He’s young, passionate, photogenic, holds a senior position in marketing at Bang & Olufsen and, according to the lead article in the December 2004 “creative issue” of Fast Company — without doubt the silliest magazine to survive the dotcom bust — the pinnacle of creativity.

He’s Zean (pronounced Shawn) Nielsen and according to the editors of Fast Company he’s on the cover of their creative issue because “he’s a prolific idea champion who’s helping his organisation grow rapidly. And he works for a company whose smart design and technology have produced a stream of blow-me-away televisions, music systems and speakers.”

Nowhere in the editorial or the accompanying article is it explained how Zean’s creativity is actually manifested. He champions ideas (which seems to suggest that he leaves it to others to actually come up with them, otherwise why make the distinction?), organises promotional events and tie-ins, and has helped launch a string of Bang & Olufsen stores in North America.

 He also works long hours — 70-hour weeks — and, according to Fast Company‘s editors, “loves it”. All of which reads like a pro forma job description for the position of marketing director in any large firm.

Zean may have many other fine qualities that the Fast Company editors have neglected to mention, but his strongest claim to the title of being creative seems to be that he works long hours for a manufacturer of expensive, spiffy-looking TVs and CD players.

Fast Company‘s creative issue is a good example of the contemporary cult of creativity.

Read the full article on The Age.

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