The Age of Creativity in Action

Shadan Malik is an Age of Creativity entrepreneur. His company, iDashboards , provides exactly the type of value people seek today – aesthetics and insight as opposed to raw data. Shadan started out as a game developer, and also has a deep engineering background. He realized the businesses trend around a concept called Balanced Scorecards, which is basically a method to track business performance through the use of Key Performance Indicators.

His “a-ha” moment was connecting the bland world of Balanced Scorecards with the engaging world of interactive Flash games. The iDashboards software is a tool for companies that makes their raw data come to life. It provides a beautiful, interactive, fun way to view and gain insight from boring raw data. The software makes data come alive as a cool, digital dashboard with colorful views and interactive gauges allowing a business leader to understand what’s going on in real-time, the same way a pilot views her own dashboard to make decisions on flying her plane.

Shadan is an example of the Age of Creativity on many levels. First of all, he used creativity and art as the premise for his business. He combined two previous experiences (engineering and game design) into a fresh, new concept. Second, iDashboards isn’t from Oracle or SAP or IBM. Since there are low barriers to entry, entrepreneurs like Shadan can launch businesses with very little investment and without being the deeply entrenched incumbent. He created a brand new competitive advantage and quickly attracted customers on the value of his idea, not his stock price. And since his costs are low and his business model is unique, it is very difficult for the big boys to compete without radically changing (and cannibalizing) their own model.

In less than three years of operation, iDashboards is a multimillion dollar success servicing hundreds of clients worldwide. They’ve created high-paying, creative-class jobs as well as an empowered culture and fun place to work. The Shadan Malik’s of the world are here, and represent the future. Your choice is to embrace this new line of thinking, or risk the toll these brilliant new idea-makers will take on your business and your career.

In the same way that a new set of rules emerged in the transition points of previous eras, the Age of Creativity contains a new set of competitive advantages. To win in the Age of Creativity, you’ll need:

• Original thought as opposed to following a rule book
• Imagination and curiosity
• To constantly challenge the status quo
• Creativity at all levels of your organization
• The ability to deal with ambiguity
• Speed, which trumps perfection
• To consider aesthetics and design, which matter more than ever
• Creative problem-solving techniques
• Empowered teams that have a system to manage and nurture their creativity capacity

The Age of Creativity is upon us, and once again – we’ll need to either adapt or suffer the consequences. Imagination, original thought, and creativity are now the raw materials of our generation. How we grow and manage these resources will determine our success or failure.