Creative Planning

Category: Strategy

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Creative and planning sound like words that should not be in the same paragraph, certainly not in the same sentence. Most people cannot plan to be creative; and we rarely think we are being creative when we plan.


And yet, effective planning demands creativity. Ichak Adizes in the book Corporate Lifecycles defines planning as “deciding what to do today in light of what you expect tomorrow to be.” Still sound uncreative to you?


Perhaps if I break down this definition into three elements:

 - Creativity - involved in figuring out “what you expect tomorrow to be”

 - Planning  - “deciding what to do today”

 - Risk taking – doing something today while still being uncertain about tomorrow

 

Creativity – When you look into the future to guess what is going to happen tomorrow you are creating possible future scenarios. Yes, there is a certain amount of past experience and analysis that goes into the process. However, it also involves visualizing all the moving pieces and seeing their potential to react to each other. So by its very nature, looking into the future calls on your creative abilities.

 

Planning – Planning is simply taking the knowledge and foresight that you gathered in the creative stage and using it to figure out your best response to each of the likely scenarios you created. Planning becomes even more effective when you include your brand and your strategy. In a way, this is also a very creative process because you are taking several diverse pieces of information and using them to decide the best course of action.

 

Risk Taking – The act of planning necessarily involves an element of risk taking, assuming of course that you act on your plan. Then again, doing nothing involves its own level of risk. As the old saying goes “Fortune favors the bold.”

 

So, creative planning is not an oxymoron. It’s a process where you

 - Anticipate possible future events

 - Identify your best courses of action

 - And act on the appropriate plan based on your conclusions.


Creative planning is a necessary part of strategic thinking and key to the long-term success of your business. How can you leverage creative planning to behave more boldly and gain the favor of fortune?