Do Only “Creatives” Create?

Jeff Rosell is Sales Executive - Program at GES...

Have you considered how much our industry relies on creativity? We have vice presidents of design, creative directors, 3D designers and more. If we pull these folks together into a meeting, it even gets its own term like, “Creative Think-Tank,” (I don’t know about you, but no one has ever invited me to be part of a “sales think tank”). It’s no exaggeration to state that these brilliant individuals serve as the cornerstones of this industry. But let’s be honest, how many of us assume that “being creative” is a talent that, to a great degree, is relegated to the creative few?

Gordon MacKenzie was an executive with Hallmark Corporation for almost 30 years. In his book Orbiting the Giant Hairball, he uses the term “Giant Hairball” to describe Hallmark’s (and Corporate America’s) environment.  In short, it’s a tangled, impenetrable mass of rules and systems that may have worked in the past, but leads to mediocrity in today’s business world.

I found the last paragraph of the book inspiring, so I’m sharing it with you:

“You have a masterpiece inside you, too, you know. One unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be. And remember: If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.”

- Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie

What would our respective companies look like if we each tried painting our own masterpiece?  What creative ideas do each of us have that fall by the wayside because we’re afraid of appearing foolish, or assume it’s the creative team’s challenge to resolve? This isn’t about sketching, drawing, or even putting a brush to paper. It’s about asking ourselves an important question: “What seemingly wild, brilliant or creative idea might I be keeping to myself?” In 2010, I watched a YouTube video that I found intriguing (you may have seen similar). A narrator reads a negatively positioned message that scrolls downward, but upon finishing, the scrolling and narration reverse so the messaging takes on a new, positive tone.

This video is something I wrote and recorded, and my colleague Darren Pasdernick helped turn it into a video. Sharing this beyond a hand full of colleagues makes me a little uncomfortable (after all, how will others respond?), but there’s another side of me that wants to include, “If I can do it, anyone can.” The word “creates” comes from the Latin term creatus; “to make or bring forth.”  So allow me to pose a question; “Are creative professionals the only people who can make or bring forth?” Every one of us possesses the ability to be creative, regardless of how wild or “far out there” the concept. Let’s rediscover the fun of blue sky thinking, brainstorming and shooting for the moon!

Care to share your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? I’m interested in hearing from you! Email me at

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