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Creativity in business more important than ever

Apr 27 2020

It has been predicted before: with the changing world, it is increasingly important to give creativity a permanent place in your company.

I work here in the Meelfabriek in Heemstede; an old restored mill with in addition the former storage and processing of the flour; in fact it was more of a workshop than a factory. The large space has long been used as a shared workshop for artists and gradually the owner has converted it into small 'studios' of 25 to 40 m2. At the moment about 6 small companies are located here and the artists also work in their own studios.

During the COVID-19 outbreak it is striking that the artists and creatives just keep working; the inspiration is there and they want to convert it into images, concepts, photos, etc. No 'paralysis' or lack of new ideas. The artists just keep going while the rest of the Netherlands sits at home or drowsily zooms in a falling economy.

Odd man out

I am a "strange duck" to the artists. Graduated from the art academy and we can chat about the creative process, but it also ends there. For example, last month I was particularly busy with visualisations and the presentation of an Asset Manager who was very busy due to the good numbers due to the declining stock markets.

The main question is: how can you easily explain complex financial investment products such as derivatives and hedges so that it is immediately clear why money is actually being made if the stock markets plummet. And what exactly those hedges achieve. These artists do not really get excited about this and boredom looks the other way.

Such a visualization / wording is the best challenge you can give me: clearly explaining why your product or service performs well or gives extra benefits while the mainstream cannot. The unusual story, the contrary, the non-generic.

And what if your special product is that strange duck?

It is not easy for Fund Managers, but also other entrepreneurs, to get customers and investors involved. High-net-worth customers and institutional customers are risk averse and want the greatest possible certainty of return.

But what if the customer encounters your company and is confronted with a different, contrary solution? Your product or service is then "an odd man out." It is extra difficult to prove that you are not a tinkerer, that you not only shout that your product is really good, but that it is also demonstrably benchmarked.


In fact, the problem that every smaller company or start-up struggles with: are you credible and how 'unique' is your product or service then? If you employ 10 people, you prove that you 'can do something', but how future-proof is that proof? Not really so.

Change in this time

Why not go through the basis of the proposition, customer offer, product / market fit and the agile marketing approach with a creative thinking person? The train has now stopped and needs to get back to steam as soon as possible. What should you adjust and what should you keep?

Don't cut the legs under your business

One or more existing parameters must be arranged differently. How do you do that responsibly, how do you make that assessment? In my online workshops we methodically investigate this step by step. Everything that works well remains that way. For everything that needs to be adjusted, you determine in those workshops what the new interpretation could be and we organize an experiment that is responsible and realistic.

Experiments take a long time. Entrepreneurs do not want experiments but results. Unfortunately, the only result I can promise is: every week (or every sprint) we worked on the main topic within the experiment. You can look back with satisfaction on one or more important discoveries in the week or sprint. What I can also promise is that during the online workshops you will have an experienced entrepreneur next to you who is used to working in the financial and corporate world.


Now is the right time for such a workshop series: use all the creative capacity to further develop your company, to experiment. The main argument is: what do you have more to lose than has already happened?

Online workshops; another trendy hooker?

No, I have been giving these online workshops for more than 5 years. Why? My experience is that discovering, devising solutions, setting up an experiment (optional) and implementing the conclusions in practice take longer than 2 or 3 workshops. This requires more hands-on workshops, which is much more effective online than literally at the table.

It also fits my vision; flexible building of companies that continue to deliver a lot of value to their most important customers for a long time.

The workshops are very practical with a short knowledge transfer moment and a joint discovery part. Together we walk through the workshop topics and improve where you find it necessary your proposition, customer offer, product / market fit or the agile marketing approach.

Geschreven door: Sibren van der Burgt

Sibren van der Burgt

Na een studie aan de Kunstacademie in Den Haag heeft Sibren van 1996 tot en met 2004 bij de top-ontwerpbureau's van Nederland ervaring opgedaan met corporate klanten zoals NS, ABN-AMRO, Rabobank en Visa. In 1996 had hij de eerste website al in de lucht op sibren.nl.

Met zijn digital design-minded achtergrond helpt hij sinds 2005 bedrijven in de (software) technology, financial markets en maakindustrie om hun diensten on- én offline makkelijker te kunnen vermarkten.

Het team van de ontwerpstudio ontwikkelt samen met de klant een klant-overtuigings-strategie én realiseert de praktische invulling hiervan met marketing en design.

Meer over Sibren >

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