Creative Content Management and the Foundation of Apple

By Greg McAvoy-Jensen04/04/2011 07:25 pm

Greg McAvoy-Jensen with Mt. Reba in the background

Steve Wozniak, co-founder (with Steve Jobs) of Apple Computer, spoke to a local gathering of technology leaders a few days ago. He's an engineer's engineer, and proud of it. But what impressed me most about him was his drive for excellence in creativity.

Building things, making new things--this is what makes Steve tick. But it's not assembly line work he cherishes--it's the inventive process. Perhaps his most valuable asset is that he's an idea person. To keep new ideas flowing, he avoided taking positions which would be more administrative than creative, and kept a leery eye on bureaucratic process meant to add efficiency to engineering departments but which had the effect of dousing the creative fire.

Creativity as Differentiator

For Apple, having a great idea and delivering it well has meant huge success. And for those of us who job is to leverage the Internet for more effective communication, generating innovative ideas and implementing them well is equally essential. In an age when knowledge is available via an Internet search and everyone can buy the same software, the playing field is much more level than in prior times. What differentiates one organization from another is which comes up with and executes well the best ideas. So serious business success hinges on creativity.

Those responsible for web content management need to be creative individuals. Certainly, they need to know the basics of content management and the systems and integrations commonly used today. But since anything can integrate with anything else today, the big challenge is to be creative in using content and information systems to provide valuable new resources for customers.

Creative Discipline

Great ideas aren't always hard to come by, but it takes three disciplines to build a culture of creativity.

  • Read about content management/web marketing, and nose into some topics which are tangentially related. Follow your fascination.
  • Sit down with people outside your organization whose insight you admire. Do this face to face, at conferences, over lunch or coffee, etc. Discuss your fields freely.
  • Leave your normal work building once in awhile for a few hours at a different location--even if it's on a park bench or in a cafe. But don't use home or any of your normal haunts. Be in a different place, do a little reading, and start brainstorming freely ideas related to your field.

Thinking together in brainstorming sessions is great, but they can get much further if those involved read other people's ideas, discuss relevant topics with a diverse group of people, and spend some time thinking creatively on their own. Then your team will be in a much better position to innovate.

Wasting Creativity is a Huge Risk

The Web is young and there are many stones yet unturned. New models like cloud computing, mobile delivery of websites, and mobile apps are so new that companies serious about their creative culture have vast and thrilling possibilities before them. Have the courage to inspire your team to think creatively, and insist that they build time for the three disciplines above into their work routines. It doesn't take a large quantity of time to get the mind's wheels turning, and there's no telling what you will think of next!


Helping web content managers extend their reach and be ready for tomorrow. The Granite Horizon blog by executive director Greg McAvoy-Jensen and guests.

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