I would argue there are some things you can teach and some things you cannot. I am still not convinced you can teach creativity for example, but you can certainly pass on how to be an appreciator and maybe that is the point here.
PR is a craft. At the heart of that craft are three muscles that must be trained and flexed on a daily basis. Listening, appreciation and curiosity. Now, more than ever, this world demands a concession to conversational instinct and that comes from a lifetime of building and nurturing relationships and of understanding human nuance. But then conversely, experience though of great value, all too often fails to change the world. What does change the world is open mindedness and a healthy dose of distraction! Imagine suggesting a module focusing on distraction should make the PR degree syllabus – and yet, being open to disjointed impressions is essential for creativity. And creativity is essential to great PR.
Many of us can get into the habit of believing that solving problems and creating solutions means bringing our minds to bear on them with discipline, thoughtful concentration and single-mindedness. I’m not sure this is completely true. Discipline, thoughtful concentration and myopic focus usually shut down creativity and drive it straight into reasonableness and logic, and whilst of course, logic certainly has its place and so do intense concentration, undistracted focus and attention to detail, they are best to come after the flip side of that has produced its magic. That magic, comes from limitless distractions and disjointedness to provoke appreciation, curiosity and imagination, in whichever sequence they occur to you.
Most businesses are growth obsessed and can only purport to be creatively driven. Most are repeat order service businesses, where originality and breakthroughs take too much time and don’t add up on the balance sheet.
A successful business or campaign now demands relationships are built on trust and based on an understanding of different demands and opinion. This is the first time in modern business when success or failure depends not on what you say nor even on what you produce, but who you are.