There are 48 ways to be creative.  Here’s number 10: Build communities.

What’s creativity for?

One use is creative destruction.

To destroy and to clear away old and legacy models so as to allow you to create new mores and standards.  Sometimes it is impossible to create the new if the heritage of the past hangs heavily on your organisation or culture.

If this is your intention then building a community can enable you to get support from the crowd and is a good place to start.

For many millennia your community meant a local community in real life within a few miles from where you were born.  Most people knew the same people all their lives, for good or bad, and stayed in touch.  It was only really in the second half of the twentieth century that family units became smaller and more independent, and it became more of the norm to move away from friends and family and from your place of birth.  Urban landscapes changed so that you didn’t stay in contact constantly with your neighbours, and, especially in London, you might never meet them.  Modern life became weird.

With the internet came social media allowing communities to be reinvented.  Friends Reunited, MySpace, Second Life and of course Facebook allowed human beings to fulfil a deep rooted emotional need to connect.  A child of the millennium can stay in touch with everyone they were at school with all their lives (should they wish to that is of course).  As contact has grown so too has ghosting.

Social media also allowed people with passions to connect.  Until this flourishing in the early 21st century if you had a passion for collecting or crafting or a geeky interest in a niche topic you were pretty much on your own unless you found a club in real life to join.  If your passions were niche, the chances of this were minimal before Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram gave us communities of interest around anything you can think of from cookies and quilting to independent bookshops.

Of course, before social media there were ways to find out about your passions and magazines thrived from feeding them.  The strategist John Grant called them catalogues of passion, not simply paper and print.  They allowed people to connect with people they didn’t know in real life who shared their interests, and this was and is enriching on a personal and a creative level.

People with passions are curious about their topic (unceasingly).  People with passions connect despite other differences of age, class, gender, race, sexuality, even politics.  They connect across barriers.  And if you can create communities that are passionate about your business then it can step change your profitability.

People with passions can create, (and can destroy). If you can harness this, you can stepchange the success of your project, venture or brand.

Justine Roberts is the co-founder of Mumsnet, a social media platform that gave a voice to the silent.  If an idea catches hold there, it makes national news.  Her community famously gave UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown a tough time because he was unable to name his favourite biscuit.  The Mumsnet community can create success and failures.  As Roberts once said to me: “If they like your ideas then they will tell everyone, and if they don’t then they will tell everyone that too.”

The #metoo and @everydaysexism communities on Twitter have created new societal norms where silent millions have gained a voice and wielded power.

Tiktok, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest all deliver communities and connections.  If you’re facing a situation that needs change and creativity, reach out to or create a new community and harness the power of the people.

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