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  • Driving the Business Forward with Disciplined Creativity


    Josh Linkner, a speaker at the marcus evans CMO Summit 2012, on unleashing structured creativity in the workplace. 

    Interview with: Josh Linkner, New York Times Bestselling Author

    Organisations today can no longer rely on the models of the past in order to be successful, says John Linkner, the New York Times Best Selling Author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) must unleash the only remaining source of truly competitive advantage, creativity, but in a disciplined and structured way, he adds.

    A speaker at the upcoming marcus evans CMO Summit 2012 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, September 26-28, Linkner discusses the key concepts in his book, one of the top 30 business books in 2011.

    What does the title of your book “Disciplined Dreaming” mean?

    In today’s complex business world, many of the advantages organisations used to offer have become commoditised. Creativity is the only source of truly sustainable competitive advantage that cannot be outsourced.

    What I refer to as “Dreaming” is raw creativity, imagination and wonder, that allows people to come up with ideas. However, the “Disciplined” part is essential, as structure around creativity actually enables creativity.

    Some organisations do the “Dreaming” without the “Discipline”, where there are many ideas going around but nothing getting done. Large bureaucratic companies on the other hand may have too much “Discipline” but no “Dreaming”, which means they are not harnessing the creativity of their employees.

    “Disciplined Dreaming” is a combination of the two forces, the artistic creative side with the pragmatic organised side, allowing creativity to come to life and be put to practical use.  

    How can CMOs jump-start creativity?

    Marketers need to create a culture of creativity. If they tell people to be creative but criticise them for making mistakes, it will not work. They must create an environment where it is safe to be creative, with a structure around the act of creativity.

    What is your five step process: Ask, Prepare, Discover, Ignite and Launch?

    The steps provide a flexible framework for CMOs, whether they need structure for big projects or just a few techniques. When I interviewed 200 thought leaders around the world to de-code the creative process, I found curiosity to be the building block of creativity. The more CMOs awaken curiosity in people, the more creative they will become.

    What are the myths and barriers in marketing?
    One is that people are either born with creativity or they are not, whereas research shows that 85 per cent of creativity is learnt behaviour. This means that everyone has an enormous potential.

    Another myth is that job title equates to level of creativity, that musicians are more creative than statisticians. Today, no matter what you do, it is imperative that you are also creative. We can no longer follow manuals and hope to win. Winning today requires people at all levels of the organisation to unleash their creative potential.

    Any final thoughts?

    Many companies are fighting today’s war with yesterday’s equipment. It is the same as going to war with cannons when your opponent has laser guided missiles. They are relying on top-down decision-making and committees, when they need to empower people and innovate in real time.

    CMOs have to resist the temptation of following the pack and do the opposite. Success is about being original, remarkable and noteworthy.

    Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

    Tel: + 357 22 849 313

    About the CMO Summit 2012

    This unique forum will take place at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 26 - 28 September 2012. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed marketing professionals and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on innovation, fuelling creativity, supercharging the potential of social media and tapping into consumer insights.

    For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at

    marcus evans group – marketing/sales sector portal

    The Marketing Network – marcus evans Summits group delivers peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional trends and breakthrough innovations.




    Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

    About marcus evans Summits

    marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

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