After a successful career as an advertising agency creative director, I left that idea-intensive business to become "creative director for the
The Creative Director for the Rest of Us
Man-oh-man! Oh, Monahari!
Man-oh-man! Oh, Monahari!
I worked in advertising for 20 years before I became a creative thinking coach. I won many awards of which I am very proud.
However, the honor that made my parents most proud came in 1990 when I became the youngest person featured in the Wall Street Journal's long-running creative leaders campaign.
rest of us," to paraphrase the introduction of the Apple Macintosh as "the computer for the rest of us."
Having worked with some very smart people in corporate America, in companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, IBM, Gerber, Lotus, Keds, Polaroid, and Hewlett-Packard among many others, I noticed how paralyzed even the brightest people often were when it came to coming up with new ideas on demand. In the ad business I was used to maintaining an environment that helped my people generate hundreds of new ideas by next Thursday's deadline, but I saw the people in the corporate trenches too often struggle to find a few new ideas by next November. That's when I first got the notion to go into the business of helping corporate types open their minds. I've since found the methods in this book not only help stifled businesspeople but are effective thought stimulants for anyone looking for new ideas.
I'd made a career of studying what it takes to get people to come up with fresh, original ideas on demand. For 15 years I led a small ad agency in Providence, Rhode Island, to the pinnacle of this idea-rich business. In the 1980s I taught at the university level as well as for advertising professional organizations. In the 1990s I lectured on creative thinking for the two principal trade publications, Adweek and AdAge, as well as for the Wall Street Journal and over 50 local and regional professional business organizations in the United States and abroad. And I wrote on the topic of creativity for one of the leading publications in the field, Communication Arts.
In the early 1990s I made a career shift into an emerging field in which I foresaw a great need—creative coaching. I left my job as president and executive creative director of my ad agency, Leonard/Monahan, to start Before & After, Inc.™, a company dedicated to helping people in business grow creatively. In the ensuing years I have worked for an impressive list of companies, among them Ralston Purina, Compaq, 3M, McDonald's, Southwest Airlines, Viacom, and many others. My workshops have taken me from Hong Kong to Iceland and many points in between. One thing that has become very clear to me is that creativity, both the term and the concept, has come out of the corporate closet. My first business cards read "Creative thinking and problem solving," because I sensed a reluctance on the part of clients and prospects to embrace the term creativity. Today the cards read "creativity in business," because more and more leaders at more and more companies see the need for fresh thinking to keep pace in today's fast-changing, dynamic business climate. The concept of "creativity in business" may still be viewed as an oxymoron, but it's out in the open.
Today, creativity, as a codified process and conscious skill set, is nearly as high on the corporate agenda as "TotalQuality" was during that movement's emerging years.
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