Alumnus Derek Bennington inspires creative problem-solving with his new book
Derek Bennington (MBA 2013) knows what it takes for businesses to distinguish themselves to gain a competitive edge. While creativity used to be a competitive advantage, it’s now a necessity to succeed in business. The Daniels alumnus recently wrote a book about creativity and its relationship to success in the business world.
Prior to his time at DU, Bennington worked in the wine and liquor industry. There, he learned myriad business skills, including how to handle risk, failure, stress and timelines. Perhaps one of the most valuable things Bennington said he gained from this experience was understanding the importance of being one-hundred percent customer driven. His focus on customer fulfillment became a passion—something he later incorporated into his company, CraftATI.
Bennington founded CraftATI in 2018 with the intention of helping businesses create impact. “At the end of the day, we want to create an impact and partner with companies that are driven to do just that,” he said. “We strive to offer new, creative solutions to old problems that have yet to be adequately addressed.”
Bennington’s book, “Creativity Pushups,” is one tool to help CraftATI achieve its goal.
““Creativity Pushups” is the ultimate innovator’s tool kit,” Bennington said. It lays out a roadmap for business teams to implement “design thinking” for those who are interested in the concept, but don’t know how to execute it. We have all heard people say, “I’m not creative enough; I’ll leave the creative work to someone else.” Bennington hopes to put an end to the anti-creative mindset. “Everyone is capable of being creative,” he writes in the book; it is simply a matter of exercising that capability within the mind. The easy-reading book provides simple ways for readers to “think differently” to explore their personal creative potential and enhance their problem-solving proficiency.
Bennington said his book was largely inspired by Daniels professor Kerry Plemmons. As a graduate assistant, Bennington worked alongside Plemmons as he wrote his book, “Juxtapositions.” Through their collaborative research and writing, Plemmons’ work inspired the importance of creative thinking.
Bennington said he encourages everyone to “do pushups to get stronger,” emphasizing the importance of exercising creativity to problem-solve in the ever-changing business world. “Your brain is an amazing thing, so keep it in shape!”