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Ecclesiastes 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.

While God is the uncreated creator who can create things out of nothing, man is a created creator who can create new things out of the already existing ones. If ever there was a time we needed creativity and innovativeness in business, it is now. In our local business operating environment it is no longer business as usual. Things have changed. Things are tight.

We are experiencing an economic downturn. Strategic planning for many years to come is becoming difficult due to high market volatility, shrinking customer base and liquidity constraints. Business organisations are no longer focusing on their vision but on survival. They are not making profit. They are using retained earnings and returns from previous investments to keep the company floating above the waters of cash problems. A SWOT analysis would reveal more business threats and weaknesses than strengths and opportunities. However, though we find ourselves between a rock (going back to the Zim dollar) and a hard place (going on with the current liquidity crunch) we must not despair for God is with us. Whatever we say or do, we must be careful not to say, “Why were the old days better than these?” God says that it is foolish to ask such a question. There should be reasons why God would say that.

Firstly, to confess negative is to accept a defeatist attitude that makes us apathetic and lethargic. God would rather have us filled with faith, hope and trust in Him. Secondly, to compare times is trying to avoid reality. God does not want us to run away from crises but to go through them. We learn to release our creativity in bad times. A smooth sea will never make a skilful mariner. Thirdly, we never move forward when our focus is backward. One wise man said, “Beware of harking back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something you have never been. In addition to the above, God uses closed doors to open our eyes to new open doors. In practical terms, we do not need to re-invent the wheel but we surely need to improve on the already existing business ideas, methods and processes. In other words, this time requires more intrapreneurship than entrepreneurship and more change management than strategic management. Thanks be unto God who increases our versatility, innovativeness and ingenuity in times of crises. We generally have a negative attitude towards crises, but in most cases it is a crisis and not an opportunity that sharpens our mental powers.

No one demonstrated the power of creativity in a more exquisite way than Jacob. At first he was a hard and tireless worker but this failed to free him from perpetual slavery. But when God breathed upon his mind a creative plan the work of his hands prospered. In fact, he became so wealthy and great that his boss, Laban, became envious of him. Hard work is good but creative working is better. Creativity excludes stealing from your employer and stepping on the toes of your competitor.

Notice that Jacob did not steal from Laban. Creativity means increasing productivity and profit through increased knowledge, efficiency, effectiveness, relevance and versatility. May God give us the ability and skill to turn our raw materials into finished products.

Source : Financial Gazette