Fostering Creativity and Innovation

At last week’s second annual Global PR Summit in Miami hosted by The Holmes Report, I had the pleasure of hosting a session with best-selling author Steven Johnson that we called, Fostering Creativity and Innovation. Steven is uniquely qualified to offer expert insights and commentary on such topics, having written eight books on related subjects, most recently Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age and Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. The discussion explored the optimal blend of technology and human interaction for the purpose of generating new ideas to exploit opportunities in business and related communications.

In the video below, Steven and I explore the subject of structuring our schedules, interactions and specific activities to help broaden our influences for the purpose of stimulating creativity and generating original, unique ideas and solutions that provide significant enhancements to both enterprise and individual performances.  Steven references his own schedule and creative process, stressing the benefits of technology, social media and similar tools while cautioning against the dangers of over-immersion within the virtual environment at the expense of personal interactions and other valuable stimuli.

He also offers an intriguing historical reference – explaining how the 18th century coffee house environment here and in Europe served as a nexus for the period’s most brilliant thinkers from all walks of life to meet and exchange ideas and perspectives (unlike today’s keyboard and ear bud-oriented Starbucks experience). We end with some current trends designed to broaden professionals’ perspectives by encouraging multi-disciplinary interaction in “anti-conference room” environments that mimic those centuries-old coffee houses, and reference leading corporate innovators like Google and 3M, where engineers spend mandated time on personal, creative initiatives.

Please take a few minutes to view this video and hear Steven’s perspective on finding new and ideal sources of creative inspiration – I think you’ll enjoy it. Fair warning: I’m sporting my Movember mustache.

Rob Flaherty is Chairman of Ketchum, the global communications consultancy with 130 offices and affiliates worldwide. He is on the board of the Arthur W. Page Society, the Institute for Public Relations and the advisory board of Room to Read, which focuses on literacy and girls education in developing nations. Follow Rob on Twitter at @flahertyrob.