The most imaginative companies share one key characteristic. They use creativity as a key resource to improve, innovate and disrupt.  This key capability is the focus of my work as a consultant - embedding timeless wisdom and future thinking into your organizational development. Creativity-led consulting. The Imagination Advantage.

While until now, the value of creativity has been hard to measure, those places that have invested have seen a huge advantage develop. And a study by the Design Management Institute proves it. Over ten years, those S&P 500 organizations that invested in 'creative capability' - the skills to attract and retain creatives, manage outputs, learn how to sense actionable insights and remove barriers for investment, creative collaboration and transfer of information, have proven to make it worth your while to invest in creative capability.

The DMI Design Value Index has taken the mystery out of measurement, showing that prioritizing The Imagination Advantage results in real profitability. Over ten years, a 228% difference, to be exact.

The DMI Design Value Index includes a rigorously selected list of creative companies, publicly traded, that must meet a set of six DMI design management criteria.

Out of a pool of 75 publicly traded U.S. companies, just 15 met the criteria.  These companies include Apple, Coca Cola, Ford, Herman-Miller, IBM, Intuit, Newell-Rubbermaid, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Starwood, Steelcase, Target, Walt Disney and Whirlpool.

The results show that over the last 10 years design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 228%.

Using creativity, teams come to better understand the market, risks and rewards of committing to configuring services in particular ways. By focusing on customers and their mental models, products, services and knowledge move from commodity to desired experience.

Reducing complexity and providing clarity are hallmarks of the creative approach, which lead to actionable insights and better services, better products and increased marketshare.

Getting top creatives to work with your team to collaborate better means strategic advantages, too. Better systems, processes, talent management and insight engines create a sustainable way for you to see around corners and move before the competition.

Combine the internal and external results, and we call it an experience you cannot live without. Philosophers might call it 'desiderata', or 'desired things', and delivering desired things is worth a lot (228% more, apparently.)

Consider: Why do we pay $4 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, spend hundreds more on an Apple versus Dell laptop, or travel further to stay at a Starwood property?


We change commodities into 'must-have-experiences' by creatively interacting internally and externally to find hidden opportunity, unmet needs and novel problems to solve.

So, why focus on The Imagination Advantage? In my observation, most companies have plenty to support left-brain activities. Big data, accounting, analysis and other left brain activities are well looked afdter and usually lead the way, often because they are easier to quantify, not necessarily because they offer better insight. Thus, right brain thinking is left behind (no pun intended) as the slow, deep methods of creativity need different kinds of management to be successful in a competitive environment.

Just remember, even Fred Taylor, that original purveyor of the value of quantitative results, had to make up data to prove he was right.

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