4 Criteria for Creativity: Women Working or Drones?

What’s more creative:  1) drones delivering a Kindle to your door in 30 minutes or less or 2) women working?

According to Fast Company’s  100 Most Creative People in Business, women in the workplace, in Saudi Arabia at least, is more creative. Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud topped the list of most creative people in business by inviting Saudi women to work.

Quoted as saying, “You cannot have half your population not working,” the princess emphasizes why an “innovation” with people is more important than technology that allows all kinds of things to be delivered to your door as quickly as a pizza. Not only more important, but also more of a challenge.

But is extending the invitation to work to half the population creative, or something entirely different? This example illustrates that in order for something to be truly creative, the following has to be present:

  1. Conventional thinking has to be challenged. In a country where it is illegal for women to drive, women working challenges conventional thinking.
  2. Risks have to be involved. Again, in a country where it is illegal for women to drive, risks are involved in inviting women to work.
  3. Impact extends beyond the original intent. Might it be made legal for women to drive because women are working? It may necessitate a legislative change eventually.
  4. Positive gains are made and results are achieved. As reported in the article, “The Riyadh department store-which opened in 2000 as Harvey Nichols’s first location outside the U.K. – weathered a 42% drop in profit last year, partly because of opposition to the female sales force and partly because of loyalty to the far-more-seasoned salesmen it replaced.” Time will tell if this creative intervention will lead to business results. But maybe, just maybe, this example goes to show that you get more points for creativity if societal results are achieved at the possible short-term detriment to business results. See #2 above. As the princess said, “The second a woman is responsible for her own finances, she’ll want to explore more of the world for herself and become less dependent.”

What’s the most creative people intervention or idea have you ever witnessed?

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Mary Ila Ward

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