Creativity in The Apprentice: Evaluating Creative Ideas
Over the last two weeks, I have been considering the role and nature of
creativity in The Apprentice:
Now it is time for the last installment:
once you have some ideas, how can you best evaluate them to give your team the
best chance of working with a good one?
Rule 1: The Show gives you a Focus Group for a Reason
Clearly, that reason is to provide entertainment for the viewers. This happens best when your team members:
- are rude to the focus group members
- fail to listen to them
- tell them they are wrong
- ignore what they say and do exactly the opposite
Rule 2: As Project Manager, you are in Charge, so just go with Your Favourite Idea
Your team selected you to take the blame when they fail. So you may as well give it your best shot and subvert their intent, by picking the best option. Of course, what your team did not realise when they picked you is that the transition to team leader magically gives you insights nobody else has, so ignore all advice – from candidates, focus groups, experts or common sense – and go with your favourite idea.
Rule 3: A Good Idea is Immune to Normal Financial Constraints
This is good news. It means you don’t have to waste time considering the costs, margins and potential volumes of the different options before making your decision. Just go for your favourite, and the cash will take care of itself. And, should you not achieve the better profit figures, don’t worry: Lord Sugar has a consistent record of awarding a win to the team with the best idea, despite appalling sales.
Rule 4: Too Many Opinions Cloud Judgement
This is especially true when those opinions are different to yours. It is best in these circumstances to terminate the conversation with the dissenters and discuss “why you are right” with the people who agree with you.
Rule 5: ‘U’ Turns are Dangerous. If in doubt Dig your Heels in
We all know that stopping and turning around wastes time. If you are heading in the wrong direction, your best strategy is therefore to make sure you get there first.
Rule 6: Customers are the Poorest Judge of What is Good for Them
Why would elders take offence at Hip Replacement as a lifestyle magazine? Don’t they get it that Apprentice Candidates know best? If you waste time worrying about how your potential customers will feel about your products, the only result will be to produce what they want. Did that work for Steve Jobs? No: he created things we didn’t know we needed – and you can too.
Rule 7: When it Gets to the Pitch, it’s not too Late
If your standard approach of patronising your audience of experienced professionals is really failing and they tell you they don’t like your product, take it on the chin and offer to change your product instantly and give them exactly what they want by dipping into the magic budget bucket.
Rule 8: You are an Apprentice Candidate
You don’t need rules… any rules. Just do it! If you need to lie to your colleagues, insult shop keepers, or argue with Nick Hewer when the camera has just caught the truth, that is your prerogative. Ask: “What would Nietzsche do?” The will to power is all.