I’m optimistic about America’s ability to be creative. In my opinion, we breed creative people in this country differently than the rest of the world. We bring up our children with a lot of opportunity to be creative. This country spends billions of dollars in creative products for our kids every year. And it’s going into the creative side of forming minds.
Tell me what you are optimistic about.
DAVISON: I’m optimistic about America’s ability to be creative. In my opinion, we breed creative people in this country differently than the rest of the world. We bring up our children with a lot of opportunity to be creative. We use huge numbers of Crayons, Play Doh, and all sorts of craft items. This country spends billions of dollars in creative products for our kids every year. And it’s going into the creative side of forming minds. In other parts of the world, they haven’t figured that out yet. And what we’re doing and have done is become very good at allowing the free spirit to wander in the creative zone. Yes, there’s a ton of failure; people end up wandering around and never getting their expression across. Let’s face it, though, creativity is what put Google out there as well as our Constitution. It’s what puts a new copier out there. You name it; this country puts out innovations nonstop. And that’s coming from creative people. So if I’m looking at something that I’m very optimistic about while other people are worried about losing the manufacturing base, I’m more or less looking at the re-enforcing and continual building of the creative base. I really see it as the power base that America is going to continue to lead and expand over the next century.
And so, as a company, we’ll talk more about Davison Inc., but as a company, with an environment which helps creative people, helps product design, is Davison Inc. positioning itself as a creativity enabler for individuals?
DAVISON: Yes, that’s part of our mission statement — the flag outside of our building reads ‘Inspire Creators’. We’ve developed not only systems that are enabling more creativity in our staff, but as you’ll see in time, we’re actually developing media content to create new TV shows that will teach how the process of creating works. The TV shows are all revolving around the mission to inspire creators and creation through teaching and entertaining. We do it all day long, so this is easy for us, but we want to show how it’s done and in an entertaining way which we call “creatortainment.” Education is also a big piece of it. In order to enable people to become more creative, we developed a positive and uplifting mindset through environment stimulation among other creative stimuli. In many environments out there, you’ll find creative thought getting pushed down to some degree. Their ideas get squashed by corporate America, or their family… When you express yourself, you bear your soul for the whole world to say either “I like this”, or “that’s crazy, why would I want to do that, why would someone pay money for that?” Creators tend to be affected by left-brained non-creative people and their comments. So if you’re a strong left-brained noncreative person, you have a power. You have a power to crush the inspirations of creative people who haven’t come to realize that your non-creative opinion really means very little. We need to remember that how we treat creative people in general is the last frontier for major improvement in inspiring people.
There’s nothing but positive energy that comes out of our environment, InventionLand. It is an absolutely positive environment, nonstop, and why? Because, during creation, you’re going to fail a lot. It’s going to happen. It’s part of the process. So, inspire the creators at every turn because eventually some of those creations turn into major advances.
So let’s talk about InventionLand. Describe its function. Why does it matter, and to whom does it matter?
DAVISON: It matters because it makes life better at work. But it also fills a powerful business need for us in the way it functions. To explain this through an analogy — if you were in the plastic injection molding business, let’s say you had to make 200,000 plastic shovels to ship to a Wal-Mart before the summer season… and that you had to have that order there in three weeks time. And you have five machines and two go down, which means you’re not going to meet your deadline. Are you nervous? Would you do everything you could do to keep those machines in good health?
DAVISON: I have very challenging contractual obligations with many creative unknowns in them. I have creative people that actually are one of our most precious natural resources. Their brains, their creative energy, is what goes into solving challenges all day long. It’s creative people solving these sets of challenges. They don’t turn it on and off like a switch. It’s not like an accountant that comes in at eight and clicks it off when they leave at five. Creative people are constantly trying to use their conscious and subconscious minds to solve challenges. So I do everything I can to keep them in good mental health. I’ve built InventionLand to make life better for them. Here is a challenge for you: How do you break the design equivalent of writer’s block? How do you break creative block? Well, we had this theory that if we built a fantastical kind of world to work in, that was just like something out of a fantasy, that would allow people to think that if this is possible, anything’s possible. And who in their “left” mind is going to create what we’ve created here? Non-creative business people invest in cubes not environments. They don’t get it. And so the thinking here is that I have to constantly fulfill obligations in this creative field. This is what I have put together in order to shake the people when they come in so that they can leave the rest of the non-creative world behind. As soon as that door opens, you’re in a world that’s totally outside the realm of reality. You know, some people were saying it looks like Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory blended together with Disneyland. In the end, InventionLand and our culture let us meet our clients’ creative expectations and our contractual timetable because we stay inspired longer in this world we have created.