It’s not only the agency world that has clients – if you’re in a marketing communications function within a company, you have internal clients, and that’s a good mentality to have when it comes to producing great work.

A big part of doing great work is making meaningful connections. Connecting with your clients, whether internal or external, to make certain you’re asking the right questions and solving the right problem/challenge.

Great creative work is always rooted in great strategy, which begins with solving the right problem/challenge. The classic example being the railroad industry approaching strategy from a perspective of being in the railroad business, not grasping that they were in fact really in the transportation business.

People often ask if creativity and innovation are skill sets that can be taught and learned, or are people born creative or not. It can be taught and learned, and a significant factor in being more creative and innovative is the ability to be open to possibilities, and the ability to make connections.

The “sidewinder” missile system was developed when a scientist walking through a desert area saw a “sidewinder” snake, Crotalus cerastes, which senses its prey based on heat. The ability to connect the sensing physiology of the snake and apply it to a delivery mechanism of a missile led to a new, creative innovation.

We become more creative when we can get beyond the obvious – beyond the obvious utility of things and see the different connections that are possible.

Research shows us that the most creative and innovative people have diverse networks of friends and colleagues – they connect with a wide variety of people and that enhances their ability to be creative and more innovative. The networks that students develop at St. Thomas helps them expand their life experiences and facilitates them being more creative and innovative individuals.

Glenn Karwoski is senior vice president and managing director of Karwoski & Courage in addition he has been an adjunct instructor at the graduate and undergraduate level at St. Thomas for 17 years, teaching courses in creative process/innovation and communications.