Thinc Iowa: Andy Murray on overcoming ‘poverty of creativity’
Andy Murray, the founder and chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi X, kicked off Thinc Iowa as the first speaker today at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines. Murray discussed the common challenges that both corporations and startups share and focused the rest of his talk on the five themes that make entrepreneurship in corporations and startups creative.
Five T.I. Takeaways
1. Focus on entrepreneurship
"When were you at your best physically?" Murray asked the ThincIowa crowd. "I'd probably say when I was in high school, wrestling, at age 18 ... If that's the case, then maybe what I need to do is go back to high school and start wrestling again. 'Cause that's what you do when you're a startup."
The point Murray was making is that you can't go back in time but "the pieces behind it was very important," Murray said. "The discipline physically at that time … is what made me do wrestling well."
"Corporations," he said, "need to embrace the values that are underneath what it means to be an entrepreneur."
2. Seek authenticity
"Having your own voice is one thing being discussed in corporations and startups," Murray said. "And authenticity is an important topic they are trying to answer." It's a topic which goes back to the Medici family in the mid-1500s and what the family did prior to the Renaissance. "The (Medici family) asked, "What is true?" "What is good?" and "What is beautiful?"
In the modern climate of a consumer-oriented vs. a citizen-oriented society, we are told these three questions by advertising, people and other mediums. Murray said that if we revert back to asking these three questions, our future can return back to the Citizen Age and into what he called the Creative Age. The Creative Age would make people more engaged in creativity and answering what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful without being told.
3. Creativity from the fringe
IBM did a study of several CEOs and found two important attributes of a good CEO:
- The ability to deal with complexity without over simplifying it
- Creativity - the ability to see new things that's never been done.
"We have a poverty of creativity," Murray said. Though studies show that creativity is on the decline, Murray said that creativity can be found on the fringe — that is, in places like India, Africa, and certain parts of America.
He gave words of wisdom on how to grow the fringe, telling the crowd not to "start with the problem and jump to ideation," and that the "best creativity sits on human condition."
4. Crack the code on collaboration
"This conference is a good example of collaboration," Murray said. The problem with collaboration in corporations, he said, is all the complexities of intellectual property, firewalls, communications and tons of people.
So, how can we get more collaboration? Get people to trust each other and learn from eBay, where they figured out how to get strangers to trust each other by online auctioning.
5. Scale, pivot, change
The axolotl is a type of Mexican salamander that almost went instinct. But the axolotl can regenerate its ligaments and could even survive being stabbed in the heart. What does this have to do with scaling in a company or startup? Murray said that just like the axolotl, you have to be adaptable.