3 creative ideas that changed the world of business
An injection of Creative Energy can transform a business. It’s the inherent curiosity that drives extraordinary thinking and takes ideas from thoughts to movements. It means delivering solutions that are as agile and vast as our customers’ aspirations. It means exploring new territories and creating imaginative solutions to unique business challenges.
After all, humanity’s greatest achievements have all come from a creative spark, a desire to do something different. It’s why we all revere inventors, like Nikola Tesla and Tim Berners Lee, whose creations have shaped the way we live today. It’s why we owe so much to scientists, like Richard Dawkins and Feng Zhang, whose creativity and foresight will go on to determine the lives of us and our children.
But Creative Energy isn’t just the preserve of visionaries and geniuses. It’s something that can occur every day in business. It should be taken seriously by CEOs, board executives, energy managers and beyond. Because Creative Energy is not just an output, it’s an ethos. And that ethos has been shaping the world of business for many years.
For E.ON, that ethos has been shaping our world for ages now. We believe that it’s our wealth of knowledge that provides the base for our Creative Energy approach. From these foundations, we strive to keep imagining new solutions, to develop extraordinary ideas, and to push businesses forward into the new era of sustainability. That’s why we’re so passionate about the transformative nature that Creative Energy can have. And why we’ve highlighted three ideas that have Creative Energy at their heart, that you may be able to use to inject extra force into your own business.
1. The Blockchain revolution
Blockchain – the digital ledger that records every transaction (or ‘block’) and where it comes from – was originally concepted to sit alongside its more familiar cousin, Bitcoin. But like all truly creative ideas, Blockchain has the power to live well beyond its original iteration.
According to PwC, nearly every major financial institution was experimenting with Blockchain in 2016. But the technology has the potential to transform processes and contracts beyond the financial services sector. In fact, they are making substantial investments in the technology today.
Indeed, E.ON participated in the very first electricity trade via Blockchain technology. The ‘Enerchain’ initiative allows direct trading (without the help of intermediaries) and so lowers the cost of electricity procurement. This out-of-the-box, decentralised approach opens up new opportunities for energy companies and customers alike.
Thinking creatively about Blockchain in your business
Blockchain technology is here to stay. Here are three questions to ask before you invest in the technology:
- Are there any transactions in your business that could benefit from more transparency?
- Where could you make extra savings?
- Do you have the skills in-house to make the most of the Blockchain revolution?
The rising profile of Blockchain
It’s the word on everyone’s lips, but how deep does investment in Blockchain actually go? Well, venture capitalists are regularly funding Blockchain businesses, prestigious universities like MIT and Stanford are hosting Blockchain courses, and crucially, forward-looking businesses are investing in Blockchain talent. For now at least, it looks like Blockchain is here to stay.
2. The rise and rise of the on-demand economy
In 2018, customers can have whatever they want, whenever they want it. With Amazon, Uber and Airbnb to name just a few, packages appear at doors within hours, taxis are called with just the press of a button, and tourists have more choice when looking for accommodation.
The on-demand economy has become a powerful movement. Digital marketplaces like eBay and Amazon are more than just platforms to buy products quickly and easily – they’re communities in their own right.
As a result, these businesses have inspired huge cult followings. And their customers aren’t just the tech-savvy, early adopters that they may once have been. They are influencing the masses.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes must be ready to react to this changing mindset. They need to be able to provide convenience by thinking and acting in a more agile way. Being slow to respond to change has always hindered companies – but now the consequences will hit quicker and harder.
Smart organisations will learn from the way that Amazon invested in Amazon Prime and Alexa, and how Uber launched Uber Eats. Airbnb even create their own travel magazines to keep developing their offer.
It’s the new ideas and an unrelenting desire to keep up with what the customer wants that have kept these companies at the top of their game. They never rest on their laurels. They always put customer needs at the heart of what they do. And they act fast when the time is right – and with creative energy to really make a difference.
What’s the future of on-demand going to look like?
In the future, our cities will have even more on-demand driving and even more extensive use of sharing apps. Smart businesses will plan new delivery methods that can facilitate a more connected, on-demand future. Combined with electric vehicles and autonomous driving, we’re already seeing major effects.
Thinking creatively about on-demand in your business
As every CEO knows, demand is everything. The most creative businesses think customer-first and give people what they want. Make it as easy as possible for customers to complete their task, with intuitive user experiences and intelligent content.
3. Creative abrasion is king
A collaborative approach to hiring
New ideas come about with new perspectives, so smart businesses hire alternative skillsets to throw into the mix. Research and Development departments in particular can benefit from unlikely combinations.
The origin of the adage ‘two heads are better than one’ can be traced back to biblical times. But the idea of collaboration has never been more relevant than it is today.
Matt Ridley’s classic Ted Talk ‘When Ideas Have Sex’ explains that all of human history is the ‘mating of ideas to make new ideas’, and that we as humans are at our smartest when we work together.
Our businesses can benefit no end from the expertise of others. Jerry Hirshberg, founder and president of Nissan Design International coined the phrase ‘creative abrasion’. Not everyone is going to agree all the time, and often that conflict is a good thing. Creative abrasion is rubbing conflicting ideas together to create a new and original spark.
Hiring new diverse skillsets is one way to make the most of the power of collaboration. Another is partnering with a similarly-minded business to deliver new ideas and innovations. Just look at the innovative Red Bull and Go Pro partnership, which brought the ‘Stratos’ space jump to the world. United behind an out-of-this-world vision, together the two businesses created one of the greatest marketing stunts ever seen.
Collaboration is something a business must whole-heartedly commit to. From the world of energy, E.ON agile nurtures new ideas from start-ups, inventors, and students. The collaboration of energy experience and new ideas has led to the development of new technologies like Ectogrid. Ectogrid connects buildings with different energy needs and uses them to help one another, to increase efficiency and decrease carbon emissions. This creative approach to energy consumption is shaping the way that businesses and cities can work together to find new solutions and impact the planet.
Thinking creatively about collaboration in your business
Playing your cards close to your chest can be the enemy of collaboration. In a more transparent world, it pays to put yourself out there. Try raising your industry profile by hosting and attending workshops and seminars to explain your offering. Network with interested third parties to make valuable connections.