Creativity in the age of corona.
We are going through difficult times. Shops are closing, restaurants are going bankrupt. There is no fun anywhere. Who cares about a new candle holder when there is no toilet paper or canned food at the grocery store? But what will happen to our creativity after corona? We have had difficulties before and we can all also list a number of creative people who have peaked during sickness and poverty. For instance, Toulouse Latrec, Chekhov and many, many more. You can find that recession is a time when new businesses arise. Things like MTV, WeWork or even Häagen-Dasz were born during times of recession.
Recession can of course be stressful and it does actually affect your body. The uncertainty of your financial situation is waking up your stress hormones. Your body wants to flee. But use this energy as a fuse or a lightning bolt. When researching for this piece most successful cases have talked about being a quick mover. Look out for opportunities and take a chance. Don’t overthink the past, focus on new ways of communicating or new patterns end-users start using. Clean out your closet, do your bookkeeping and iron a shirt (or t-shirt) to be ready when things change. On social media I find design studios helping each other with comments like “the key to keeping a business working is to act fast”.
After the last recession in 2008, ad agency Chick Smith Trott said “You’ve got to define creativity and style. The recession won’t be good for stylists as they won’t have as much money to spend, but it will be good for people who can genuinely think. If no-one has any money, the differential is brains.”
Brains or other qualities like empathy, creativity or kindness, are essential in a world when everything is changing. You can’t buy your way out of a launch or a solution. You need to work with other emotions. No one has money. We will compete in using the resources we have.
Recession. An extremely scary word. But don’t forget that this is an opportunity for change. A professor at US based George Mason University have statistics saying that in good times, people stick with the status quo, but when things slow down, circumstances like unemployment will “activate” an entrepreneurial drive.
Coming to a conclusion. We live in a very scary world right now. Lots of companies will go under but there will be new creativity. Ideas like Netflix or even Facebook were born during recessions. Be ready, clean your closet and start doing new things. Be fast. But don’t forget to be kind and creative.