How to Maintain Innovation and Creativity


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Ferran Adrià’s Rules for Long-Standing Creativity


Credited for the creation of beet foam and molecular gastronomy, Catalan chef Ferran Adrià’s name, in the culinary world, is synonymous with innovation. Adrià earned three Michelin stars for his work at El Bulli restaurant, just north of Barcelona. Even after its closure in 2012, the restaurant—which had a list of 3,000 people on the wait list at any given time—is still regarded as one of the world’s best.

Recently, Adrià was asked to give a lecture for the students at IESE Business School on whether business should meet art. “There is no rule of thumb for creativity,” says Adrià. “You can be creative in ant-breeding or in finding the flue vaccine.” But how do you sustain creativity for not just a few years but throughout your career. Here are 13 rules for maintaining efficiency in innovation:

Decide your level of creativity. Few people change the paradigm for their industry. Define what it is you want to do: Do you want to make an omelet or to make a new omelet?

Don’t take creativity seriously. A sense of humor is vital for not burning out.

Don’t seek success. Seek happiness. If you are happy just creating, success will follow.

To stay efficient, you have to be organized. Calendars are crucial.

Be sensitive. Insensitive people are unlikely to be creative.

Take breaks. Artists are so creative because they can take breaks anytime they want. If you don’t rest, you will repeat yourself. Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister and his whole team took a sabbatical every six years so they could reinvent themselves.

Pursue your passion. Passion is what makes you work 16 hours a day.When you’re on your own, if you want to be at the top, 8 hours aren’t enough.

Finish projects. Brainstorming gives you a lot of ideas, but you’d need 10 lives to complete them.

Give your team creative audits. Applying some pressure and checking on creative projects are crucial. All types of workers need pressure to be efficient.

Respect what has come before you. You cannot walk into a company and change everything. You can change some things—life involves changes—but respect for your predecessors is vital to being a good leader.

Believe in yourself and be strong. If you’re at the top, you cant just take off from your work. Moral and mental strength are necessary for maintaining the work-life balance.

Have fun with what you do. This is the most important thing in life. In order to do something for long hours every day, you need to enjoy it.

 “I want” is different than “I can.” If Mike and I have the same talent but he works 8 hours more a day, he will go twice as far.

Watch the entire lecture here.