Rupert the bear is 90 years old today

Happy birthday to a much loved childhood friend.

Rupert the bear is 90 years old today.

Some interesting lessons for anyone wanting to develop an innovative mindset is hearing the story about how Rupert came into being and how the idea developed.

He first appeared in the Daily Express in 1920 in response to other newspapers having children’s cartoon characters.

At first he was not a great success.

Also, the iconic images we associate with Rupert were not there at the outset: he did not have a trademark red jumper, nor yellow trousers and scarf with a pencil line tartan (I used to have a similar scarf at uni!)

In fact he had a shaggy face with a blue jumper.

The lessons for creativity are:

A great idea does not necessarily have to be a ‘Big Idea’ concept: other newspapers had children’s cartoon characters. The success of an idea is often marked out by its consistency and growth.

Great ideas are not necessarily instantly great. In fact, most are failures but their creators persist and keep with them.

Thirdly, there is incremental development. Ideas grow. So, you need to allow and be comfortable with incremental growth.

Fourthly, don’t be afraid to keep the best of the old, and accommodate new things; the character has since gone onto television shows and even having a Paul McCartney musical tribute.

Happy birthday Rupert – and here’s to another 90 years!

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