Innovation in Business – Lessons from David Bowie

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Today is a sad day for many David Bowie fans all over the world as he loses his 18-month battle with cancer. Best known for his late 1960’s and 70’s Space Oddity, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Bowie spent over 40 years writing, performing and producing music that has thrilled many. Whether you like his music or not I am sure we can all agree that he, David Robert Jones, was creative and original. There will never be another David Bowie, perhaps a copycat or people who try to be like him, but he will always be the original. In the next issue of the Women’s Business News we will be introducing a Music Business section and there is no better way to kick this section off than to remember and learn from a music legend such as David Bowie.

David Bowie – a creator and innovator – business lessons:

Creativity Bowie describes three separate writing processes that he “seems” to use:

“I’ve got a narrative, literary oriented kind of an album, which is very much about crafted songs. There’s something which is more experimental which is more interested in playing around with hybridization or juxtapositions … And there are other things which definitely are written for the stage, more kind of theatrical things, where the motivation and the momentum for the thing comes from what I’m seeing in my mind for the stage itself.”

David has different methods for different projects – he understood his target audience and adapted accordingly.  He was afraid to think differently and express himself in his own unique way. Are you trying hard to conform and be like everyone else, to fit in?  OR are you willing to risk standing out? Not everyone will like it but at least you will be authentic and happy in your very own creative process! 4


Don’t underestimate the power of the clothes you wear! It’s not just a girly statement, the best and most memorable people in the world had a definite style and used their clothing to make a statement. What is your clothing saying about you? What impression do you want to make? What do you want to be remembered for? Are your clothing supporting your message or conflicting with it? David Bowie knew this and had a flair for the eccentric in his clothing. I’m off to buy an Armani suit now I think 😉 Does he do pink?


Many people can have great ideas for their business but few can turn those ideas into reality. Again, innovation equals risk. To be a market leader you have to be willing to fall flat on your face and look like an idiot if it all goes wrong. David Bowie knew how to innovate and to risk it seems. It’s hard to say without meeting him personally but from what we can see of him we know he didn’t try to fit into a box!  A key to David Bowie’s innovation success is that he constantly reinvented himself, he never succumbed to the temptation of slipping into a winning formula. . You just never knew what to expect from him other than that it wouldn’t be conventional and it would certainly be something you had never seen or heard before.  Are you innovating, reinventing and exciting your potential clients?  Or are you still playing it safe? *CAUTION: Some people will not like and will not want to do business with you if you innovate. They may be jealous, say hurtful things and simply boycott because they don’t like that you aren’t a conformer. Be prepared for this if you intend to stand out in a crowd. The key is not to take things personally. They don’t know you they only know their own fears and insecurities and are lashing out at you. Treat them kindly and with compassion and you will always win.


Bowie didn’t try to become the greatest musician who ever lived alone. He was well known for his collaboration with musicians, artists, dancers and fashion designers all through his career. Having the ability to find people that are experts in their field, people better than you will take you further than you could ever go alone.  Bowie collaborated and used the right people for each project to get the best results. What would his career have looked like if he did everything alone? What will your business look like if you try to do everything alone?  We need people of all shapes and sizes, people who annoy us to make us think differently, people who have different skills to us to enhance what we do and people who will bring about the creative synergy of collaboration to get the best possible results. Who are you collaborating with right now? Who else can you collaborate with? Who do you need to work with to get more for your business? Think about these questions then go out there and find people to collaborate with. Enjoy one of David’s greatest songs and let us know your thoughts on this music legend and how we can learn from him in our businesses!

By Angela De Souza

I am a female founder CEO and I know what it took to get to where I am today even though I am still far from where I want to be. It's been a lonely journey. There are very few other female founders that I have managed to chat with, learn from and grow with. So rather than feeling sorry for myself, I decided to build my own super network with women just like me and those further ahead in the journey who are willing to share their wisdom and experience with us. Find out more at and