Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

The Creativity of Entrepreneurs

Sunday, May 8th, 2016
Becoming an Artist

Becoming an Artist

Writing yesterday’s blog posting prompted me to reflect about the extraordinary work done by science journalists. In advance of writing the blog post, I read five different reports about the research performed at MIT to predict when rogue waves would strike. I came away impressed with the talent required to take highly technical concepts developed by engineers with PhD’s in fluid mechanics and make them accessible to a wider audience. I was particularly impressed with the work of MIT’s news department in producing a video about rogue waves.

They have a tough job to do – I learned this when, in connection with the work in communicating the messages in Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses, I participated in a week-end training workshop facilitated by the manager of the news center of a major research university. One of the modules addressed the challenges of writing technical content, and headlines, to engage the reader. He presented some compelling examples of his own:

  • “Linkin’ Lizards!” – to headline an article about a section of DNA found in lizards native to a tiny community on the Atlantic coast of South America that exactly matches the section of DNA found in lizards in a tiny community on the Atlantic coast of West Africa. The scientists’ discovery supports a theory as to exactly where what is now South America and Africa had been connected to form one contiguous land mass until the tectonic plates shifted and the continents are now separated by an ocean. The South American and African lizards are cousins. I loved this headline; it made what could be a dry topic about reptiles DNA engaging and fun.
  • “Meet the Flintsteins!” – to headline an article describing how archeologists working in Germany found fossils and other artifacts that change our understanding of how Neanderthal families lived and worked together. The American cartoon characters the Flintstones became the Germanic Flintsteins and the readers laughed and learned something new.

I learned more about the art of writing engaging headlines when my columns appeared in various publications of Dow Jones. Editors from publications such as the European or Asian editions of the Wall Street Journal, the online content for the small business section of the website or the weekly financial magazine Barron’s, can and do change headlines to engage their target audience in the content. So when it came time for me to develop a tagline for my own business, Prisere LLC, I reached out to a seasoned journalist to help communicate the brand. There followed a collaborative process with each of us refining and improving the ideas of the other, with successive iterations until we arrived at “Deep rooted. Farsighted™”

What I love most about entrepreneurship is the creative process, the act of bringing an idea or concept to fruition. In a typical corporate environment, people work in functional departments, specialized silos of expertise. Entrepreneurs get to think across disciplines; creative work occurs at the intersections of these disciplines. I am not a science journalist (but I was a science major in college) or a branding expert for that matter, but I get to explore those areas as I work to build my business. I hope that when this blog posts unusual content on business resilience, like research into rogue waves, it sparks some ideas in the readers. I love to hear about them.