Do you know which of the 7 phases of the creative process you are in?

Is being creative necessary in your business?

Many people thing creativity is relevant only to certain types of business. I wrote about this some time ago,  see How is creativity related to your business? when I explained that you need creativity when you are developing new products, new systems or anything new. In fact, whenever you are working on rather than in your business. I also said we all have a creative side, which we need to develop to succeed in business.

You need to be intentionally creative

It is easy to think creativity just happens. Ideas fall from the sky. If not…they don’t. Perhaps you are creative sometimes. I used to think like that. Now I have learned that you can manage this aspect of your life, just like any other. You can keep on producing new ideas, new products etc like our most successful business leaders. This means understanding the creative process, and especially to understand the different phases of that process.

A mediaeval monk being creative as he produces a manuscript.
A mediaeval monk being creative as he produces a manuscript.
Why are the phases so important?

You can blame yourself for apparent failure simply because you were not on the phase you thought you were on. They require different approaches. Perhaps even different physical environments. It is also important to go through them in the right order. You can go back as often as you need, but never try to jump ahead missing a phase out.

So what are the phases of the creative process?
  1. Preparation – research, getting facts, studying previous work
  2. Incubation – letting the ideas develop in your subconscious
  3. Inspiration – the lightbulb moment
  4. Evaluation – prioritising
  5. Elaboration – working out the details
  6. Review – costs, benefits, risks, opportunities
  7. Implementation

I will be writing again about each of these phases. For now, just acknowledge that they exist and make a decision to work your way through each of them in turn for every creative project you are planning. Each one can be at a different phase. In fact, it is better if they are.


350 million a week for the NHS when we leave the EU – are you joking, Boris?

Did you believe Leave?

Do you ever wonder how many people voted Leave because of this incredible claim which Boris has just resurrected? I use the word incredible in its correct sense! Better statisticians than I have taken the foreign secretary to task over this, but as I have written a book on How to Avoid Being Misled by Statistics, I felt a need to add my two penn’orth. Not 350 million worth, of course.

How much?

Let’s look at the amount. Yes, we do usually pay something like 350M to the EU every week, although the amount varies some years, being based on a formula.  So Boris is right? No! There’s a 100M rebate we get back every week. Don’t ask why they don’t just net it off. They don’t go for simplicity.

That leaves 250M a week for the NHS. Right?

Wrong. All the money we, and every other member state, pay to the EU, doesn’t just disappear! Apart from the cost of running its institutions, like the Commission and the Parliament, the EU spends most of it on agricultural subsidies and various projects, mainly from the Regional Development Fund. A certain amount of the agricultural subsidies comes to British farmers. As to the projects, it depends which projects get approved at any time. Overall, the UK benefits by over 100M a week. When we leave the EU it will be for the British Government to decide whether to continue subsidising agriculture and supporting development projects. If so, by how much? It could be more or less than the present.

Does that mean we will be 150M a week better off when we leave?

Probably. BUT. There’s a lot of negotiating to be done. We may have to pay something in future to gain access to the Single Market or to remain in some EU institutions. I expect each of us will have a different view as to what is a good or a bad bargain. But we might have 150M a week for the NHS? Maybe. If all other things are equal. Will they be? That will depend on two things. The state of our government’s finances and their political choices.

Government finances.

You cannot separate the money we pay to the EU from everything else. If the economy booms, there could be more tax revenue to the exchequer. On the other hand…! And that will depend on the state of the World economy and on the impact of Brexit. The total available to spend could be more or less  than 150M a week. There are risks, as they say.

Risk Dice - Leave has positive and negative risks
Dice – Leave has positive and negative risks
Political choices.

It will be for the government at the time to decide priorities. Perhaps the NHS will come top. What about infrastructure, education, defence etc? Then there’s the deficit. Remember that? Some think the first call on any extra money should be to clear that as fast as possible. Some of the Leavers are among the strongest believers in fiscal responsibility. They want to clear the deficit.

What does this say of Boris?

I would not go so far as to call him a liar. I would just say that his assertion of 350M a week for the NHS is misleading. Another example of how to be misled by statistics. Perhaps he should read my book.



What are you going to review this autumn?

Summer is more or less over. This is the time of year many businessmen and women review their activities. Some are thinking of an autumn sales drive, others of a new product coming out in January. There are even those who are thinking about Christmas (sorry to mention that!). I hope you have got plans. How far ahead are you planning?

Review your business this autumn?

Is it time to review something that you weren’t planning on changing, just to make sure that what has worked OK so far is still fit for purpose?

Whatever you are going to review, remember to look at the risks and opportunities. Then look at the controls. Otherwise you could be about to score an own goal. Your dreams could become nightmares. If you’re not sure how to go about that kind of review, you could do worse than read my book Load the Dice


Load the dice - risk management for small businesses

Of course, you could have a chat with me, if you’ve no time to read. An initial consultation is always free.

You do want to make sure it’s only the leaves that will fall this autumn, don’t you?