By Yew Kam Keong, Ph.D (Dr.YKK)
Chief Mind Unzipper
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One of the greatest obstacle to success in business is past successes. Successful businesses tend to bask in the glory of past successes rather than applying the collective creativity of their people to perpetuate success.

They spend too much time relying on the winning formulas of the past and lost touch with the reality present. However, in our fast changing business environment, it is no longer enough for companies to routinely go about its business. In today's highly competitive world you're either moving forward or you are lagging behind. You constantly have to innovate just to keep ahead of competitor.

The most underutilized resource in business today is the collective brainpower available to the company. It has been reported that the average person uses less than five percent of their brainpower. A surprise finding is that for most companies, the collective brainpower usage percentage actually decrease rather than increase. This is because thinking is compartmentalized, factions and functions compete against each other and too many people are sidelined from the thinking processes of the company.

In a world where competitors can undercut us in pricing, outspend us in marketing and promotion, copy our technologies and clone our trade secrets, our ability to think creatively in order to innovate our business is our only true competitive advantage. Business innovation is about raising the top-line and not unduly focusing on the bottom-line.

Supercharge your business through creativity!

The B.U.S.I.N.E.S.S Formula for Creativity

I have devised a B.U.S.I.N.E.S.S Formula for Creativity as follows:

The first part B.U.S.I deals will how to manage your business creatively. The second part N.E.S.S provides tips on how to manage your company creatively with particular reference to tapping into the collective creativity of your people.

B : Be different -
Don¡¦t do things better than your competitors, do things differently. Do not compete, stand out from the competition.

U : Use Technology

Leverage on the power of technology. Harness the power of the internet for your business.

S : Sell Imagination

Imagination is the most profitable product in the world! Incorporate imagination into your products or services.

I : Innovate Constantly

Innovate constantly. Kill your own products before your competitors do.

N: Nurture Creativity

Institute a Creativity Culture throughout your company. It begins with creative leadership.

E : Energize Minds

Provide training on creative thinking to all levels of people in your company. Creativity once trained is a life-long skill that brings immense and long-term benefits to your company, providing the best returns on imagination.

S : Source Expertise

Use all the brains you have and borrow those that you need. If you are part of the forest, you see only trees. You need an outsider to provide a view of the forest, that is an overview of your company.

S : Stimulating Meetings

In most organizations, meetings take away the most time. Conducting creative meetings can half the time and double the results.

Be different

The essence of Creativity in Business is not about doing things better than your competitors. It is about doing things differently from your competitors. There is no need to compete but there is a need to innovate to stand out from the competition.

An excellent illustration of this practise comes from WalMart, the number one company in Fortune 500 and the largest supermarket chain store in the US with a business turnover of several hundred billion US dollars. The founder of WalMart, Sam Walton used this principle in building up his business. His guiding principle was : I study my competition and do exactly the opposite.

Sam Walton observed that the major supermarket chains began their business in big cities. He thus resolved to do the opposite by locating his WalMart supermarkets in small towns, the first one was established in a small town called Bentonville , Arkansas. Thus the expansion of his supermarket chain of stores went unnoticed until it was too late for his competitors to stop him.

Another standard practice of the supermarkets at that time was having regular sales promotions. Sam Walton decided not to have any sales but instead instituted a policy of Everyday Low Prices. In effect, it was like having a sale everyday!

Use Technology

According to Bill Gates, we use machines in the past to leverage our muscles, we use technology today to leverage our minds. With the power of technology today, it is possible for a small upstart company to beat the giants. A case in point is the making and marketing of the blockbuster movie The Blair Witch Project.

The Blair Witch Project, a low-budget horror film was made by people totally unknown in the film industry with an unheard of budget of only US$35,000; in Hollywood terms almost zero. The quality of the film is atrocious as it was made using the ordinary handycam video camera. At times the hand holding the camera was shaky and all that was shown was only grass. Yet it took the movie world by storm and was featured in the international media like Time and Newsweek magazines and the television media giant CNN. The film was a box-office hit and grossed US $250 million beating many of the big budget movies from Hollywood. How was this possible?

The answer lies in leveraging imagination over the internet. The story about the movie (see below) was circulated widely over the internet. Those who received it in turn emailed it to their friends creating a pent-up demand to watch the movie. It was suspected that the film-makers and their distributor were seeding the web with fan sites loaded with rave reviews of the movie.

Three film students set out into the Black Hills Forest to make a documentary on the legendary Blair Witch. Armed with a handycam video-camera and audio-recorders, they record every step, word and sound. After wandering around the Black Hills Forest, the threes students , Heather, Josh, and Mike are cold, lost and hunted. Finally, one night after the last ray of light had left the forest black, they were never to be seen again. One year later, a bag full of video and audio tapes were found. The behind the scenes, video footage and the film, are cut together, and this is..."The Blair Witch Project."

The amateurish nature of the movie makes it very believable to those who watched it.

Sell Imagination

Imagination is the most profitable product in the world! It accounts for more than 42 percent of the export value of the greatest economy in the world, the USA. Bill Gates company, Microsoft , for example sells highly profitable softwares which are basically the product of human imagination. The material cost of CDs where the softwares are embedded is almost zero compared to its selling price. Other products of human imagination exported by the US are Hollywood movies, entertainment products like songs, music and technology licensing.

Human imagination is also the major driving force of the other economies of the developed world contributing more than 50% to their economic growth.

Fortune magazine did a study on Nike shoes. It compared the income of the CEO in the USA with the total combined income of one of its largest shoe manufacturing plant in Indonesia with over 15,000 workers. Guess who won? The CEO won by a wide margin. The reason is obvious - the CEO uses his imagination while the workers use their hands.

Innovate Constantly

Gary Hamel in his best-selling book , ¡§ Leading the Revolution¡¨ recommends 10 business strategies for business success and to build a billion dollar company. The first strategy is to set unreasonable business targets. If you normally set a business growth of, say 20 percent, change it to 500 percent. It is only by setting what most people considered to be outrageous targets that will force your people into out-of-the-box thinking. Following the traditional way of doing business will definitely be out. You may need to innovate practically every aspect of your business.

Two companies that practice this strategy are HP and Intel. They innovate all the time. Their common policy is to kill their own products before their competitors do. HP introduces new printers while the previous models are still selling well. Likewise, Intel brings out a new computer chip while the previous one is till popular. This means that their competitor will have a tough time just catching up.

Nurture Creativity

The famous quality guru Edward Demings says that 94 percent of all business failures are due to systems failures. The same is true for nurturing creativity for business in your company. You need to establish a system that can tap into the collective brainpower of your organization. Every worker is a potential source of ideas but most important creativity has to start at the top. In my best-selling book, You Are Creative- Let Your creativity Bloom, I have provided 10 Guidelines on how to build a corporate creativity culture.

Energize Minds

Companies spend a lot of money developing their people by sending them to attend all sorts of training programmes. While they are useful, there is usually very little follow-up. As a result training becomes an expense item rather than an investment. Perhaps it is time to change this approach and focus on a long-term programme to develop skills in creative thinking. This is necessary to energize minds to unleash their creative brainpower, the most important asset for sustainable competitiveness for your company.

There are seven reasons why training in creativity thinking is the best investment that you will ever make for the long-term success of your company:

ć Wealth Creation
ć Best ROI (Return On Investment)
ć Sustainable Business Competitiveness and Growth
ć Innovation For Greater Efficiency And Effectiveness
ć Life-long Skills in Ideas Generation and Problem-solving
ć Leveraging On The Imagination Of Your People
ć Self-Esteem and Personal Fulfillment

Source Expertise

Use all the brains you have and borrow those that you need. If you are part of the forest, you see only trees. You need an outsider to provide a view of the forest, that is an overview of your company. Look for experts that will help you to build a creative business organization. They could facilitate meetings and discussions and provide consultancy that will add vibrancy to your business.

Stimulating Meetings

According to a Wall Street Journal survey, meetings account for the greatest amount of unproductive time topping telephone calls, e-mails, paperwork, travels and office gossips.Despite the advent of advanced telecommunications technology, there is still no escape from meeting. Meetings are essential for the conduct of my business. The problem is how to have stimulating meetings that are more creative, efficient, productive and results-oriented.

I have created a system whereby it is possible to conduct meetings in half the time and double the results.


The only thing predictable about the business environment is change. The only way to cope with change is to tap into the creative thinking power of your people. Weak and sloppy thinking is a threat to business. It is easy to fall into as state of complacency and difficult to get out of it. If you are to be a highly effective competitor you must nurture your one true competitive advantage; how well your people think together. You cannot afford to sideline a large percentage of your available brainpower. Rather, leaders must remain take action to build the thinking capacity of the organization as a whole. The choice is yours and it is simple, get creative or perish.

Author's Bio

Dr.YKK conducts creativity workshops for business executives, government officials and professionals. He delivers keynote addresses at conventions and facilitates ideas generation sessions for organisations. Dr.YKK is the author of many books on creativity including his best-selling book You Are Creative- Let Your Creativity Bloom. His website is

Author's Bio: 

Dr.YKK is an international speaker, trainer, consultant and a best-selling author on creativity. He conducts creativity workshops for business executives, government officials and professionals. His other services include delivering keynote addresses at conventions and facilitating ideas generation sessions for organizations. Dr.YKK is the author of many books on creativity including his best-selling book You Are Creative- Let Your Creativity Bloom. His website is