Sir Jackie Stewart, racing legend, speaks at Spikes Asia on creativity being the foundation of all success.
How effective is the power of creativity to generate change?
Without creativity, there is no change. The key to success in any form, is to be ahead of the game and to be ahead of the game you’ve got to be more creative than your competitors. You’ve got to find new ways of doing business, and that usually requires a whole different line of thinking..when it stimulates people because when the same old song is being played all the time, people get bored. There’s gotta be new sound, there’s gotta be new words, there’s gotta be a new movement and when that change comes, everybody’s amazed by it and it has a huge success until the next step and the next generation of it. So, it’s gotta keep moving. You can’t be creative once. It’s gotta be a process and the more you realize that creativity is an important element, the more you’re having to think out of the box.You know, racing cars are no different. Somebody comes up with a new gizmo and certainly that new gizmo is breaking new ground and they are faster. Everybody’s gotta find a better way of doing it. So creativity is the foundation of all success.
What advice would you give aspiring creatives?
I would say attention to detail is one of the things. You know, you can’t be creative and not get the detail done. Some people can be creative but they haven’t finished one thing before their creativity takes over and they step up to the next thing, when they haven’t finished the job. So the biggest risk of very creative people is that they don’t close the loop. My life has been built on closing loops. I don’t like open loops. So you gotta finish the job, create the success. If you have just a great idea and before you’ve completed the project you’re onto something else, that particular component is left behind and it’s only half finished and only half successful. You don’t get any bonuses for that. You’ve gotta complete the job. You’ve gotta make it happen. If you don’t make it happen, however creative you may be, you would be just……it’s that creative again! So the really creative people do finish the job. Somebody like Steven Spielberg, you know, has a great idea to do a movie. If the movie isn’t conducted correctly and properly executed, that great creative story is lost. So, you gotta close the deal. Don’t play with open loops all your life.
What creative disruption are you most proud of?
Changing safety. I mean motor racing is dangerous, it says that on the back of the admission ticket. It is dangerous, but why is it fatally dangerous, why should it take the life of so many people? Because the safety precautions weren’t catered, because the fire fighters didn’t have the right extinguishers, because the barriers were of the wrong height, because the road surface broke up. There was a whole lot of reasons why it was dangerous and it shouldn’t have been dangerous. So we changed that and now we’ve got a record that’s second to none. Better than any multi-national corporation in the world. Better than anything I can think of. Formula One Grand Prix racing today is safer because the attention to detail has been executed, they haven’t left without finishing the job…and we’ve been, as we sit here, 19 years, 4 months and 14 days, since we lost the life of a great racing driver, Ayrton Senna. If the safety precautions were in place, when Ayrton had his accident in Italy, 19 years ago, he would still be alive today.