Friday, May 30, 2008

Crayola - elevating creativity to art

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~ Scott Adams”

I loved my visit to Crayola. The town is charming, residents friendly, the Crayola team beyond gracious, and the natural setting in the stunning Lehigh Valley. Somehow Crayola has absorbed all of this into its culture. I understand now why people stay for so long. 

My boss and I went out there to discuss innovation and the process Crayola has gone through – it has been a long and winding road. What struck me most poignantly is that about 5 years ago, Crayola was not an innovative company. They made crayons. And some washable markers and outdoor chalk. And they thought that way – with blinder on – and operated that way – in silos. 

Today, the story there is radically different. They are a company that had been on the right of peak on the trend curve and made the difficult and arduous journey to reinvent who they are and what they do. In three words, they are a company that “inspires limitless creativity.” To have a mission and reason for being that concise and powerful has such far reaching effects on product, on customers, on culture. 

At the crux of their reinvention was a commitment by their extraordinary CEO, Mark Scwab, and his ability to give team members permission to try new things, take risks, and then, even more incredible, permission to cut their losses on an idea that didn’t work in its current form. They have the support to try and fail, and because of that support, they have succeeded in not only limitless creativity, but limitless art.   


Jamie Croft said...

“inspires limitless creativity.”
That is a GREAT quote.
It will be interesting to see how they do with this new direction. Oh by the way, just came across your blog and I think it is great.

Thanks for sharing,
be well, Jamie Croft

Christa said...

Hi Jamie! Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your comment. Crayola is a great partner to the retail company I work for, and I am incredibly inspired by their culture and commitment to helping kids explore their creativity. They're amazing group of people.