Enablers and Barriers to Originality: A quick guide

Is there such a thing as an original idea? Let’s be honest, everything has already been done before. Right? Well, not exactly.

If that were true, it would mean that as human beings we have reached our full potential and can’t achieve anything further. Most people use creativity and originality interchangeably when in reality, both are intertwined — you need to be original to be creative, and vice versa.

At Banfield, we’re still strong believers in the power of originality and all it can accomplish. So we decided to give you a few tips on how to keep things fresh.

Top 3 enablers

1. Knowing yourself
The key to originality is self-awareness. Through a mix of emotional intelligence, perceptiveness and critical thinking, you can better determine your strengths, weaknesses and motivations as an organisation. A self-aware business makes self-aware employees and self-aware employees make a self-aware business — it’s a virtuous circle. Not only does this increase productivity, it increases creativity.

2. Embracing change
Change is scary, but to stand out you need to try new things. Take Netflix for example. Their original content is paying off big time with 7.05 million subscribers. Since the company started producing original content in 2013, with House of Cards, its increasing popularity has set off an “arms race” with traditional cable media companies whom are trying to combat declining viewership.

3. Collaboration
Collaboration is a long-term investment. It comes in many forms and has a wide variety of benefits. The return might not be obvious immediately, but when minds connect and collaborate, a spark is generated. It’s the birth of something incredible. By embracing the various personalities in the organisation, you encourage the creation of a differentiator, a unique brand personality. As an organisation, being original isn’t taking the path less traveled — it’s creating your own.

Top 3 barriers

1. Blindly following trends
Why follow when you can lead? We know that trends define the future, so by creating a trend, you’re basically defining your own future. Following a trend is just jumping on the bandwagon and reproducing someone else’s popularized original idea. When everyone is looking in one direction, you should be looking in the other. That’s how you’ll discover something new.

2. Over planning
We’re conditioned, through school and work, to avoid procrastination. But let’s face it: overplanning can kill creativity. With too many constraints, we are forced to remain “inside the box”. By planning just enough to give you a sense of direction — because you should never brainstorm with a “blank slate” — but not so much as to leave no wiggle room for inspiration, you end up with a recipe for highly original and effective work.

3. Fear
At some point or another, we’ve all experienced fear — whether it’s the fear of judgement, the fear of failure or even the fear of looking at a list of fears. It’s this fear that paralyses us and stops us from taking risks; risks that can have incredible upsides.

So how can originality benefit you?
To survive in today’s competitive environment, an organisation must stand out from the crowd. And with all the noise out there, it isn’t an easy task. That’s why keeping things fresh is essential to success. Originality gives you a unique advantage and delivers major benefits by capturing the consumer’s attention and making you more memorable.

Need help finding a refreshing approach? Give us a shout!

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