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This isn’t your father’s creativity

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in Leaders & Managers

Hold on to your hat: The path to success may not be more creativity but less.

Say what?

A decade ago, the challenges facing marketers merely included a 500-channel universe, tension between marketing and sales, figuring out returns on advertising and keeping up with the darts and weaves of public taste.

Today, they face an 8 billion-channel world, marketing and sales have merged, and there’s no such thing as a single public taste.

In short, life has become more complex. Creativity only complicates things. Pursued for its own sake, creativity is not only risky but irrelevant.

Instead, consider following this dumbed-down process: Simplify it, standardize it and brand it.

Example: The big-box store (think Home Depot and Circuit City) is not an original concept. That’s the point. Customers know it and love it. They’ve embraced big boxes even as more Best Buys and Office Depots roll out.

If you accept the premise that the execution is at least as important as the idea, then cut yourself a break. Take an existing idea and run with it.

Copying a good concept is cheaper and faster than developing a new one. Your success lies not so much in coming up with a strategy as in mobilizing your team to pull it off.

—Adapted from “The Power of Dumb Ideas,” Randall Rothenberg, strategy + business.

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