OkGo is one of those bands that has always been on my iPod, but I’ve never gone online and watched their music videos… until recently. After playing their video “This Too Shall Pass,” I was left in a state of amazement. The video was unexpected, engaging, and most importantly, completely innovative. In fact, no matter which of their videos you watch, you won’t be disappointed by how they creatively present their music and demonstrate their personality. (And if you like dogs, make sure to check out their “White Knuckles” video as well).
Many industry experts have attributed the band’s accomplishments directly to their creative flair. OkGo has successfully embraced their own style, exhibited in the low-budget, single-shot, quirky videos they’ve created that are completely distinct from one another. As a result, they clearly differentiate themselves from any other band, and they have quickly generated a significant fan following. In addition, their videos have spread virally on websites like YouTube and have garnered numerous music awards.
The key takeaway from OkGo’s success is that creative approaches can truly help an individual, group, or business succeed and rise to the top. Apple is a perfect example of a business that, led by CEO Steve Jobs, continually advocated for creativity and ensured that it be applied to every aspect of his company – from the products themselves to their marketing. The outcome? Apple is now one of the largest companies in the world with stocks nearing four-hundred dollars per share.
Then what’s holding everyone back from fostering a more creative environment and culture? All too often, people decide to take the path most traveled. This is because it’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s familiar. No novel or foreign ideas are introduced. There is no risk (… so they think.) “Why reinvent the wheel,” they ask? While conventional solutions can help save time and achieve the desired result, they are extremely limiting in the fact that they do not allow room for adaptability or improvement – two things that are essential in the current economic climate in order to differentiate oneself and stay ahead of the competition.
So, take the leap. Start embracing the unfamiliar. Be open to new ideas. Creativity does not mean generating the next big idea, because that may overlap with existing ideas or adhere to current trends. Instead, it is about coming up with the next original idea – one that is uniquely yours and that will differentiate you from others. As cartoonist Hugh MacLeod puts it, “Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.”