Enabling creativity in the port business
Concluding the interview series leading up to the upcoming Baltic Ports Conference 2017, we have a real treat for all of you. This year we would like to approach the development of the maritime transport industry from a slightly different angle and talk about the single, most important force behind every successful business – creativity.
Before delivering her speech about creativity in Trelleborg in less than a month’s time, Mia Rolf, the CEO of IDEON, the Science & Business Park that connects today with tomorrow, carved a moment out of her busy schedule to give you a taste of the main dish.
BPO: Before talking about creativity, one should probably ask – what is creativity? What does it mean to be creative?
Mia Rolf: For me creativity is thinking outside the box, questioning existing truths and connecting things in a new order to create something better. It does not necessarily have to be a product or a business idea, it can just as well be new processes or ways to describe the subject to the World.
BPO: No matter the industry, most employees usually have heard the phrase “be more creative” at least once from their employer. But can creativity be taught? Can it be trained?
Mia Rolf: To be able to become more creative, it has to be accepted in the organization and this acceptance can be trained. How do you respond to a crazy idea? There must be meetings or tools where you may drop an idea and the receiver cannot immediately say no, without testing or investigating the matter.
The more a person in the organization feels safe in posting ideas, the more and better ideas may come up. Creativity has to do with trust and allowance and also acceptance of failures or shortfalls. Words that are not followed by action to support them are not driving creativity.
Additionally I must say that diversity is key to creativity. Mixing different perspectives and competences is the fastest way to start creative thinking.
BPO: The maritime transport industry is usually considered to be pretty conservative. Could you observe any change in this regard occurring in recent years? What more can be done to free it from this image?
Mia Rolf: I am not involved in it enough to say so much, but from what I have seen, I feel that within logistics there are high efficiency activities. Perhaps awakening now is the awareness of the climate effect and creativity concerned with how to reduce negative impact is taking place.
New areas of creativity might be entertainment and user experience, where, perhaps, the industry got stuck for some time. With my background and in this position, I must say that I would welcome an exchange of challenges and solutions with science parks and innovative companies on a more regular basis. Make the port industry be the port of international business contacts to create a better future!
BPO: Thank you for your time!