21 November 2006

Stop searching for God and just sit!

Notes and sketches, originally uploaded by dgray_xplane.

I really like this quote from Carol Righi. You know it strikes me as interesting that when businesses want to see more innovation, they talk about creativity. They hold workshops on how to be creative. But when you talk to most creative people -- like artists, inventors, and yes, bloggers -- they don't talk about creativity, they talk about process.

I share Carol's belief that our processes and practices are the primary drivers of real creative endeavors. It's like the zen buddhist said, "Stop searching for God and just sit!"

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Anonymous said...

I love it. It sums up my communication philosophy exactly. In my days as an informational designer for a newspaper, process was everything. From conception to completion (and including the informal, impromptu focus groups) "the process" assured our creative was not only visually appealing and easy to understand but also, relevant.

Great site, informative!

Geetha Krishnan said...

Kathy Sierra touches on the same thing from a slightly different angle in her post about not waiting for the muse - http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/11/dont_wait_for_t.html.
Creativity / innovation does not happen in isolation - it happens when you are going through the drill, as part of it.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but I disagree, if process was the key to great creative leaps and endeavours then we'd all be creative, Process is about standardization not breakthroughs. Perhaps a few examples of how process and practices helped with good creativity would throw more light on this. There is something else called talent, insight, and looking at thimgs from a new perspective. If you have a process for this I know about 100 of the biggest advertising agencies who would like to get hold of this. This is not to undermine process and systems, but every intelligent person, team, group has a process but to focus on this to the exclusion of the real ideas is more like to bring mediocrity rather than good insights and breakthroughs. This doesn't refer to you but in my experience 'process' is an easy escape for those unable to contribute in terms of ideas and new thinking. They can come up with 'how to do it' but never with 'it' which is unfortunately where the real challenge is.

Anonymous said...

No apologies necessary...I understand what you're saying and agree that process isn't a catalyst for creativity...I was born & raised in inner-city NY, so process, order and anything remotely related would be the last thing on my xmas list anyway.

But after moving on from editorial design to ad campaigns, as an art director, (in a small, small town ) I embrace a sound process like a Cuban grandmother with a bowl of warm plantain chips.

Here's why:

• It allows me to formally secure more than ample time for conceptual development without repeated interruption from account people, etc...this is where good ideas are beginning to happen.

• I'm able to instantly "nip-in-the-bud" the same old expected, tired or unoriginal approaches before conceptual development really begins.

• If I'm aware of budget/deadline issues early on, I can craft realistic approaches...creating a window of creative opportunity where earlier, it seemed there was nothing but a wall.

• A result of lobbying for creative freedom at my current firm, is that now "the process" includes more face time between the creative people actually producing the work, and the client than ever before...everyone is more excited, involved and the sense of ownership is pushing creatives to go the extra mile...not because they're asked, but because they want to.

But you touch on something huge...new perspectives. I've lived in a state now for over 10 years that sufferers from being last in just about everything. It's one of the few states that has had negative population growth in recent years.

I truly believe if there were more environments that fostered and encouraged innovative and creative thinking...we'd be a different place.

For once I'd like someone to walk up and say "let's reinvent the wheel just for fun." I know these people exist everywhere, I think they just need a little push.

Maybe that's a deeper conversation for another place...sorry for the rambling.

contraddict said...

Sure.. but unless you are exhausted searching, sitting will take you nowhere ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yet, you have nowhere to go. Nothing to do. And nobody be. Except exactly who you are right now.