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August 14, 2013

Benelux: The Path to Creative Thinking, Part 1


Cyriel Kortleven
Cyriel Kortleven

To succeed in the event business – especially in this day and age – you have to stay ahead of the curve. Think on your feet. Adapt to new situations. Keep learning new things on a daily basis. It’s all absolutely necessary if you want to offer your clients a better, more efficient product than your competitors do. Creativity is crucial in this process. The ability to change your thinking patterns and come up with innovative solutions to a problem is a business-saving quality. Creativity and innovation are the main subjects of sought-after international speaker Cyriel Kortleven. After his interesting and interactive presentation during the last Site EMEA Forum, BBT Online invited him for a talk to further elaborate the matter. This is what we found out.

The Curse of Knowledge

‘Being creative has a lot to do with breaking out of old, fixed patterns. Our entire personal and professional life is an accumulation of countless of these little patterns. They keep us going. We repeat them because they proved successful in the past. But what if one of them suddenly stops working? It’s very difficult to let these mental safety lines go and start acting differently. Creative thinking helps you deal with this. The first step in the process is making people aware of their patterns, which is not an easy thing to do. A fish, for example, can’t understand the concept of water until it’s pulled on land. It has simply never known anything else.’ 

‘In the event business, many suffer from what I like to call “The Curse of Knowledge”. The more experience we gain, the more we tend to “know how things are done”. We organize our events in a certain way because they worked fine the previous time. You know the clichés: an event should be organized in a fixed location, you invite speakers, people listen to them and afterwards you organize some kind of networking moment before letting them go home. Why should it be like this? Because it feels familiar? What if we don’t invite speakers? What if the attendants decide what’s on the agenda? Would it be so much worse? Or would it be better and more surprising?’ 

‘Being creative is looking past these fixed assumptions and start playing with them, testing them out. Does this mean you have to turn everything upside down? Of course not. Little changes can make a world of difference. Nowadays, more than 90 percent of event managers are still playing safe, but change is slowly dripping in. Times of crisis are often times of change as well.’

Check in tomorrow for Part II in the series.

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About the Author: BBT Online





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