Creativity and Business: Priceless

Creativity is inherently revolutionary. Business is inherently exploitative.Is creativity inherently anti-business?

These thoughts have been rolling around my mind like a marble in a sweet jar for some time now, as I ponder my own paths in creativity and in business.

Business requires predictability, results and judges by the balance sheet. It demands efficiency, proof and reports. Business exploits ideas for profit. Business people have a platform, a position, and a salary. Creatives on the other hand have a trajectory, a vocation and a journey. Creativity generates ideas, celebrates strangeness, and messes with your head. Business makes money, maintains the market and will sell you whatever you will buy. Creativity wastes time, disrupts the market, and even if you can own it, it’s probably worthless.

The art business is the most conflicted in the world.

Creative people alight upon something new and invest it with form and meaning, showing the way forward and lighting the path. Business people seek financial gain, and will gladly steal the patent for the lighting system.

Not being able to sell your idea means nothing to the truly creative person. Ignoring trends is essential if you are to follow the thread of your inspiration, wherever it might lead, even to your personal extinction – although that is not essential. Creativity reinvents itself just by continuing – change is its only constant. Creativity demands the pointless. Blind alleys are the stuff of life. Purpose is a necessary sacrifice along the path of enlightenment. The search for enlightenment is packaged and sold as weekend breaks in the picturesque Cotswolds, £400 per person including organic meals.

Thanks to television, radio and the internet, there is now little left of undivided attention, lingering examination, or even careful re-reading. All is subservient to the immediately useful, the entertaining or the alarmist. The timelines speed past like landscapes viewed from a train, remote, unvisited, unless robot search alert takes you back there. The windows of attention are shrinking as we stare more and more at screens, and less and less at the faces of individuals.

“Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” – T. S. Eliot

“Finding a businessman interested in the Arts is like finding chicken shit in your chicken salad” – Alice Neel

3 Responses - Add Yours+

  1. Jimu says:

    Hello Dean,
    Just watched your Creativity in podcasting Video #10 in Itunes, …..right on the money, …loved it… creativity a subject close to my heart…should be everyone’s, I reckon. You said…

    “The windows of attention are shrinking as we stare more and more at screens, and less and less at the faces of individuals”

    So true IMHO…..the antidote is focus, being so excited by creativity, by technology and the opportunity can blow one’s circuts, so to speak. gambatte ne.

    Already I feel your creative influence… how I use this is my creativity….. watch, listen and allow…that’s how I get there!
    Having spent 25 years as a creative furniture maker, I finally came to the realization, for me (and that’s only totally personal) that there was no money in it, maybe because many creatives do not focus on money.

    Thanks heaps Man
    Here is my blog


  2. Jimu says:

    Hello Dean,
    Just viewed your Creativity in Podcasting video….loved it…creativity, a subject close to my heart…..should be everyone’s IMHO

    Already I feel some creative influence from watching your material….how I use it is my Creativity.

    Creativity and Business? Speaking as a creative furniture maker for 25 years, I finally realized that (for me) there was no money in it, allot of Joy, fun exploration, excitement, but eventually without dosh…everything falls flat. This is only my personal experience, never have focused on money, never will, maybe to my peril.
    And still I’m excited about each day.

    Thanks for posting your creativity….inspiring!

    Here’s my blog



  3. gurdonark says:

    I like your weblog. I think here, though, that this dichotomy of view is too rigid and is being outmoded by the cultural changes arising from information technology. Rather than being merely an enemy of attention,
    the new technology offers chances to experience media in ways other than the 30 second, 60 second, 1/2 hour, 1 hour, 100 minutes way of traditional media offerings. Once one takes the means of production and the means of distribution, new ways for shared experiences arise.

    Sousa was certain that recorded music would ruin the interest in performed music. He was mistaken.

    The artificial business/creativity distinction is not the dichotomy at play–as ever, the dichotomy is the individual’s expression, through arts, through scientific discovery, through personal action, versus the dehumanization which institutional control, whether corporate, government, gallery or what-have-you, can create. I favor individual action to create a sharing economy, in which we no longer view artists as antithetical to day to day life, but instead as integral. I see this as a process of shared experience. I don’t accept the hegemony of a “creative caste”, any more than I accept the hegemony of a “business caste”, when it comes to the potential for

    Thanks for writing interesting posts that make me think about what I think.