In 2010, IBM released the results of a study of the world’s top CEOs. They wanted to find out what the most pressing issues were for business leaders. And the results were pretty surprising. The number one skill they were looking for from their employees turned out to be creativity. Not time-keeping or salesmanship or efficiency. These big corporations wanted their workforce to be able to come up with ideas. 
That certainly surprised me.
To understand why this was their biggest concern, we need to take a step back and look at the natural life-cycle of a company.
The early days of most businesses are highly creative. Your energy goes into shaping your products, creating your brand, bringing in business, working out what makes you different from the competition and hundreds of other things. Everything you do here is about creating the very essence that makes your business special. It’s an exciting and magical time.
But once you’ve found that essence, your business goes into a new stage. Your focus shifts from creativity to systemisation. The business now needs to work out how to reproduce its offering as predictably as possible. It’s about getting the good stuff out of the founders’ heads and turning it into a business algorithm that can scale.
And then the last step is optimisation. Once you’ve got a system in place, the company’s focus switches to efficiency. If you can cut costs by doing things faster, using fewer people, at a larger scale and with better-negotiated contracts, you’ll naturally increase your profits. All the effort goes into small incremental gains. Changes within this finely-tuned system can screw everything up, so the corporate antibodies destroy anything new or different.
And this final optimising stage is where these big companies exist. Their focus is on efficient replication not on creative origination. Like oil

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