Want to Give Your Startup an Edge? Tap Into Your Team’s Creativity

Creativity is a loaded word.

By Lizzy Ellingson (Chief Creative Officer & Co-founder, Blueprint Registry)

In today’s world, where startups are popping up faster than Starbucks, it can be a difficult task for emerging companies to stand out from the noise. Figuring out how to creatively differentiate your company from the competition can be a tricky process — which is why having a creative sensibility has never been more important. Being a creative spirit with a background in design, I thought the process of creating impactful design revolved simply around designing a beautiful website. Not until I started my company, Blueprint Registry, did I come to realize how integral all parts of the business (and members of the team) are to the creative process.

You’re More Creative Than You Think

I believe that one big misconception about creating impactful design is that to be a part of the creative process, you must be able to design or draw yourself. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! I value the creative insights of my colleagues and co-founders more than any design professional. They know the product, they are in tune with our community, and they understand the end goal. Being creative is not just about picking the right color or typeface, but rather about being able to see multiple angles or solutions around a problem. In fact, I find that soliciting opinions and feedback from team members with different strengths or ways of thinking can help spur creativity. A perfect example of this is my dynamic with my co-founder. He is a male, with a finance background (not exactly the world I come from) but his creative insights are fascinating and offer me a new way of seeing and approaching design. We’ve had to get creative together to figure out how to work within tight budgets, short timelines, and with little resources and it is our “yin and yang” dynamic that has allowed our business to grow and scale in ways that I don’t think would be possible if I were doing this on my own. I’ve learned a lot along my journey as both a designer and an entrepreneur. I hope that sharing some of what I’ve learned throughout my career will help you become a more creatively intuitive entrepreneur. Check out my seven tips below and I’d love to have you share any tips, questions, or feedback that you may have in the comments section, below!

1. Creative, smart design should be at the forefront of every great startup

While generating revenue and showing traction to investors may be the ultimate goal, when you have a strong product, the rest should follow. If it isn’t following, take a good look at your product through the eyes and feedback of your users.

2. Stop assuming you know what your users want

Listen to your community and design proactively based on their feedback. Then, see what resonates (and what doesn’t) and learn from that moving forward.

3. Patience is key

Your first iteration or design definitely won’t be your last (or your second, or third, etc.). Great designers and developers listen to their users, map their on-site visits, and create as they go.

4. Creating something new is almost impossible to do!

Gain inspiration from companies that are performing a particular process or concept well and don’t be afraid to integrate ideas accordingly and put your own spin on them.

5. Adapt a mindset of creativity in ALL aspects of your business

Creativity isn’t restricted to one field of work or area of expertise. Whether creating a sustainable business platform, reading and interpreting analytics, or creating a company culture, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo or take the road less traveled.

6. Foster an open work environment.

Allow co-workers or individuals weigh in on design decisions. It may further an idea or concept, or unveil unforscene challenges.

7. Take on one personal project (at least) a month

It may seem like a lot, but in my opinion it’s the most important. Just like with a physical sport, being creative takes a lot of mental practice. Painting, sculpting, drawing or any other creative practice can help free the mind of creative roadblocks.


About the guest blogger: Lizzy is co-founder and CCO of Blueprint Registry. Lizzy holds a Masters in Design from the School of Visual Arts and is the Founder of her own design firm, Showman Design. Lizzy was also recently award Print Magazine’s New Visuals Artists Award: Top 20 Designer Under 30. Her energy and devoted work ethic are the core building blocks to her personal success. It is her unique design vision that frames Blueprint Registry.