Creativity: The backbone of entrepreneurship

In the Spring 2019 issue of the Great British Entrepreneurs Magazine, the man who brought Dirty Dancing to the West End, Michael Jacobsen, discusses creativity and its importance to entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurialism is not a new pursuit. It has been around since the time humans first set foot on the earth.

In fact, everything that wasn’t created by the Universe and nature came out of the mind of an entrepreneur or inventor, both of whom have the same ‘creative’ gene necessary to invent.

As you read this article, think of the amazing, insightful and intuitive entrepreneurialism of Steve Jobs and Apple. Okay, that’s an obvious one. Look at the clothes you are wearing, the room you are in, the desks around you and even look outside at the traffic lights, the road, and all of the cars around.

All of these were invented by an innovator or entrepreneur, with businesses, distribution channels and companies built to take them to market and get them to the very places you now see them.

I write this to you on a plane flying from Sydney to London. My mind reflects on the entrepreneurialism evident here from the design of the plane itself, to the seats, the brand on the wing and the market positioning that has come to represent.

Entrepreneurs are inventors. Sometimes of products, but always of businesses. The product or service created does not have to be totally new in itself. The smartphone was not the first phone, but the creation can be innovation of an existing invention.

Entrepreneurialism is a creative pursuit. Not exactly like an artist is creative, but similar. Artists start with a blank canvass and, with their own hands, channel inspiration that will later be called their ‘piece of art’. Entrepreneurs start with a blank canvass and, with their own mind, channel inspiration that will later be referred to as their ‘business’. It’s their piece of art. It’s the same.

Where does the inspiration come from? It arrives from ‘above’ and is then shaped into something material, physical, it literally manifests.

In the case of an artist, their work appeals to a certain section of the population who then buy the art and use it to fulfil their needs for that type of beauty on their walls. In the case of an entrepreneur, their work appeals to a certain section of the population who then buy that good or service to fulfil their needs for whatever it does. Again, it’s the same.

An entrepreneur’s creation, when it is called a business, is not as finite as an artist’s, however, whose work is finished with the final paintbrush stroke. Their creation is not just their product or service, but the intangible business itself. Like the wind, you cannot see a ‘business’. You can’t see it, but once it’s created, it is like a person, with its own identity and ever-growing personality.

Unlike an artist’s work, an entrepreneur’s creation is dynamic and ever-evolving throughout its life. It has the chance, the opportunity, to change not its brush strokes themselves, but their colour. To use the analogy, not to change its creation but change aspects of how it operates, to meet the evolving needs of its market.

This requires constant innovation. To novate is to make new. As such, innovation is the birth of the new which is another way of saying ‘creation’.

Entrepreneurs constantly create. Those that don’t will usually not succeed. They will become obsolete. We don’t use analogue cameras anymore because something better was created. Phone boxes, T Model Fords, Blackberries, 747s – they all look old.

How can they look old when they seemed to modern to their original users? Because they have been superseded. They only look old when compared to new. New ‘novated’ products are simply an evolution of creativity which has changed the product or service. And this is the same reason why in ten years the devices we use today, the clothes we are wearing now, and the plane I am flying in now, will also seem so old, when they seem so modern now.

Old and new in terms of entrepreneurism is subjective, philosophical and not real. It is simply that entrepreneurs create and this, when it meets the needs of the market, delivers a better-looking product or service and one that becomes more economically successful.

Yes, there is ‘economically successful’ – Income, money, profit. This is an afterthought. It is only by creating something that meets the market needs that profit can come. Entrepreneurs do not pursue money first. Not successful ones anyway. They are artists. Artists creating something to satisfy a market. Money is the measure the world places on this success. The economic model is a paradigm to enable the circle to continue, motivate it and reward its participants.

Entrepreneurs are not businesspeople; they’re not directors or executives or managers. They are entrepreneurs. They are in their own category. They are creators. They are people who are responsible for much of what our world is. Creators. Artists. Visionaries.

This is the spirit they possess and must continually immerse themselves in to grow their business. Harder still, it is the spirit big corporations, covered in red tape, policies and demands must tap into the survive.

Entrepreneurs have always created and will always create. They are one of the key pillars of society. Anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur or any organisation which wants to increase its entrepreneurial spirit must pursue, cultivate and fertilise creativity.


You can view the full, digital version of the spring issue of the Great British Entrepreneurs Magazine here.