A Problem Shared – Why Creative Service Companies Add Value

Some research carried out recently into peoples behaviour has revealed that they are more able to think creatively when it is for someone else. Psychologically, when we think of situations or individuals that are distant we think of them in the abstract, which leads to greater creativity. But when things are close (physically or about to happen) we think about them concretely and in fixed terms.In their social science research, Polman and Emich suggest “That decisions for others are more creative than decisions for the self… should prove of considerable interest to negotiators, managers, product designers, marketers and advertisers, among many others”.This principle underpins many of the services offered within the OSP group. Visual Marketing provide creative marketing solutions by maintaining distance from the day to day of the clients business. Impresoft offer an external perspective to business processes and find novel software solutions to make them more efficient. Wilmott Turner solve debt problems for companies and individuals by removing the emotion from challenging situations.Many businesses look at the cost of using external service companies and consider it to be more economic to do it themselves but the research suggests that the creative problem solving provided by external agencies can add tremendous value to your business and drive innovation by being more abstract.Some other tools for retaining creative distance in businessMake use of independent directors or advisors
Appointing independent directors or board members can provide a useful ‘rudder’ to your business, overseeing the general direction of the company without meddling in the day to day operations. Their professional distance can make them valuable sparks to corporate creativity.Structure your business differently
Consider that loose alliances can produce more creative products and services than fixed personnel in traditional roles and management chains. Much maligned consultancies may be providing a valuable service by providing distance.Talk to your peers
Meet with your peers, either formally or informally, to discuss the issues that are confronting you in business. It is very easy, in the daily pressure of the business, to get closer and not more distance to business problems but this is unlikely to foster a creative solutions.Swap problems with a partner
Try finding a friend or colleague to occasionally swap problems and provide a different perspective.Remove yourself regularly
Create some psychological space between you and your project by imagining you’re doing it for someone else or contemplating what advice you’d give to another person in your predicament.Obviously, there are occasions where the job just needs to be done and this requires clear focus and concrete thinking. But this strategy should not be the only way you deal with business problems.