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Mice Net : December 2008
creative essentials Nigel ColliN says the role of creativity is changing along with society. Story By NIGEL COLLIN times changing P rophetic words really when you think of recent times. These words written by Bob Dylan in the 60s stand true in our current decade. We live in a world of carbon trading, global warming, global economic meltdown, Web V.2 (which most of us don’t understand), online communities, and on and on the list goes. Things are happening beyond our control that will change the way we do business, how we communicate and how we live. The recent global financial market changes have been enormous and are affecting people all over the world. In only a relatively short period of time interest rates, the dollar value, the superpowers of the world are dramatically shifting. The effect is trickling down into business, bringing changes of various shapes and sizes, which in turn will bring about many changes in meetings and events. We all know that change is nothing new. It’s been around for a long time and every so often it raises its head and causes turmoil. With change people either hide their heads in the sand or get creative, meet it head on, and use it to their advantage. Let’s head back to Hollywood in 1927 when the world changed dramatically forever. At a time when Hollywood was in its prime and produced more movies than any other time in history (up to 800 per year), stars like Rudolph Valentino and Mary Pickton were considered Gods and Saturday matinees were more popular than Playstation and Nintendo Wii. In 1927, great change was afoot when “talking” pictures arrived. For many the advent of sound was a major upheaval and created imponderable challenges. Film studios were forced to build new sound stages, clunky and noisy cameras were of no further use, directors and technicians needed to re-think and re-invent camera movements, microphone placements, all to accommodate “talkies” and the new technology required to create them. The advent of sound changed the movie industry forever and with it the lives and careers of many. Some adapted, got creative and thrived, whilst others didn’t. Take Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin was a Hollywood God. He entertained millions and influenced countless stars and actors (in fact still ‘For the times they are a changing’ - Bob Dylan does). He brought vaudeville to Hollywood, co-founded United Artists, and is, without doubt, still considered one of the Hollywood greats. But Chaplin refused to have his “little tramp” character talk. Of sound in movies he said “action is more generally understood than words”. Chaplin obviously thought having the tramp speak would undermine and detract from his endearing, pantomime character. No-one would argue the legacy he left behind. But he failed to fully adapt to the “talkies” and create an opportunity from them. He made countless films before the advent of sound but only a handful afterwards. In contrast, let’s look at someone who saw the dawn of sound not as a hurdle but as an opportunity and turned it to his advantage. In 1928, only a year after sound arrived, a small mouse made his debut in the world’s first talking cartoon Steam Boat Willie. Walt Disney had arrived. He saw an opportunity in sound and went with it. Disney had a knack for sensing change, getting creative and turning it to his advantage. In the 1950’s, when another enormous change rocked Hollywood and the world forever – television - once again Disney was there ready to take advantage. Television, some said, would destroy the movie industry. Thinking differently to everyone else Disney had an idea. At the time he was creating Disneyland and needed capital to get it up and running. He saw TV as a fundraiser and also a promotional tool for his new project. Having done a deal with a major network, he provided an exclusive weekly show called Disneyland and got the funding he needed. At the same time, as viewers all over America tuned into watch, Disney would show them snippets of the park being built, exciting his potential guests. In 2008, once again great change is afoot and the world as we know it is changing, beyond our control. The question is how will we all deal with it? Smart companies know that it’s times like these that creativity in business is not just a great insurance policy against change - but a major driver to capitalise on it. Nigel helps companies and their people be more creative through his ‘funnelvision’™ workshops, keynotes and consulting and is author of ‘Think BITS’. More information can be found at www.nigelcollin. com.au or contact Nigel at email@example.com mice.net 33