The Killer of Creativity in Corporate America

Thinking out-of-the-box – the ubiquitous buzzword used in today’s business world, especially in corporate America. Why not just say what you mean: we want management to be more creative. Right? Sadly, they can’t be. They don’t seem to have the necessary tools to inspire  creativity.  Management, you ARE the killer of creativity. Let me explain.  

In the book Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley, he states, “An Adobe Systems poll of 5,000 people on three continents reports that 80% of people see unlocking creative potential as key to economic growth. Only 25% of these individuals feel that they’re living up to their creative potential in their lives and careers.”

What? Only 25% are living up to their creative potential? What is killing the creativity in corporate America?  Is it lack of time – no! Is It that we are too busy – no! What then?

It’s khakis!  That’s right, those drab pants and skirts that are proudly worn in every corporate office. Khakis, along with a polo shirt – preferably blue!  

The definition of khaki, according to is “dull yellowish brown.” You can’t be creative when you are wearing blah. You might as well be an actuary or an accountant. also states, “a stout, twilled cotton cloth of this color, used especially in making uniforms.” That’s right; you are wearing a uniform.  All you need to complete the look is a lanyard and name badge while eating at restaurant, as if to say, “Yes I am attending this conference and I am still wearing my name badge.  I still don’t know how the waiter new my name.”

Khakis are to creativity as accountants are to sales.  Khakis go with almost everything. They are the ketchup of clothing. Well, not entirely true. Ketchup has flavor!  My apologies to the Speciality Food Association, the National Hot Dog Council, and to ketchup lovers everywhere.  Ketchup is cooler and more creative than khakis.

Here are the top three things I hate about khakis:

  1. The word is hard to spell. It just doesn’t flow. K-H-A-K-I It is spelled like you need lots of phlegm for the H sound, which of course is silent.  Then why use the letter if it is silent?  
  2. If you wear a khaki colored shirt with khaki colored pants to work, you’ll be eating lunch by yourself for a very long time unless you are Jack Hanna, aka Jungle Jack.
  3. For men, I have three words for you: urinal back splash. You can’t walk out of the men’s room with wetness in your zipper area.  I’ll take you 10 – 20 minutes to get them dry.  Unless your restroom has a hand air dryer.  But then the ballerina moves you need to get close enough to dry your khakis will be the reason that human resources calls you into a meeting.  

Khakis are the killer of creativity.  What if Bruce Springsteen wore khakis instead of jeans?  His concerts would last an hour; his biggest hit song would be titled Born to Walk; and Courtney Cox would have never done a music video with him.  Look around, those who are highly creative don’t wear khakis, PERIOD.

Let’s start a movement to have khakis banned at work! Call your congressmen, call your senators. Better yet, let’s make the khaki ban a Presidential Executive Order.  Now that is a ban both parties can support, and we can bring creativity back to corporate America today!