Exercise 1

A. Listen to Samira, Alex, and Naomi talking about their occupations. What does each person do?

B. Listen again. What do Samira (S), Alex (A), and Naomi (N) say they focus on in their work? Write the correct letter.

___ 1 helping indecisive clients

___ 2 efficiency

___ 3 beating the competition

___ 4 solving a wide variety of problems

___ 5 new ideas to replace rejected ones

___ 6 using old concepts in new ways

Answers & Audioscripts


Samira: architect

Alex: small business owner

Naomi: interior designer


1 N   2 S   3 A   4 A   5 N   6 S


1   Samira

Well, um, I guess I’d have to say that creativity is essential to my work. I’m an architect, and the creative part is looking at old things and trying to make them look new. What I mean is we recycle a lot of ideas and then adapt them to fit our needs. And, of course, we have to stay on top of new trends. We have to know all about new building styles and efficient ways to use energy – you know, uh, the kinds of things that homeowners worry about. No one wants a house that isn’t heated or cooled efficiently, or one that looks outdated. And we work long hours. But I have to say, the job’s pretty interesting. You never know what to expect next!

2   Alex

Well, I run my own small business. I think all business owners, especially small business owners, have to be pretty creative. I mean, we have to do everything. I do the work, answer the phones, take care of the accounts, whatever. And you know, there are so many potential problems, and there’s no one else to turn to. I mean, I can’t just ask my boss for help. I am the boss! The hardest part is figuring out how to identify your customers. Who are they? Where are they? How can you get to them? You also need to think creatively about the competition. How can you make your business services more attractive than what the competition has to offer? Well, it’s certainly challenging, and I think it requires a lot of creativity.

3   Naomi

I’m an interior designer, so what I do is go into people’s homes and create a suitable environment for them. You know – my clients – they don’t know what they want, so I have to look at their homes and help them decide what would look best. Not every idea works in every home. You have to match the appropriate idea with the right place. So, after I come up with an idea, I present it to my client. Sometimes they don’t like my first idea, and boy, that can be frustrating. You have to start all over again. So I need creativity to both come up with the ideas and to communicate them. Creativity also comes in handy when I want to convince a client that my idea is the best one. I don’t always succeed, but I do manage to get my way a lot of the time.

Exercise 2

Listen to these stories about the invention and development of the products in the photos. Complete the chart.


Bill Bowerman

Fred Smith

How he got the idea



The initial reaction to the idea



What the inventor did in response



Answers & Audioscripts

Bill Bowerman:

How he got the idea: He believed that the lighter the shoe, the faster a runner could go.

The initial reaction: Established footwear companies were not interested in his idea.

What the inventor did in response: He didn’t give up and started a company to produce the shoes, Nike.

Fred Smith:

How he got the idea: He needed to have something delivered across the country the next day.

The initial reaction: His professor gave him a C on a class project for overnight mail delivery.

What the inventor did in response: He refined his ideas and started his own delivery company, FedEx.


1   Bill Bowerman

Great ideas often begin with a passion. Bill Bowerman was a college track-and-field coach, and his passion was running. One of his ideas was this: The lighter the shoe, the faster a runner could go. He was so convinced that lighter shoes were key to speed that he decided to make shoes that were lighter than what was available. In the late 1950s, he approached established footwear companies with his ideas, but they weren’t interested. Nonetheless, Bowerman wouldn’t give up and continued making and refining shoes for his runners. One of those runners was Phil Knight. After graduating, Knight found a company that would produce Bowerman’s shoe designs. In 1964, Bowerman and Knight formed their own company, and in 1972, the two started the Nike brand of running shoes.

2   Fred Smith

Sometimes good ideas grow out of frustration. When Fred Smith was a student at Yale University, he had some paperwork that he needed to have delivered across the country the next day. Smith was amazed to find out that overnight delivery was impossible. Why couldn’t there be a reliable overnight mail delivery service? He decided to design one, and then he turned his design into a class project. His business professor gave him only a C for his efforts. However, Smith was not through. He refined the ideas in that class project and eventually turned them into one of the first and most successful overnight mail services in the world – FedEx.

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