Why being open minded is the key to innovation.
In order to get the most out of creativity and innovation, we need to be open to new ideas. Fresh ways of thinking push the boundaries of what we believe is possible, resulting in exciting new products and services, and helping our economy and society to grow.
The leaders of the tech industry have long been aware of this link, dominating their markets by sharing their ability to be open-minded innovators. Apple’s slogan, ‘Think Different’ shows how integral this thinking is to their company ethos.
The launch of the iconic iPod in 2001 cemented Apple’s reputation for approaching their customer’s needs with an open mind, reaching a totally novel solution. The company continue to prosper, pushing employees to work hard and be the best they can be, fighting to make their company as innovative as possible. Loyalty and secrecy is expected so that the company can prevent theft of intellectual property and surprise consumers with products reveals.
Constant contact with tech companies’ products means we have developed a complex relationship with them. We trust companies that can respond to our latest needs with innovative solutions that make our lives easier. Apple were recently voted second in a consumer poll by Cohn & Wolfe to find the 100 most authentic brands.
Search giants Google came fourth in the poll. The California company has offices across the world, and is famous for bright and kooky office spaces that reflect the company’s young, progressive and open-minded values. This has even become known as the Google office effect, and has had a big impact on office culture worldwide.
What was once purely functional is now filled with ping-pong tables, inter-departmental scooters, cosy nap pods, secret bookcases, climbing walls and so on. Google aren’t just setting a trend for the sake of it, though. Easing up on the traditional formality of business does increase productivity - by up to 15%. Being able to connect with your inner child encourages creativity, fresh perspectives and new ways of thinking.
Their ambition to “create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world” and ability to think outside the office cubicle clearly hasn’t damaged their professional reputation.
Creativity starts at home
In the UK, several hotspots of creative economy are resulting in a collaborative, open-minded approach to business that elevates local communities. Bristol is one of them, and at Tusko we’re very happy to be based in a city that supports and celebrates creativity and open-mindedness.
The Watershed is a cinema and media centre that sits in a Grade-II listed former warehouse on Bristol’s thriving harbourside. It acts as a ‘connector’ for the tech, arts and media industries in the city, and through screenings, festivals and workshops forges a strong network of cultural practitioners.
By having an open-minded approach to collaboration and participation, the Watershed is able to foster plenty of new opportunities and ideas that benefit the people of the city. Their research hub Pervasive Media Studio brings together over 100 innovators in arts, tech and academia, allowing them to benefit from fresh perspectives by working together. Watershed also run Rife Magazine, a platform that allows young people from across the city to express themselves by creating digital content and receive mentoring and resources.
A video partner of ours, Bristol24/7, are a media company that create a quality magazine and web content. They are fiercely independent and focussed on giving back to Bristol communities, demonstrating an open-minded approach to the city’s diversity. As a Community Interest Company, they “work hard to engage with and provide a platform for marginalised individuals and hard to reach communities”. Any profits they make are reinvested back into the company or into wider projects in the city.
Along with UWE and other partners, they are soon to launch ‘Better Bristol’: a collaborative process for Bristol businesses and people that works on tackling specific issues and changing the city for the better. We’re inspired by a company that can approach complex issues with an open mind and be dedicated to improving things for their community.
We need to talk
It takes enormous open-mindedness to tackle a taboo subject and attempt to change the conversation around it, and the folks behind Death Cafe are doing just that, one cup of coffee at a time. By holding regular meetups, this social enterprise offers people the opportunity to talk about that very human of experiences - death.
There is no particular agenda behind the discussions, and the group stress that this is not therapy or counselling. The sessions, which relieve the pressure around such a heavy topic of conversation, have proved popular, with 7,027 Death Cafes taking place in 59 countries since September 2011. Anyone can sign up as an affiliate to host a Death Cafe, and the process can be flexible to suit the host and attendees.
Keeping an open mind is so important for growth and innovation. At Tusko, we’re striving to continue seeking new perspectives and telling original stories. We’ll be keeping these words from the iconic (and fractious), Apple CEO Steve Jobs in our minds:
“Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
How Tusko feels this week…