Advice From the Most Creative People Around

Insights From This Year's 'Creativity 50'

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How do you pick the 50 "most creative" people of the past year? Creativity recently undertook this perilous exercise, generating its annual
Harnessing creativity to make great things happen: How did they do it?
Harnessing creativity to make great things happen: How did they do it?
Creativity 50 list. We populated the list with those whose ideas and work that made an impact on the brand-creativity arena and the wider world of culture that inspire and feed off each other.

Some of our honorees' inherent "creativity" is more obvious than others -- the 21-year-old tech wonder who's also a great writer; the insanely imaginative French director; the big-idea creative director. But there were lots of suit- and chinos-wearing types, too. Whether they were firebrands or people working inside huge companies, they harnessed creativity to make great things happen. How did they do it?

Creativity 50
Here, some handy advice from one-tenth of the Creativity 50. You might be disappointed to find many of the basic themes you've heard before. But if any of it were easy, everyone would be doing it. For more, see the March issue of Creativity and

On doing great work: "Nowadays, consumers are not going to reward you for making the safe choice. It's so hard to cut through, especially on TV now, you really have to try things that are not the convention in your industry. People either want more information, more emotional connection, or they want to be entertained. They're not just looking for eye candy."
-- Jim Farley, group VP-marketing, Toyota

On the value of a vision: "We'd read other scripts, and all we wanted to do was make 'Little Miss Sunshine.' We kind of felt like, if we couldn't make this movie, then we're in the wrong business."
-- Jonathan Dayton, of the husband-and-wife directing team of Dayton/Faris, who fought strenuously to make "Little Miss Sunshine"

On building a creative culture: "It's about providing a learning culture, which includes a tolerance for mistakes. If you're going to push the limits, not everything is going to be perfect. You also have to have experienced talent who understand what doesn't work and who will change it quickly -- and who can immediately recognize and accelerate what does work."
-- David Roman, president-worldwide marketing communication of Hewlett-Packard's personal systems group

"When you create something that has very cool elements, those elements tend to cascade down through the marketing and ultimately to the customer. I share my enthusiasm for the art of creating with my peers on a day-to-day basis through a shared appreciation of all forms of entertainment. An enthusiastic exchange with one of our talented programmers or artists is grist for the mental mill. It's this fuel that drives and motivates everyone to make a great and compelling product."
-- Cliff Bleszinski, creator of Epic Games' "Gears of War"

On thinking big: "Marketers should embrace how important and big their brands are. . . . The biggest challenge for agencies is getting brands to have faith in their own appeal. They touch so many people every day; they have loyalty. They can use that and create their own momentum instead of piggybacking on something else. That's a step change in our industry; that's what we're trying to tap into."
-- Droga5 founder David Droga

On the nature of creativity: "Creativity is always starting from scratch and never considering that you're an expert on something. When you really start from that humble place, creativity flows. The worst enemy of creativity is when you think you know something."
-- Jonathan Dayton

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Teressa Iezzi is the editor of "Creativity" magazine and E-mail your big ideas to her at [email protected]
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