What if...We're Fearless?

  • Categories:

    Inspiration

  • Date:

    September 14, 2014

What if...We're Fearless?



Inspiration

One question we’re always asking at Wray Ward is, “What if?” To us, it sums up the curiosity that’s essential to all we do, opening the way to exploration, creativity and innovation. Without it, companies fade, brands go stale, and routine replaces possibility. Two little words seem so simple, but perhaps no two words are actually more powerful – or, for me at the moment, more personal.

Starting today, I’ll be asking “What if?” in my new adventure as Innovator in Residence at Charlotte’s McColl Center for Art + Innovation. In this six-week intensive stint, I’ll be thinking and dreaming, along with engaging with amazing artists, creative leaders and members of the business community to ignite conversation and build awareness around the crucial role creativity and innovation play in attracting and retaining the best talent and increasing the vitality, quality of life and economic prosperity of our city and region. This work began as a special project called Charlotte Creates, a joint venture of the McColl Center, the Charlotte Chamber and ASC (Arts & Science Council), and I hope to connect our creative community, engage leaders and inspire a movement that will help us tell a powerful story about our community and its innovative spirit.

The fact is, our region is increasingly valuing and cultivating creativity and recognizing its importance to our future success. By every measure and estimate, creativity and innovation are essential to developing a competitive advantage and to driving economic growth and expansion for all businesses, including both start-ups and established enterprises. Some go so far as to say that creative thinking is now considered to be the world’s most valued commodity. According to an IBM survey of 1,500 chief executives, “creativity” has been identified as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future. That's creativity – not operational effectiveness, influence, or even dedication.

After 21 years of helping our agency’s clients succeed through creative marketing communications, I could not be more passionate about the critical role of creativity in building brands and businesses. More broadly, I know that the creative spirit lies at the heart of a great community. To say the least, I’m incredibly excited about having the chance to focus full time on this issue that’s so personal to me and essential to our future. At the same time, I’m challenged by another saying we have at Wray Ward: “Be fearless.” As the McColl Center’s first Innovator in Residence and out of my comfort zone where I’ve spent the last two decades, I don’t know what the next six weeks will bring. But for myself, Wray Ward, the McColl Center and our community’s creative future, I do know that’s just the way it should be.