Finding your Unique, Creative Edge

By Layla Romero

At the 2013 VISION Conference, Lyn Heward, the dynamic Creative Director of Cirque du Soleil, presented an enthralling look into a world-class organization that thrives on its deep integration of creativity.

From the moment she stepped onto the stage, with her dancer-like gait and her expressive voice, you could sense that Lyn passionately lived the culture of her organization. With visceral detail, she spoke of the ideas and influences that had contributed to Cirque’s remarkable growth, with one major factor being the unwavering pursuit of creative inspiration.

Lyn walked us through what she called the “seven doors of creativity”, which was essentially a map for guiding self-exploration and courageous risk-taking. She spoke of how Cirque conducts a year-round search for talent as they remain on permanent lookout for world-class and world-wide talent. Pushing boundaries and exploring new facets of talent were common themes throughout her presentation, as she recalled instances where performers were challenged to try  or contribute a talent that had not been cultivated beforehand. As we came to understand this sincere desire for creative input, we began to understand how a brand’s profile can be strengthened through resourcefulness and consistent development. Cirque clearly values its performers’ input and invites them to showcase their talents to the rest of the troupe, which is in itself rewarding as it allows the participants to be inspired, as well as inspiring.

Slide from Lyn Heward's Presentation

Slide from Lyn Heward’s Presentation

Despite Cirque’s unique segment of the market, the recommendations made by Lyn were still relevant to the audience members who came from more traditional models of business and services. She spoke to the strength that can be developed by a brand that incorporates the influence of current events, trends and thoughts, as well as the views and methods of people who are able to execute their ideas in unexpected ways. These “creative catalysts” facilitated the development of a creative edge, which often resulted in out-of-the-box characteristics that clearly appealed to audiences all over the world.

As Lyn spoke of some of the real challenges that Cirque had overcome in its creative process – including a serious accident involving one of its fire-bearing performances – she reminded us of the importance of perseverance, and of the belief in ones core principles. By adhering to these things, she assured us that any organization could see growth. As stated empathetically on a number of occasions, “Don’t be afraid of getting burned by the fire”.

Snippets from attendees:

  • “I want to run off and be a gymnast now. That was so cool!”
  • “She made some really good points that I could see being applied to our company”
  • “I wish I was in an industry where that sort of creative innovation is applicable”

Layla Romero (@laylayuki) is a member of the BCAMA Marketline Committee. Aside from a variety of marketing gigs, her principal job has only been revealed to a few and is yet to be discovered by the general public. (Editor’s Note: Really – you’ll never guess!)

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