5 members of 2015’s ‘Most Creative People in Business’ list who will inspire you to reach your creative potential

Many would argue that creativity emerges from strange places and there is no universal formula for improving innovative thinking. However, there are ways you can aid the creative process and improve your chances of reaching your creative potential. Every year, the Fast Company release their list of the ‘Most Creative People in Business’ and you can often learn a lot just by glossing through the list and reading some of the inspiring messages and stories. Here are five members of this year’s list whose inspiring stories and insightful advice should help you apply new approaches when it comes to tackling creative tasks.

Dao Nguyen

Popular online media company Buzzfeed owes a lot of its most recent success to Dao Nguyen, an innovative data analyst who employed a pioneering new approach to the site’s content and distribution strategy last year. Nguyen’s data driven approach focused on improving referral traffic through email sharing and enhancing the site’s social media platforms. By analyzing onsite and offsite traffic statistics, Nguyen was able to use data to transform the company’s traditional distribution methods and, as a result, increased visitor volume to over 150 million a month. Nguyen’s ability to listen to data and make effective and creative solutions has had a huge effect on the company’s growth and Buzzfeed is now valued at an estimated $850 million. These results, alongside her gregarious personality and a desire to ‘be part of the internet revolution’, has seen her career sky-rocket as she is now the company’s first publisher.

Ngeuyen has said that a lot of her creativity has been spurred by her mother becoming a Buddhist nun at 75. She argues that her mother’s Buddhist beliefs are “based on the ideas of impermanence” and “reinventing yourself” and that these beliefs are “valuable things to keep in mind in life.”

Dana Mauriello

Dana is the creative force behind ‘Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship’, a groundbreaking new charity programme which aims to equip underprivileged students with the digital skills they need to succeed in business. Her programme allows students to set up their own stores on the Etsy marketplace and get an opportunity to learn about marketing and accounting in the process. Over 450 people have joined since the classes launched back in 2013 and the project is now expanding on a national scale.

Mauriello is an optimistic and tenacious individual who starts every morning by thinking about what she is ‘most excited about in the day ahead’. She consistently updates notes of her ideas and inspirations: ‘I am obsessive with finding, cataloging, and doing new activities. A dancefloor meditation? A talk on game design? A tattoo convention? Done, done, and done. I am on an endless quest to learn about and personally experience as many diverse subcultures as possible’. Israeli architect and designer of the iPad, Ron Arad, is also a strong believer in embracing new hobbies and experiences and has always stressed that creative professionals should ‘always be keen to acquire new skills and work with new people’ when developing new ideas.

Mauriello also stresses that ‘anything fitness related’ will always aid the creative process as she argues that working out and being competitive often allows her to become ‘more refreshed, clear minded, and empowered’.

Amy Poehler.

Actor, producer and comedian Amy Poehler utilises her success to promote upcoming talent and to offer aspiring comedians a platform. It’s always been a struggle for females emerging on the comedy circuit, so she is particularly determined to give females a voice and an outlet to display their creative talents.

Her work ranges from hit shows on Comedy Central and NBC such as Saturday Night Live and Parks & Recreation; voiceovers for Pixar Studios; starring in the movie Sisters; writing her bestselling book ‘Yes Please’ and achieving an Emmy nomination.

More recently, Poehler has been instrumental in helping emerging comedians find their feet in the industry and has helped propel a number of fledgling YouTube shows into cult TV hits on Comedy Central.

Poehler feels that her creative output stems from “flexibility” as she argues that many of her peers feel uncomfortable when it comes to “not knowing what’s going to happen next’. She therefore argues that ‘you have to listen and stay in the moment. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.’

Gregg Hoffman

As Vice President of Global Brand Creative and Experience at Nike, Hoffman spearheaded two of Nike’s most successful campaigns during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 NBA All-Star Game in New York. The animated video ‘The Last Game’, which has received over 85 million views on YouTube is significant, since Nike wasn’t even a main sponsor during the events, but still managed to take the spotlight.

Hoffman states that he is a “big believer in the operational side and how it can empower creativity.’ His methodology is to maintain extreme focus and meticulous organisation, but he also places emphasis on teamwork: ‘I want people to be extremely confident and supportive. That’s how you make connections you need to make in the creative process.’

Maria Claudia Lacouture

Maria is President of ‘ProColombia,’ a government agency which has set out to rebrand an entire nation and put Columbia on the tech map. Previously assumed to be a violent drugs haven, Colombia is now considered to be a major player in the tech industry and a popular travel destination amongst tourists. This has largely been down to Lacouture’s pioneering rebranding project which aims to encourage the country’s growth in the tech sector and nurture homegrown tech professionals.

Lacouture has always been determined “not to allow stress to prevail” and says that her creativity has always been aided by ability to surround herself with “nice people, with a good sense of humor.” She takes inspiration from many things but reveals President Juan Manuel Santos’ social media accounts have always been her go to source.

Contributed by Jason Smith, Blog Editor at Speakers Corner