Innovation & Creativity In The New Business World

13th December 2020

Creativity often inspires and delights us. It is often at the heart of innovation in business. When considering the concept of innovation, the single most common piece of advice can be to “think outside the box.” However, does it generate tangible value to businesses? 

While it remains challenging to accurately measure creativity, there is evidence that shows creativity can influence the bottom line of a business as well as showing there are a set of practices that differentiate the most creative companies from the others. This serves to demonstrate that innovation is the engine of advancement. 

Creativity and innovation are an important priority in business. Crucially, a company has to ensure these values are of foremost importance in its daily practices. This can be challenging, given the relentless pressures on business leaders to meet pre-agreed performance targets. 

By encouraging creative thinking, innovation and collaboration into the heart of your business on a daily basis, value is added to the company and personal development increases – both on a more visible level. 

Senior executives serve as role models for creativity and innovation. They should not only encourage their people to pursue those objectives, they should see themselves as personally responsible for the delivery of creativity and innovation. Companies that hold creativity and innovation as core values prioritise having near-fanatical devotion to understanding their customers. 

The most creative companies move quickly when making strategic decisions. They also do so with precision and determination. They do this by defining specific deliverables as opposed to vague goals, and making it clear from the outset who is accountable for delivering what and when. 

Several years ago, I created a luxury Jean collection. My mission was to position our brand in a different way than any other brand of jeans. Only Balmain was creating luxury Jeans, at the time.

Our Brand was unknown and we decided to develop a uniquely styled jean collection, with added clip-on diamond jewellery to each garment. Jeans with diamonds were unique and a bespoke product for our clientele. They could be further personalised by adding other jewellery items or designed pieces using noble material such as crocodile leather. This was an entirely original concept. No one could challenge our higher price point due to how precious this was.

This collection was created well before other fashion houses decided jeans could be marketed as a luxury product. 

During my career, I was also able to be innovative by being one of the first brand to utilise 3D printing to create pieces of jewellery. It was the first 3D printer in Europe in Antwerp, to be used for jewellery pieces.

Early on, I identified that by using 3D printers, we were able to provide a lot more precision, more efficiency, with better quality results when creating the customised orders for our clients. Nowadays, it seems obvious to use this technology, but at the time in 2012, it was so innovative that people were struggling to understand how it could work.

Back then, our clients were stunned to see their jewellery pieces in 3D before we began the process to create them. 

Last, but not least, the project I was proud to develop ‘Rouge Azur’ was not officially launched because of COVID-19, however, investors were very impressed by it. 

The goal was to create a luxury beachwear collection. 

To avoid the significant costs of distribution and store openings, in the most expensive high streets, we had to be creative & innovative to distribute our range of products. 

We then decided to partner with the most luxurious 5 star hotels and open pop-up stores in direct-operated retail, in unexploited spaces of within the hotel premises. 

The objective was to target luxury customers in the right place, at the right time. 

Also by being creative with pop-up stores, hotel guests were grateful to have access to products they needed, from the hotel stores instead of having to purposely leave the hotel for their shopping. In other words, we willing to innovate even within the retail experience.

For an equivalent sales profit generated, the expenditure for us was significantly lower than opening stores on the high streets and it was a winning concept for the hotels too, as they were bringing added-value to their customers as well. 

As a source of inspiration for me is the quote from Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination“. It reminds me to challenge my own way of thinking in order to, sometimes, put all the business theories aside and allow myself to let my imagination drives new ideas.

For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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