real world examples of entrepreneurs who succeeded in the market owing to their creative intuition and how it ensured success for them and their respective organizations.
Creativity is one of the most beautiful and useful gifts bestowed upon mankind. Through his creativity man is able to come up with concepts and ideas which are truly awe inspiring and capable of changing the world. And there are few people who are able to utilize their creativity to the fullest and come up with notions which have ground breaking uses and applications. And when such people are put in reign of a company they are creative thinking oriented entrepreneurs. Such entrepreneurs have the ability to see the future and run their company in such a manner that they are able to achieve such a future in many cases, and end up leaving the world a better place than the one they found it in, or at the very least creating a lasting name for themselves and their organization. Thus, it can be stated that the presence and availability of creativity in the skill roster of an entrepreneur is highly important and the impact creativity has on entrepreneurs and their organizations is mentioned in the form of real world examples below:
Steve Jobs & Apple Inc.: Steven Paul Jobs was one of the founders of Apple Inc., a multinational company which specializes for making consumer electronic products and is known all over the world for their iPhones, iPads, Macintosh computers etc. When Apple started out as a fledgling company, it operated out of Steve Jobs’ garage and now, it is the world’s most valuable company with an unprecedented brand name and fan following. And this has only been possible because of Steve Jobs’ creativity and application of such creative ideas into real life tangible products. In today’s day and age, computers are an integral aspect of everyone’s lives and the world is practically run on computers. But, back when Steve Jobs’ was a budding teenager and a child of the counterculture, computers were just acquiring a foothold in some niche markets in America, the government being one of the primary consumers of computers. Computers back then were seen as a convolutive device which was clunky and difficult to use and understand. Further, with the Hippie Revolution and counterculture in full swing at that point of time, they were considered to be mind controlling devices and something reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984. Basically, no one imagined that they would ever have a computer in their home, let alone it to be personal and simple in nature. Steve Jobs along with his engineering friend, Steve Wozniak saw computers in a completely separate light and considered them tools to take the human beings further. Seeing the complicated nature of computers, Steve Jobs realized that people won’t probably ever use such a device and saw the opportunity to create a computer which would be simple and easy to use. Here, one can see the first trace of creativity implemented by Steve Jobs. Jobs, owing to his forward-thinking mind was able to identify a market which was taking baby steps and saw that there was scope to introduce a product which could revolutionize the market and change the way people saw computers. This highlights the fact that Jobs indeed had a creative mind as he was able to conjecture and conceptualize a machine people would actually like to use and then acted upon this vision. Jobs further utilized his creativity in the conception of such a computer. Jobs realized that people preferred to use a thing which they could see and interact with. This led to him compare the computer with a desk. The computer was a metaphorical desk in the sense that desks had documents and important material upon them and people could interact with them freely and do whatever they wanted with them. This vision and idea enable Jobs to direct his team to design a computer based on the concept of a desktop which could be freely interacted with using a pointing device, i.e. the mouse. To facilitate the seeing part, Jobs conceptualized a computer which displayed images on the screen through a graphical oriented user interface to replace the old text based system of computing. Thus, Jobs, through his creativity was able to conceptualize a computer which people could actually use as a tool owing to its simple nature and he had it built and presented as a computer which could be compared to real life object, and this computer was known as the Macintosh. The Macintosh was a revolutionary product which was a hit amongst the people as the average person had never seen a computer so intuitive, futuristic, fun and easy to use. This made the consumers realize that computers can actually be useful and can have numerous possibilities and made them consider buying a computer. If the situation is to be analyzed closely, we can see how Jobs’ creativity created the personal computer overnight. The effect of creativity on Jobs’ style of working and his entrepreneurial spirit is outlined below in order to understand better how much of an impact creativity has one the business skill of an entrepreneur:
a) Forward Thinking: A creative person is a future oriented man, who has the ability to look at a potential opportunity or a market and recognize it before anyone else is able to do so. This is because of the fact that creative thinkers can conceptualize a market and what it lacks and what can be done to make it better. This futuristic aspect can also be seen in Jobs’ identification of the personal computer market and its revolutionary aspect and nature.
b) Non-Conformism: Creative thinkers generally turn out to be rebels who do not conform to the norms of the market and try to set out on a path of their own. They break the conventions and molds of the market and create something truly unique and outstanding. In Jobs’ case, he envisioned a computer which worked like a regular desktop, something which was so revolutionary and different in its simplicity that the term desktop is automatically assumed to be a synonym of a computer to this day.
c) Pushing the Boundaries of the Products and Techniques: Envisioning and conceptualizing something is all well and good, but, if something is not done to make that concept into a tangible product or service, then a creative thinker is just a wishful thinker. A creative entrepreneur on the other hand, also applies his creativity in order to achieve the product he thought up in his mind, much like Jobs, who pushed his team and the techniques used by them till the Mac was in perfect sync with the idea of it he had in his mind. The use of a color screen which relied on a graphical interface, and that of a pointer to interact with the computer serves as an example of such creativity and ingenuity.
Walt Disney & Disney:
Walter Elias Disney, his cartoon company, Disney and its mascot, Mickey Mouse are world renowned and almost everyone at one point of time has seen something related to Disney’s work, whether it is a cartoon or new movie. The Disney franchise which is huge now, and has many other projects under its belt now, like the Star Wars franchise, had very modest and humble origins and managed to stumble into success after a long and arduous time owing to Walt Disney’s creative talent and further, creative entrepreneurship.
Years before he as a movie mogul, Walt Disney was aiming to break into the animation industry as he wanted his cartoons and drawings to come to life and wanted to have control over a world he created entirely. He started out by creating animations for commercials which were aired before a movie and continued to do this for a very long time. Seeing that the work of animation based advertising was not paying off, he moved to Los Angeles and collaborated with his kind and shrewd elder brother, Roy Disney, that he began to get the taste of moderate success. But, the big break for Disney came when he sued to creativity to envisage a cartoon movie which would capture people’s interest owing to one simple thing no one else thought of.
Cartoons at that point of time were mute and did not have any sound in them when they were aired or shown. The silent nature of the cartoons and movies did not appease the people and many mute cartoons received modest critical acclaim, because there is only so much a person can convey through pictures alone. Walt Disney saw this reaction of people to other mute cartoons and two Mickey Mouse shorts he released prior to his breakthrough. He decided that the future of movies and cartoons lies in synchronized sound, i.e. sound which is linked to an image via the usage of technology. This enables better storytelling capabilities and this was something which was sorely needed in the cartoon industry at that point of time. Walt Disney thus set out to create a Mickey Mouse based short movie which featured synchronized sound and a complete post movie soundtrack. This movie was known as Steamboat Willie and it completely enthralled the viewers and changed the world of animated cartoons. Steamboat Willie received wide critical acclaim and put Walt Disney on the map and following Steamboat Willie, Disney expanded his business and using more animators and technicians coupled with his simple, sweet and country based story telling continued to release more Mickey Mouse shorts, and these subsequent shorts were huge hits too. As his movie making business flourished, Disney began adopting newer technologies like the use of color in cartoons via Technicolor just as he had adopted synchronized sound. This enabled him to make technologically advanced cartoons which ensured that people kept coming back for more and they still do to this day.
Another reason why Disney had his original success was because of the fact that Disney understood the society prevalent at that point of time. Post World War I, Depression had hit America hard and was the reason of ruination of many people and families, the condition of the people was the same as the titular representation of that period of time, i.e. depressed, sad and glum. In this era of modern complexities, Disney understood that people needed an escape which would have simple appeal and have the capability to make them laugh. This understanding of society enable Disney to cater to the needs of the people. In other words, his creativity enabled him to see the outlook of people at that point of time and led him to come up with a solution which would offer them a happy escape from their glum lives. He catered to the needs of the customer by providing them an escape from life when they needed it the most.
Disney was a very creative individual both in terms of his creative talent and in terms of business skill and entrepreneurship as well. His products have created a lasting legacy for ages to come and have made more than six generations of children (and adults alike) revel in the simple joy and fun of cartoons and he did this solely based on his talent and a penchant of understanding the market. The impact of creativity on his entrepreneurship is outlined below:
a) Future Oriented: Like Steve Jobs, in Walt Disney also had a penchant to be futuristic and had the ability to envisage what the people and cartoon industry needed in order to flourish. Early on, he had realized that people did not prefer mute cartoons and sound was a wonderful medium to keep people interested and to bolster the story telling capability of the cartoons. This helped him to stay one step ahead of the competition and when it paid off, it paid off in a grand manner.
b) Adapting New Technologies: A creative entrepreneur keeps his ear to the ground to look out for new technologies which can enable his products to be better as he can imagine the impact such technologies can have on his products and how they can help him in pushing his products forward. Disney also had the same aptitude, and whenever possible made sure to implement the latest techniques and technologies in his films to ensure that they were top notch and this creative application of new technologies enabled him to bring his company to the stature it enjoys today.
c) Understanding the Social Situation of the Market: A creative thinker is able to understand the prevalent situation in the market and after analyzing the market, he is able to come up with products and services which the market needs and which he knows shall be a hit with the market. When Walt Disney saw the Depression racked American society he knew he had to put in the market something which would help in providing an escape to the people from their mundane and financially challenged life. With the introduction of his simple and innocuous movies he provided a people a chance to feel happy, which was what the American populace needed that point of time.
Henry Ford & Ford Motors: If a list of entrepreneurs who succeeded with their creativity is to be compiled, then Henry Ford definitely deserves his name to be in such a list. The man who put America on wheels and in automobiles can be termed to be a creative entrepreneur in his own way.
At the outset of the 20th Century, the automobile industry was practically negligible as the people of America saw cars as a luxury owing to the fact that they were too expensive. There was a reason for these cars to be expensive, and this can be attributed to the use of conventional and more expensive production techniques used by the car manufacturers. This use of expensive production techniques caused the cars to be priced higher as well because the producers had to cover their costs somehow. At this point Henry Ford entered the market and changed the automobile industry in America and perhaps, the world once and for all.
Henry Ford’s version of creativity did not lie in creating a whole new product or a line of products. He did not invent the automobile or made some revolutionary changes to it. What he did was put his creativity in the production techniques involved in the manufacturing of these cars. Henry Ford, essentially created a production technique which would ensure that every middle-class American could easily purchase a car. Henry Ford’s genius and creativity thrived in a more technical and production oriented manner. Ford saw that cars too were like other commodities and decided that they should be mass produced. He then set out to create an assembly line which would do just the same.
Henry Ford started studying and dabbling in the study of motion as purported by Henry Taylor, popularly known as Taylorism. This principle stated that instead of every product being made by one person from start to finish, the work should be divided into different parts and should be done by numerous workers and then these parts should come together to put forth the final product. Henry Ford took this principle to heart and created a factory which featured a production and assembly line which was based heavily on Taylor’s idea. Cars started out on moving assembly lines and it started out as a bare structure and kept on moving forward and the workers kept on adding parts to it till the point the car reached the end of the assembly line and was a completely finished product. This was a highly efficient method of production as this did not require the workers to have a specialized set of skills, they just had to fix one part and their job was done, and then it was on the subsequent worker to fit in his part and the car would keep on moving forward. This use of a moving assembly line was the culmination of the American ideal of industrialization and enabled cars to be mass produced. This mass production enabled the cost of the final product to come down, and Henry Ford utilized other methods to keep the cost of his cars low, such as offering the car only in the color black as it was easy to dry and cheaper. However, such an assembly absolutely required a high amount of labor in order to function at all, because at the end of the day, the main job was being done by workers and the machines were just aiding them in getting the job done and Henry Ford managed to come up with a solution to ensure that Ford always had a mass supply of workers.
Henry Ford knew that his industry would crash and burn if he did not have a steady supply of workers. So, Henry Ford came up with the concept of paying his workers $5/day, which was a high amount of daily wages at that point of time. Ford reasoned that if his workers saw that they were getting a better deal by working at Ford as compared to other manufacturers, this would make them stay, and his logic worked. Further, this provision of exorbitant daily wages had another logic behind it. Ford did not want his worker turnover to be high as the cost of searching for and breaking such workers into the factory was quite high, thus, by paying higher wages to his existing workers he ensured that his hired workers chose to continue working on with Ford and this enabled him to drastically reduce the worker costs as he did not have to look for more workers; he knew that his workers won’t leave the assembly line because they were getting too good a deal for them to consider leaving.
From the above, we can see that Henry Ford had a different and more mechanical form of creativity. He did think out of the box, and the impact of such mechanical creativity in parlance to his work is given below:
a) Development of Need Specific Techniques: Henry Ford’s creativity can be seen in the fact that he managed to create a production technique which was tailored for his industry from scratch. He saw the market was full of slow to manufacture and expensive, so he created the mass production assembly line which would enable the factory to produce a large number of cars in a less amount of time and at less cost. The effect of the assembly line was such that by 1925, Ford’s Model T car, the most popular and mass produced car of Ford was for $290 and Ford was manufacturing one car every ten seconds.
b) Hitting Two Birds with One Stone: For the assembly line Ford purported, he needed to come up with a large number of workers, and had to ensure that the labor costs were not very high too. Thus, he came up with the idea of paying his laborers significantly more. By doing this, he created a sense of security and superiority in the minds of his workers, who were convinced that they were getting a better deal than their counterparts in other industries, and this enabled Ford to maintain a steady turnover which wasn’t too high, which was important, as higher turnover led to higher labor costs. Thus, with his ingenuity Ford managed to kill two birds with one stone and got more work done with just one idea and reduced the burden on him.
Mark Zuckerberg & Facebook: Facebook has perhaps been one of the most humongous development of the previous decade. With the introduction of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg managed to change the way people communicate and stay in touch with each other in a manner which was never imagined by anyone else. And the best thing about Facebook is that Zuckerberg managed to lay its groundwork and idea while he was in college.
When Zuckerberg was in Harvard, created a website called Facemash which displayed pictures of Harvard students and let other students judge whether they were attractive or not. While this was not entirely legal and was shut down later on, it led to the birth of an idea in Zuckerberg’s mind. At that time, Harvard University did not have any face book, i.e. a document with a picture of the basic information and photograph of the students enrolled in the University. Thus, to overcome this lack of a face book, Zuckerberg launched a new website called Thefacebook. Originally, Thefacebook was only limited to the use of Harvard students. But, Zuckerberg saw its potential and eventually expanded to other colleges and universities, like Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, et al. Ultimately, it opened up to almost all colleges in Canada and the United States. In 2005, the company dropped the name Thefacebook ad chose to go with Facebook, and that’s the way it has been ever since.
At this point, Zuckerberg could have just let Facebook be a social network for educational and professional institutes. But, Zuckerberg saw that the world lacked any proper and intuitive platform for socializing on the internet and that’s when he saw how big Facebook could be. In 2006, Zuckerberg opened up the website for the public and anyone who was above 13 years of age and had a valid email address could join Facebook. The reaction was tremendous and Facebook soon became a website people accessed almost every day. The concept of it was unique and its reach was huge. It allowed people to stay in touch with far off relatives, tell the world about major life events and express their opinion on world happenings all with the click of a few buttons. It redefined what being social could be.
But, Zuckerberg did not stop here only. He saw that people not only like sharing things online, but, like playing games on the web too. So, he brought the concept of apps and games to Facebook. This was a second revolution inside Facebook on its own, because now the website was not just a social website, people could play games on Facebook and even better, they could play with their friends too, which redefined the social aspect of Facebook all over again.
However, Zuckerberg did not stagnate here only. Seeing the reach of Facebook, he conceptualized it to be platform for businesses to reach new and potential customers as well. Thus, he rolled out the concept of Facebook Pages, which allowed businesses to set up their own Facebook Pages and promote their products or services. Further, Zuckerberg established Facebook as a mode for advertisement of products, services and businesses. By paying a fee, businesses could now promote their products and services as well, and any business which wanted such advertisement are advertised all over the Facebook website in the form of non-intrusive panels and banners.
From the above, one can see the evolution of Facebook from a small-time website which provided details of students enrolled in Harvard University to the now multinational behemoth with a valuation $350 billion and a website almost everyone knows of in the world. The reason the company could come this forward is because of the creativity imbibed in Mark Zuckerberg’s entrepreneurial spirit. His creativity is evident in the manner he always ensured that Facebook did not stagnate and in the way he expanded its potential by envisaging how it could be even better and more useful. The manner in which creativity affected his entrepreneurship is mentioned below:
a) Constant Evolution: A creative entrepreneur is not a person who shall lie stagnant. He always finds methods to make his products better and more functional, and this helps him in staying one step ahead of the market and becoming successful. Similarly, because of the fact that Zuckerberg could envisage and imagine where Facebook could go in the future and how it can be expanded and what the reach of such expansion would be, he was able to constantly evolve Facebook to ensure that it could reach a host of different people who would use the website for different purposes, whether it ranges from sharing pictures they clicked to running a smalltime business off the internet. This constant evolution kept on reimagining the scope of Facebook’s application and has helped it in reaching where it stands today.
In the above section, the report provided examples of creative entrepreneurs who existed in the past and in the modern day. The report also laid down how creativity helped such entrepreneurs to achieve success and what sort of an impact creativity had on their entrepreneurial spirit and the qualities it developed in entrepreneurs. An analysis of the above also helps in determining the attributes creativity can bring about and what qualities it develops which makes an entrepreneur successful:
Future Oriented Nature: An entrepreneur who is creative in nature shall always be a person who shall be future oriented and forward thinking. This is because a creative thinker can envisage what a market needs or requires in the future. An analysis of a market reveals to him what it lacks, and what can be introduced by the entrepreneur to fill such a gap. Market pundits generally advise business owners and entrepreneurs to listen to the needs of the customer and come up with the products after listening to such demands. But, this need and thought does not apply to creative entrepreneurs, because they can envision a product which shall fulfil the needs of the consumers and the market alike. An example of this is Henry Ford’s purported famous line stating that if he consulted the people’s requirements while developing a middle-class automobile, they would have told him that they wanted a faster horse. Creative thinkers thus, are very future oriented thinkers who can come up with ideas which are revolutionary and can cater to the needs of the customers, and these products generally turn out to be hits because of the fact that they are so futuristic and new. The potential of such ideas and products is such that they lay the groundwork for a whole new industry in one swoop or take a stagnated industry forwards by ages, which can be seen in Henry Ford’s introduction of a cheap middle class automobile and Steve Jobs’ introduction of the Macintosh. Such products deserve to be in the pantheon of innovations which changed the world and they are all owing to one entrepreneur’s creative application of mind.
Evolution: Entrepreneurs in general are an ingenious lot of people, and they have big breakthroughs and successes. However, in many cases, they end up stagnating with a particular form of idea and/or product introduced. Once they see something is a hit with the people, they stop innovating, in many cases and just try to sell more of the hit products instead, and an example of this can be IBM with their personal computers prior to the 2001 iMac Apple introduced. That is not the case with creative entrepreneurs. Since creativity is in their blood, they just cannot sit still once they have achieved something. After such an achievement, they have their eyes on how to make the existing product better or evolve it in a matter which can make the product more functional, useful and purposeful. Sometimes, they aim at introducing a whole new line of products which serves to replace the prior one because they feel the new products are better versions of the previous products. Basically, the only competition they set for themselves is the past versions of themselves and their products and are always trying to evolve and outdo themselves. This desire to evolve is fueled by creativity, because their creativity helps them in conceptualizing new ideas and concepts to implement in their products and services. Thus, creativity helps entrepreneurs to grow and evolve on a personal level and on a professional level as well and the same is reflected in their products, which too keep on evolving, which is evident in Facebook’s change from a college based social networking site to its current avatar of a social network for the world which functions as a platform for large scale advertisement as well.
Efficiency and Effectiveness: Creative thinkers and entrepreneurs are also highly effective and efficient workers and problem solvers. Owing to the creativity they possess, they approach any problem or project with a different perspective and view. Such an out of the box thinking process is very important in a business as it can help the business in doing more things at a lesser cost and while putting in lesser amounts of time. Creativity has a huge role to play in such a thinking process as creative thinkers are able to establish and look at the aspects of problem, which a regular person might not be able to see, which is important as recognizing the problem is as necessary as providing a solution for it. Further, their creative outlook enables them to come up with innovative solutions which help in better tackling of the problem. Problem solving aside, creative thinkers can also bring in a degree of efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace as the ideas given by them are generally multi-faceted which help in getting more work done at a more economical rate and with less utilization of time. An example of this the exclusive use of black paint by Ford in the Model T car manufactured in the mass market assembly line as such paint was cheaper and dried up quickly, which helped in manufacturing the cars faster and in bringing down the cost of the car. From this we can see that creativity plays an important role in boosting the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization as an entrepreneur who is creative shall put forth solutions and work techniques which enable a plethora of tasks to be accomplished with less costs, both in terms of money and time.
Use of New Technologies: A creative entrepreneur is a person who is always on the lookout for new technologies and techniques pertaining to his field. This is because of the fact that creative thinkers have a path set out in their mind as to where they want their product to go in the future and what would be needed to achieve this kind of a goal. Thus, they keep checking the technological advancements in their fields. Apart from that, once such technologies are released, using them and incorporating them into the product I also of importance as an idea of the finished product and unused technology does not benefit anybody. Here also, the creative outlook and thinking process of the entrepreneurs come into play as new technologies are often hard to apply/incorporate in the product. Creative entrepreneurs here look for methods to incorporate the new technology in a manner which would tarnish the usage of the product or hamper the experience of the customer in using it. An example of such an adaptation of new technologies in products can be the introduction of the iPod by Apple back in 2001. When the iPod was in development, it was facing a production problem as there was no disk drive with enough storage capacity which was small enough to fit inside an iPod. So, Apple kept on a lookout on the availability of such a disk drive and when a Toshiba facility in Japan finally managed to produce such a disk drive, Apple put them in their iPods and eventually sold them by the millions.
Self-Reliance: Many entrepreneurs choose to look outwards to other industries and businesses to help them in solving a hindrance, and prefer to outsource such their problems as it reduces their burden and some believe they might not have the skill to solve such problems and they are best left to the experts. An entrepreneur with the ability to think creatively talent won’t do such a thing. He, on the other hand shall use his mental faculties and will come up with a radical and innovative solution which would deal with the problem effectively. His creativity shall enable him to look at the problem from all angles and to come up with a wholesome answer, without having to rely on other agencies, thus, making the organization more experienced in dealing with problems and nullifying the costs which would have been incurred by them had they taken the aid of an external agency.
In the above few paragraphs, the repot has tried to establish the use of creativity in the field of entrepreneurship and how creativity can impact the work of an entrepreneur and the organization he works in. To facilitate this understanding, the report first laid down what being an entrepreneur means and what his job is. However, mere understanding of entrepreneurship is not enough to determine how big an impact creativity can have on it. To make the understanding of the topic easier, the report further provided various real life examples of creative entrepreneurs and how creativity helped them in succeeding in their own fields. The report cited the examples of Steve Jobs and how he revolutionized the computer industry by applying his creativity to envisage a computer which would be simple to use, intuitive and fun; it then moved on to the example of Walt Disney and how he using his creativity was able to identify what the cartoons of that time were lacking and how they could be made better by the use of technology; from them on the report put forth the creative application of mind by Henry Ford in developing the mass assembly lines to produce cars and how to keep them cheap and finally, the example of Mark Zuckerberg was given and how he used his creative mind to constantly evolve Facebook and take it to new heights. From these examples, the report also ascertained what kind of qualities creativity develops in the entrepreneur and in the organization and how these qualities are beneficial. From all of the above material, the report finally comes to the conclusion that while it is necessary for an entrepreneur to have many skills, like leadership, effective oration, etc. the most important of them all is the ability to think creatively.