Creativity, self-discovery and business development
Working in the creative sphere sounds like it offers great job satisfaction. But it does have its own challenges. Rob Harrison, partner at Leamington-based design agency Glued, offers the following insight into a course that has helped him to deal with some of the issues faced by the industry and how the learning is helping him to progress.
Business development might sound an odd bedfellow for creativity and self-discovery. At Glued we know differently having enrolled on, and completed, the Creative Warwickshire (now called Creative Springboard) programme by Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub and supported by Warwickshire County Council. Cleverly, the programme was free… providing you attended all the sessions. Missing a session would incur a charge!
The programme gathers together people who are earning, or aiming to earn, a living from some form of creativity. We were taken through a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment - developing a delight in proven business techniques to improve the sustainability, growth and processes in our creative businesses.
From simply breaking down prejudices about business practices through sharing and solving challenges to creatively documenting our story to date, our present circumstances and our ambitions, we visualised, role played and opened up in a collaborative and inspirational atmosphere.
I attended with my business partner, David Wilson, and we both got great value from it - but in different ways. Partly, because I had already been fortunate enough to have a kind of renaissance with a business mentor. Partly, because our behavioural styles are different - David had more of an epiphany than I did in relation to the business practices. But we both learnt great insights and courage.
The most prevalent of these was the concept of the ‘impostor syndrome’. This is a feeling that in doing what we do we are not really all that good at it and that somebody is going to find us out – the consequence likely to be a collapsing ‘house of cards’. The first step in this insight is understanding that many of us feel this, so how can there be so many unfound impostors? The second step is realising that we have to accept failures in order to learn how to do things expertly. The third step is recognising that those who might prey upon your ‘impostor syndrome’ are probably not the sort you are going to do good business with.
The Creative Warwickshire programme has also given us the confidence to get up in front of people and openly share our stories – the mistakes we have learnt from, the insights we have come to and the fun we have had. We surprise ourselves now by putting on our own paid for workshops, sharing parts of our process so others can go and conduct them in their own business to develop propositions and messages.
Our business was twelve years old when we joined the programme. What is more I had more than 30 years experience in marketing agencies and David had more than 15. So we weren’t ‘green’. And yet we learned things that changed us for the good as well as ways of sustaining our business – Glued turns 16 this year. At the grand age of 52, the main thing I learnt was that learning doesn’t finish at the end of your formal education, it carries on all your life – you can’t help learning even if you wilfully avoid it. So … why not grasp learning, instead of dodging it? Get on and enjoy the ride.
To find out more about Creative Springboard, go to https://www.cwlep.com/event/creative-springboard