secretleaders | John Cleese: How creativity can be applied to business

John Cleese: How creativity can be applied to business

As an entrepreneur, creativity is the name of your game. And who better to hear from than the king of creativity himself, Mr John Cleese. Yes, that’s right. John. Cleese. You’re welcome.

Where do we begin?

John’s (Mr Cleese?) talents are boundless – actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer and author. The co-founder of the infamous Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the creator and star of Fawlty Towers has taken the time to look back on his writing processes and accomplishments as a series of creative experiences to share and inspire. And he’s distilled his thoughts into a short (an hour long read), beautiful guide he’s cunningly entitled ‘Creativity’.

Even if you have no desire to break into screenwriting, John has lived a lifetime of creativity and there is so much that we mere business folk can learn from him, including his secret process.

“You have to create a space where people don’t come in and interrupt. And you have to have a sufficiently long period of time for your initial agitated thoughts to settle, so that you can then play, and play in a very relaxed way, not cudgelling your brains and furrowing your brow, just thinking, I wonder if, what would happen if, and why did I suddenly think of a hippopotamus? That sort of thing.”

So grab a cuppa and let John’s wisdom guide you. This one really is a corker to kick the season off with.

We chat about:

  • What we can learn from children about creativity
  • Our emotional facilities aren’t helped by modern living
  • John Cleese’s secret process
  • There’s no such thing as a mistake
  • The importance of rehearsal
  • Resting for creativity


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The Secret Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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