Emotional Innovation: How to Grow Your Business through Creativity

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.

– Dale Carnegie

Harold Clurman, a pioneer of NY theatre in the 1930s, shared with us the correlation between truth and entertainment: the truth is like castor oil—it’s bitter and hard to swallow; and so we open the mouths of our audience with entertainment, and while they’re open, we pour it in. As an artist-turned-owner of a creative company, I’ve built a business around combining professional thought with artistic delivery. In so doing, I’ve discovered that using creativity in business inspires the business, inspires the clients, and inspires the product or service being created.

Why do people respond to creativity with such fervor?

The answer is simple: creative expression puts us back in touch with our favorite version of ourselves.

Think about your favorite memory of who you are or have been. When did you feel most alive in your life? Was it when playing as a child? When you won the girl? When you got he job? When you won the race?

In our youth, we often feel such flashes of greatness through physical activity: being the fastest or the strongest, or being able to endure the hike, the mountain climb, the marathon. As we age, we turn inward and the challenges become related to purpose and to meaning.



Who has time for such things in a tough economy?

The reality is that so many of us are making time to ask ourselves, “Do I matter?” Perhaps we’ve been forced to become less materialistic. Perhaps it’s the changing global economy. Perhaps technology has made it so easy for us to connect with one another that we’ve been forced to now ask ourselves, “What about us is worth connecting with?”

And there it is.

In a world full of technological advances, where Apple’s iPhone business alone is now bigger than Microsoft’s entire business, we have been led down a path where connection is not only easy, but it is also instantaneous. And that has forced us into a paradigm shift.  By being so “connectable,” we are looking at the essence of who we are…of why anyone should care. The reality is that to connect, we have to be vulnerable, human, and real.

How does creativity help us to connect?

  1. Because creativity requires honesty to be effective, it taps into our inner magic by forcing us to get to the core of what we believe.
  2. When we share what we honestly believe through our work, we give people an opportunity to honestly react.
  3. When we repeat that process over a period of years, we build a tribe of like minds.
  4. When we are surrounded by our tribe who appreciate what we believe, we are forced to see what they are reflecting back to us. That new mirror image is powerful enough to generate new confidence to take more risks.
  5. That willingness to take more risks and be more vulnerable through our work continues to fuel the growth of our tribe. Over time your tribe will turn into your “raving fans” and they will drive deeper connection all around you.

Why the term emotional innovation?

Innovation is an “outward” term. We apply skills to develop new products or systems and call it innovation. Emotional innovation is the turning of our talents inward toward self-articulation, toward personal growth. At the center of emotional innovation is personal artistry. Any one of us can be an artist in the work we do if we approach it creatively. That requires us to think of ourselves as artists, which in turn elevates our standards within our work.

Think of the people you know in your life who work what you might consider to be rather mundane jobs, and yet they LOVE what they do and exhibit admirable passion. The Starbucks barista who loves delivering you the perfect cup of coffee with a smile that sets your day off in a positive direction. The health insurance salesman who knows everything about health care reform and loves educating you about it so you can make informed decisions for your employees. The rare doctor who spends more than 3 minutes in the room with you and actually takes the time to help you feel like a human being.

When Zappos thought beyond shoe sales and realized that at a deeper, more artistic level, they were “Delivering Happiness,” their game changed, both internally and externally. And that decision was within their control. They grabbed that concept, promoted it, and lived by it, and it has made them successful beyond measure.

Have you taken the time to articulate and honor what you deliver?

Do you think of yourself as an artist with your work?

We all matter. Or should I say, we all have the opportunity to matter. When we think creatively, and put ourselves out there vulnerably, we give people an opportunity to have a genuine response. In the past, it’s been referred to as “authenticity,” but that concept was only the introduction to the conversation. Being authentic is a behavior, not an idea. And you get to the behavior through exercising your creativity and accessing your inner artist.


Corey Michael Blake, author of #Jump (April 2012) is the President of Round Table Companies and Writers of the Round Table Press. In addition to publishing some of the most prolific authors of our time, Corey consults businesses and leaders on using creativity to connect with their customers, instigate culture change, and define the heart of their business.

Category: Innovation


About the Author: Corey Blake

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