We are pleased to announce the publication of Modernist Studio Partner, Jon Kolko’s newest book, Creative Clarity: A Practical Guide for Bringing Creative Thinking Into Your Company.
The framework for this design publication is built on a simple premise:
Most companies aren’t benefiting from innovation and creative output, because they don’t truly understand the creative process or how to create environments that support it.
Few companies seem to have creativity figured out—the ones who do are celebrated as creative market leaders. For instance, Google has launched an entire business called “X” to drive its creative “moonshots”—huge problems with radical solutions. X is combining creatively diverse backgrounds in high-pressure environments to arrive at massively different ways of thinking about problems, like:
“Systems thinking is thinking around the problem, and in many modern-day design problems, this thinking around the problem is a core skill.”
For Disney, the ethos of creativity is fundamental to everything the company does, including shepherding in a digital era for its brand—they spent more than a billion dollars developing the MyMagic+ wristband and its supporting infrastructure. And Tesla, perhaps one of the most creative companies of our generation, is redefining multiple industries by pursuing a dramatic revisioning of the future. The company is so confident in their vision that CEO Elon Musk presents it on tesla.com: The “Master Plan” includes a focus on solar power, affordable vehicles, and autonomous driving.
We see these companies’ articulated solutions, glossy product launches, market-driving innovations, and blog post after blog post describe the genius of their creative machines. In the face of this, business leaders ask themselves: How can their methods be so straightforward while we struggle with the basics? How do they attract and retain such creative talent while we struggle to build creative brand equity? And how does their leadership have such vision and their teams, such alignment?
These companies are shining examples of creativity because feelings of autonomy and optimism shape their entire cultures. They can build the future because they can see that future clearly. With such vision, leaders in these organizations are able to recruit and retain innovators and great thinkers. They have creative clarity.
How then does the notion of bringing the freedom of creativity into our own companies feel like adding to the crazy, not fixing it? Creative people are unpredictable and wild. They don’t do well within traditional management frameworks—it often feels as though they can’t be managed at all. And traditional corporate structures aren’t much better at managing creative processes—some of our best tools, like design-thinking and lean methods, only scratch the surface of business problems and market threats companies face.
If a company doesn’t have the organizational capacity to bring the creative mess into focus, they will flail and struggle. Pull quote
It’s time to intentionally drive an ethos of creativity into our corporate entities—a fresh way of thinking about everything from process, to people, to organizational design—and building a company and a culture that can see through the mess.
Creative Clarity is primarily for business leaders responsible for driving strategic change through an organization. If you are a line manager responsible for exploring a horizon of opportunity, the book will help you establish a culture of creative product development in which your teams can predictably deliver creative results. You’ll learn methods to build trust among your team members that enable you to critique and improve their work. As an organizational leader, you’ll complement your business strategies with the new language of design methodology and understanding required to implement creativity in a strategic manner across your entire company.