Penance Business

Powering the great ongoing changes of our time is the rise of human creativity as the defining feature of economic life. Creativity has come to be valued—and systems have evolved to encourage and harness it—because it is increasingly recognized as the font from which new technologies, new industries, new wealth, and all other good economic things flow. As a result, our lives and society have begun to resonate with a creative ethos. An ethos is defined as the fundamental spirit or character of a culture, and it is our commitment to creativity in its varied dimensions that forms the underlying spirit of our age creativity is essential to the way we live and work today, and in many senses it always has been. As the economist Paul Romer has said, the biggest advances in standards of living—not to mention the biggest competitive advantages in the marketplace—have always come from “better recipes, not just more cooking.” Human creativity is not limited to technological innovation or new business models. It is multifaceted and multidimensional; it is not something that can be kept in a box and trotted out when one arrives at the office. Creativity involves distinct habits of mind and patterns of behavior that must be cultivated on both an individual basis and in the surrounding society. The creative ethos pervades everything from our workplace culture to our values and communities, re- shapes the way we see ourselves as economic and social actors and molds the core of our very identities. It reflects norms and values that both nurture creativity and reinforce its role. Furthermore, it requires a supportive environment—a broad array of social, cultural, and economic stimuli. Creativity is thus associated with the rise of new work environments, lifestyles, associations, and neighborhoods, which in turn are conducive to creative work. Such a broadly creative environment is critical for generating technological creativity and the commercial innovations and wealth that flow from it. Some customers want to go to stores. Some customers want to shop online. Some customers want to research online, then buy in stores. Some customers want to browse in stores, then buy online. Some want it now; others can wait. Some customers are near stores; others are scattered to the winds. Some products have concentrated demand; others have distributed demand. If you focus on distributing to just one customer group, you risk losing the others.

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