I picked up a conversation with a few friends yesterday on the creative process, and that got me thinking about how inspiration or muse strikes. I have been a “process” guy professionally who also understands/respects the importance of creativity, the sort of creativity that changes the world for better.
Our schools teach us “formulas” and we become obsessed with them thereafter. We look for sure fire ways of doing things and somewhere in this quest for certainty, our creativity is lost.
When we discussed further, our conversation revealed that creativity starts with an attitude to see things that others are not able to see, to see the new, to feel the difference before it happens, to follow our intuition, to decide that something is important and then to ‘do’ something about it. Whatever happens after the intuition/inspiration/muse/new (or whatever you call it) strikes the brain (and our mind) can be a process. But there is no formula I know, to get these ideas, to see the gaps, to connect discrete things and generate a new meaning. Creativity is more innate/personal because we bring ourselves, our values, our intuition and our DNA into the play.
In the same context, I stumbled upon an old article on Adweek which nails it:
The most celebrated acts of creativity in the world are the result of individuals deciding that something just feels right. Picasso did not need a viability study to decide where to apply his brush. And yet his highly unscientific pursuits continue to touch people in ways most ad campaigns never will. Tolstoy did not pass his concepts by focus groups for input. And yet his books and ideas endure.
Process is extrinsic. It augments the creative process and helps in better execution. It allows us to elevate our performance, visualize gaps and improve constantly. The processes employed by creative people are difficult to decode, but they surely exist. We don’t see a process there because we are untrained in that context.
Increasing competition means that we have to be “operationally” better than others, where process comes in. But it also means that we have to be “creatively” better than others, take more risks, innovate and execute great ideas, which is where our intuition comes in.
It is only when creativity marries the process that organizations can achieve greatness and remarkability.
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Join in the conversation: What do you think? Is there a process to get more creative? Can we implement processes more creatively? How does inspiration strike you? Let us know.
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