Once again Sydney is aglow with Vivid Festival, the annual event that injects more than $170million into the NSW economy. At the last two Vivid Festivals, appropriately enough, I was part of a panel of speakers discussing the importance of creativity to the economy. One of the conclusions we reached at those events was that ‘Creativity is the only legal form of competitive advantage.’

That’s a big call, but as someone who has worked in the creative industries for over 30 years, I know it to be true – and not just for massive arts events like Vivid. I have seen creativity generate millions and millions of dollars for my clients across a whole range of industries.

However, this isn’t a widely-held view in the business world, or in our wider society for that matter.

We’ve been taught that creativity is a sideshow freak, an unruly fringe-dweller on the edges of the business world. That it should be confined to the arts, indulged in young children, tolerated in teens, spurned in adults, but ultimately dismissed as economically insignificant. Leave real business to bean counters and bankers, out of the way you creative wankers.

The cruel irony to this viewpoint is that bean counters and bankers only count the money that goes around in an economy that is driven forward by creativity.

The biggest leaps forward in the last millennia have all been thanks to creativity and innovation. The Renaissance was only possible because the invention of the printing press meant ideas could be spread more easily and widely than ever before. The industrial revolution came about because of creativity and innovation. And our current digital revolution is likewise the result of an explosion of creativity that has completely changed our world.

Think about it. The biggest company in the world was started by a guy who studied calligraphy.

So it’s time to change our attitude to creativity. Time to bring it in from the cold extremities of the business psyche and into the red hot centre of business activity.

Embrace creativity and you will stand out like The Proverbials.