Corporation Creativity… Doesn’t Fucking Exist

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Corporate creativity. There’s a joke. Corporate America might as well declare war on creativity.

Our devices are smaller? Well no shit, that’s in the nature of technological innovation.

We’ve got better design? Well, we’ve got one company that was the vision of one guy, and he blazed a path that everyone followed in. That was one creative guy and an entire industry following suit.

Google… yeah, a bright logo doesn’t make you creative… neither does making your OS logo a little green robot. Google was founded in 1998 to provide a way to search the internet… not a creative venture… simply demand met by supply. Now it is 2013, fifteen years later they now do email, a mobile operating system, and Google Drive. Wow. Email… an operating system… and you cloud computing… how wonderfully original. What a bunch of creative guys they are. They also have dozens and dozens of failed Google Labs projects. Average Google salary is over 100k. That’s 38,000 people making, on average, six figures… and so many amazingly creative products!!!!

You look at Google Drive, iTunes match, Airplay, Bluetooth headsets… it is all just technological innovation. Of course we should get rid of the wires as soon as the technology gets to that point. Of course we want all of our devices to sync. Of course we want our music and photos in a nice looking digital libraries. Could someone please tell me what’s so damn creative about all this?

All of this technology revolves around communication and music yet they provide the bare basics.

Communication: Texting, emailing, calling, video chat. None of that’s creative. Maybe Twitter and Instagram are. Those are creative twists on existing demands. They are colorful ways to share. It’s funny how they were started by individuals. Google had 38,000 people making 100k per year and Instagram took the social networking scene by storm while Google+ fell on its face.

Media: Sure we’ve got our music on our phone. We can retrieve it by artist and album. Wow. I can even make a playlist so I can listen to a mix of artists? Shit, that’s nuts. You want real music creativity, download Songza. Depending on what day and time it is, it guesses what you might be doing and suggests music. Sunday afternoon? It suggests music for hanging out on the porch or cleaning the house. Tuesday night? It suggests music for working out, driving home, working late, or winding down. Supplying music or music management isn’t creative. That’s supply and demand. Songza is a true creative twist on radio. It makes Pandora look like a jukebox. Send that shit back to the 80s.

Here’s an idea, don’t make Tim Cook, the prior Chief Operating Officer, the CEO of the most creatively innovative tech companies in the world. Have we seen any revolutionary under his leadership? Nope. Should we expect to? I’m not holding my breath.

These guys who have been in the industry for two decades and know the tech, suppliers, etc… make them operation offices, don’t put them in charge of coming up with the vision for the company!

The title CEO should go away for all tech companies. Every CEO should be demoted to Chief Operating Officer. Chief Creative Officers should lead companies into the future and the person should be young and proven creative. Hire someone passionate about design and simplicity, passionate about connectivity, who loves media from music to movies to games. One person in charge of constant creative innovation.

Lets start making that distinction. There’s innovation like we know it, faster processors and smaller hard drives. Then there’s creative innovation, like the first iPod and iPhone, entirely different ways of thinking about problems that might have already been “solved.”

Consumer products and software companies are run by old guys with grey hair. They run public companies and are elected by boards of other old guys. Creativity doesn’t usually start at 50. It didn’t for Steve Jobs, it didn’t for Picasso or DaVinci, or for Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis. Two words: Proven creative.

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2 responses to “Corporation Creativity… Doesn’t Fucking Exist

  1. I do not agree with your article. The job of a CEO is not to be innovative himself but to manage the company with all recurrent operations to be done. He is also in charge to initiate the culture of innovation in his company.

    Saying that Google is not innovative with Android… is strange! The innovation is not the OS itself: there is OS since the beginning of microcomputers. The innovation is to give free the OS to smartphone and tablet constructors. The business model is innovative.

    At the end, the fact that the chief creative officers are managing the company is totally crazy! Manage a company is inside to orchestrate all departments of the company and outside to communicate to all about the company. Are you seriously sure that your CCO will be able too?

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    • Hi Olivier,

      But why is the head of the company in charge of running it? I know these seems a silly question, but I think it’s an important one.

      The CFO should be hired to run the finances and keep an eye on expenses, margins, etc. He or she lives and breathes the finances everyday and they should be in the best position to advise layoffs or of excess capital that could be reinvested, etc. The COO should be competent in managing distribution channels, supply channels, etc. The idea that CEO spends his time making sure the company is being run well seems silly to me. A captain steers his ship, plots the courses, and is always staying ahead of the weather. His first mate and officers make sure the ship itself is run as it should be and that his orders are carried out.

      In response to your comment on Google, I think the idea of an open, free system is very old. Linux, Wiki, Mozilla Firefox, free to play games, and many others embrace the open source idea.

      You say that the CEO should initiate the spirit of innovation but the nature of a public company is to be risk averse, the board of directors rarely hire the Richard Bransons of the world. In fact, after reading the Issacon book on Steve Jobs, I am quite sure that if Jobs hadn’t started the company they never would have considered his personality type for the job of CEO. I think we are decades from even knowing how to foster real creativity within large corporations.

      We are still fighting against the perils of middle management, cubicles, and insecure bosses who preach innovation while intimated by anyone with an idea better than their own. Creativity is still largely, almost entirely, owned by start ups with their first idea. Excluding Apple, We are a generation of the one trick start up. eBay brought us online commerce, failed to innovate and Amazon took the stage. MySpace brought us online social networks, failed to innovate, and Facebook took the stage. Twitter and Instagram started up and took market share. Now everyone is jut waiting to see what company pops up and makes Facebook old news. Google’s algorithm still favors sites built for SEO. The big guys still come up before the little ones. If someone comes up with a better search engine algorithm that can ignore SEO and return true, organic results that give us an unadulterated query of the most relevant sites, Google will fade away to be the next Yahoo.

      To sum it up, I am not saying the CCO should run the company, I’m saying that running the company is a silly thing for the leader of a company to do in the first place. Maybe if you run a manufacturing company but not if you’re a tech firm. Let the division officers run the company. Focus on putting someone PROVEN CREATIVE at the helm! These companies are managing billions and the best they can do is acquire the start ups coming up with the new stuff!

      Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to comment and read.

      Cheers,
      Dave

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