Appearances are (creatively) deceptive (case study 9)

-Hi Steve (California Sales Manager) whats up? You look quite baffled.

-I just got sacked. Just came out of John´s (CEO) office.

-Oh no, what on earth are you going to do?

– Well, pretty simple. Just gain my way back to a better job. I have been working on the past 8 weeks on my strengths and have put together a presentation with appraisals of some of my clients. I’m certainly not performing very well lately as regional sales manager but I do believe I have extremely good capabilities for product design. I have suggested to try working there for 65% my current salary on the first 2 years. I’ve also suggested to work for free for 6 months and if they let me stay I would be getting 110% my current salary.

-Are you drunk? It´s only 1100 am….

-Hell, no Brian! It’s my job at stake. I’ve spent 18 years in this company.

-There’s no way John is buying on any of that.

-Oh he already did. I might look a little off because he thought on the spot that we could do likewise with other people from the sales team.

-Holly Molly! I don’t know anything on product design!


Several creativity principles are applied in this business situation:

  1. When Steve is told he is going to “be let go”, he applies to this challenge the “UniversalityCreatity Principle. That is to say, a worker can perform several jobs in one same company just as one bolt can be used in a machine to perform different functions (please excuse the “coldness” of the comparison, just made for ilustrative purposes).
  2. Once he finds that he can suggest to his firing situation another position in the company, Steve has to come up with a creative solution to compete against the already existing workers in the Design Department. How to do it? Firstly he applies the creativity principle of “Feedback” to bring value to the solution. How can he add creative value to the new post on the Design Department?. Certainly, after having worked on the Sales Department, he has had plenty of experience of what “unsaid things” are really valued by customers. That feature that is never included in product functionality or the comments on “real pains” currently being ignored because of their cost or lack of apparent strategic focus for the company.
  3. Steve includes a pretty good incentive for moving to the Design Departament: a 35% salary reduction for the first 2 years. The “Parameter change” creativity principle is here applied.
  4. Finally Steve puts forward a success factor on him obtaining the new job: if he performs, he retains it with 110% salary. Here he is applying the “Assimetry” creativity principle. It is probably more favourable for the company to recycle a sales executive for a minor salary increase (5% not 10%, since he is working 6 months for free).
  5. As a final lesson it is also worth mentioning how the non-creative person, Brian, is sometimes the follower or the laggard. Creativity from other people finally catches on him.

CC_SA Created by Ernesto Lluch Moreno. Photo: Damk.

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