Creativity is what makes you relevant and meaningful for clients, organizations, and other audiences like students if you are teaching as well.
I have to thank Deirdre Breakenridge for sharing this article on FB yesterday – it really struck a chord for me not only as a researcher, but also as a professor and professional in PR. We have to not only encourage creativity in our classes with our students, but we have to embody it ourselves as well in our own work. Thanks, Deidre!
Here are some tips on how to become creative for your work in PR – both from a student, professor, and consultant point of view:
- Don’t let others put you into boxes: If you have someone say “you’re an applied researcher” or “you only can study PR” or even “you have to become an expert in this tiny corner of the field to be relevant” – I say that is not true. You have control in deciding what you are going to do professionally, what you are going to research/teach/practice, and how you are going to communicate and share your ideas with others outside of the field. You are in control of your point of view as a researcher, scholar, and practitioner.
- “Innovation is about changing reality”: This is an awesome quote from the article I saw from BusinessWeek. Focusing on what has already been done is important to note for research because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but also ask – what HASN’T been done? What has been explored in other fields but not in the field I am in? What changes and questions need to be addressed? Researchers are obligated to be explorers as well as experts in their related field.
- Reinvention is part of evolution: When we look at the most successful brands, most of them have evolved over the years due to reinvention – not necessarily on their core values or principles – but more along the lines of how they are crafting of their messages to their audiences.
- Looking at items in new ways: The key thing is the concept of “new” – I know, it’s not rocket science , but sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas that have not been addressed yet. So many times (as I know as a graduate student) we are forced to build off on research that has already been done and extend this point of view in the field. However, this somewhat limits us to other considerations that could make an impact to the field. Ask yourself – what hasn’t been done in the field yet? What are some new ways we can approach new assignments in our classes? What questions are relatively “new” for the profession in the body of knowledge?
- Embrace a creative lifestyle: What does this mean? This means to make sure to take the time to 1) soak up the atmosphere and do activities that help you brainstorm (for me, it’s always been exercise) – so make sure to budget time to do this and 2) surround your space with ideas to help you generate new points of view. I have done this with my office at UofL as well as my home office – you want to have the best environment that will help you be as creative as possible. This has worked for brands like Edelman and Google to name a few. My office at UofL is not the typical office you see for professors – while I do have books, I do have Angry Birds, Minions, and Dr. Who items decorating my office. It keeps me entertained while working.
- Be lifelong learners who are sustainable both in their work ethic & accomplishments: As professors and researchers, we have to think of this as well in terms of our own personal brand. How are we going to stay relevant and evolve along with the trends we are seeing in the field? One point is to always be a lifelong learner, and never sit on your accomplishments. This point was raised by Brian Solis in this article, which I totally agree with. In order to be relevant, you always have to be hungry and keep moving forward to maintain your influence and presence in the field.
In other words, creativity is one attribute that will always be important to have as a professional today in 2013 and beyond. Coming up with new ways of approaching research or assignments in the classroom can be challenging, so if you have the ability to do this, you can really make an impact in the profession across the board.
Hope you all are having a great day!