The Key to Creativity and Entrepreneurship

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to hear renowned entrepreneur and innovator, Chic Thompson, speak about creativity.

Photo courtesy of Game Change Agency


Thompson is a college dropout who worked for many globally renowned organizations and U.S. government agencies. He is a creative genius who worked on new product development with companies like Walt Disney, Johnson & Johnson, and W. L. Gore (the inventor of Gore-tex). On top of all that, Thompson has written several books about creativity and founded a non-profit to encourage young entrepreneurship among the international community called WagiLabs.

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Out of every guest speaker that has visited my Foundations of Commerce class so far, Thompson was the most compelling and inspiring. During his lecture, he highlighted thinking differently and asking questions as the most important things one can do. He also emphasized that the key to entrepreneurship is “opposite thinking”, which includes three rules:

  1. Imagine opposites - Expect the unexpected and learn how to improvise

  2. Ignite opposites - Look for more than one answer to a question and break patterns

  3. Inspire opposites - Leave good impressions and smile through the obstacles

Instead of asking why something is wrong, Thompson encourages to access why something could be right. He believes that this forces us to use both sides of our brain and assess every possibility.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks


Thompson came up with the ideas for the Starbucks Bottled Frappuccino drink and expandable foam mattress (like Casper), and I certainly believe Thompson when he says these rules are the key to innovative thinking.

Thompson has also done a Ted talk, which I highly recommend watching.