John Winsor is CEO of Victors & Spoils, an agency which combines advertising with the wisdom of the crowd. He has written “Beyond the Brand: Why Engaging the Right Customers is Essential to Winning in Business,” “Spark: Be more Innovative through Co-Creation,” “Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves” (with Alex Bogusky) and “Flipped: How Bottom-Up Co-Creation is Replacing Top-Down Innovation.” Baked In, a bestseller, was named an award winner in the marketing category for the 2009 800-CEO-Read Business Book Awards.
BS: John, what do you do for a living and what led you there?
JW: I’m not sure. I guess I’d call myself a problem solver. I love to find problems and then form companies around them to come up with possible solutions.
BS: Do some people have a creative “gift” or can we all develop creative muscle?
JW: Just like in athletics I find it’s a mixture of talent and hard work. But, there’s no doubt that hard work always wins.
BS: Is there a significant difference in creativity between “art” people and “tech” people?
JW: Not really. A cognitive psychologist once told me that their field is so similar to other fields, like social psychology but that each field has it’s own language and markers for success, hence they focus on going deeper in their own field versus sharing with other fields even though they’re all probably doing the similar work. The same thing happens in Tech and Art.
BS: Pop culture focuses on the success of the individual, even 500 years after John Donne’s famous, “No man is an island.” Why do we still worship the company leader instead of the company as an organism?
JW: That’s a good question. I think it’s a product of the industrial age’s world view of scarcity. In a scarce environment it’s all about the “one.” Today, in a world of abundance fueled by digital democracy, anyone from anywhere can lead. The shift will take a generation.
BS: What has helped you achieve bigger, better results?
JW: Slowing down.
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