posted on 25 november, 2015

“Creativity is about looking at what people see and do and doing something different, it’s about ideas”.

Those were the opening words from Kevin Jackson, our host and thought-leader for October’s EWL lunch, who led a thought-provoking and totally inspiring conversation around creative bravery.

Kevin went on to give us more of his thoughts.

Sometimes in the events industry it’s easy to get lost in the purpose of the event when our real job is to add value. We work in one of the most competitive industries in the UK. Brands can receive in excess of 300 offers a week from companies that want to work with them, adding value can only be through creativity.

The basic human desire is to know that you’re good enough, which in a nutshell is fitting in, creative bravery is about standing out. It’s about knowing who you are and being bold enough to just do it. The building blocks to do so will only come from yourself, from your own diversity and your own experiences.

Don’t be like everyone else!

Ideas get people excited, the reason we love events is because they’re emotional, however, people don’t go to events because they love them, they go because they want to see a speaker or expand their network. There is always a motivation and a purpose and it’s vital that we understand what those motivators are in order to add value.

How about winning business? In the good old days agencies would spend £100k when pitching for business, they now spend £20k. Since the recession of 2008 and the subsequent pressure of budget, we’ve actually become less creative rather than more, we’ve become safe, because we’ve become too focused on winning more pitches. Less is more!

In order to sell successfully you have to make sure your messaging is right, you need to ask your audience what they want and then reshape your organisation to fit that.

What about finding new creative talent? It’s simple, you need to go out and speak at events, put yourself out there and along the road keep collecting people and collecting experience.

Leadership is about inspiration, empowering people to do the things they feel passionate about. It’s not about the interview process it’s about empowering people to be who they are, and want to work for you, and with you.

Most people employ people who are like the people they already have within their organisation. You’ve got to employ people who are different and diverse and who can break the status quo, shake things up a little. We need diverse groups but we also need leadership to be inspiring.

How can you become more creative in your role? Remember you’re the CEO of your own desk, be your own boss, make your own decisions, people need to take responsibility for their own creativity. Write things down and keep learning and polishing, learning and polishing, and allow the ideas to flow out of you! Trust your instincts, you can second guess, but first instinct is normally the best instinct.

Have a plan, always know that it’s going to change, but make sure you have a plan. Keep adding value and you’ll be in a happy place.

I’ll leave you with a fantastic quote from none other than Kevin’s son. Just about to take his first steps on stage as the lead in Billy Elliott, and battling a few last minute nerves he’d said to himself;

“All I need to do to make my dreams come true is take a step forward.”

Amazing words, but with Mr Jackson as your Dad are you surprised!

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