Over the years I have always been a strong proponent of the old saying that 'a chain is only as strong as its weakest link'. I have used this extensively in teaching marketing, in particular for the explaining the 4Ps, where you can have three of the elements absolutely perfect, but if the fourth is wrong [weak] the product will fail.
Some folk I have worked with have seen this as me being negative ... 'oh, Alan, you're always looking for something to go wrong. Others - thankfully, those who paid my wages - have used me as a kind of sounding board for new ideas, particularly at a strategic level.
More recently, I have morphed this into what I called; 'weak link analysis'', where organizations give me a proposed digital strategy and I try to find fault with it.
One of the organizations I work with is a global brand that is, how shall I put this ... fond of its jargon and buzz words. And they decided that I didn't do weak link analysis [sounds a bit old fashioned] I perform creative negativity which sounds much more trendy.
Creative negativity is, apparently, where I highlight an aspect - or aspects - of their plan that may cause the strategy to fail or not function as well as they hoped.
This, effectively, presents them with a problem that requires someone to be creative to fix.
Hence; creative negativity. Who'd have thought?
A quick check for the term on Google brings up an author who used it to describe covert revolutionaries in four female practitioners - in the early Modern and Victorian periods - of a strategy she calls creative negativity. Hmmm, that doesn't sound like me.
However, I'm a fan of not only phrases my mum used in my youth [e.g. 'a chain ... '] but Chinese proverbs that serve the same purpose - and that Google search also unearthed:
'A stone is not polished without friction, nor a person perfected without adversity'
Hmmm, closer than 'covert revolutionaries', but still no cigar. Give me a while and I'll see if I can come up with a one-sentence definition for creative negativity in a business context :-)
How to cite this page:
Charlesworth, A. (2018). Creative negativity in a business context. Retrieved [insert date] from AlanCharlesworth.com:
This page was first published in July 2018 ... but it may have been updated or amended since then.