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Creatives get a bad rap–but shouldn’t!

July 5, 2013

It’s sad that people still think less of ‘creative types’ in the work place. The minute someone refers to a fellow staff member as an ‘artist’ or ‘creative type,’ or worst yet, ‘he is our creative!’ it instantly diminishes their value in the eyes of most ‘analytical types’, and they are secretly assigned the Scarlet Letter –“A” for artist. When did “creative” become a noun?! When analytical types decided to put that last nail in the coffin, that’s when. Something likely concocted by some mythical management consulting firm.

Even when artists earn thousands from their talent, people still think of them within quotation marks. (For this post, I’m placing quotation marks around the words “creative type” only to stress the point.) Many people still buy into the false premise that if you aren’t an obvious problem solver (‘analytical type’), you must be a ‘creative type.’ As if to say, if you don’t appear that smart, you must be a ‘creative type,’ or should be. I take offense to that because I am both creative and analytical. We all are, and that’s a good thing, so we should stop segregating the two.

shutterstock_73995010I suppose people don’t realize that creativity requires its own analysis. Not necessarily a different kind than what we use to solve mathematical problems or everyday challenges. When faced with a blank canvas, or sheet of paper, deciding how to fill it, in a way that is appealing to both you and the person who will judge it, is not easy task. Doing so successfully requires the vision to see the end result before you even start, an ability highly critical to being an effective CEO. It also requires solid knowledge of paints, colors, techniques in mixing and application to ultimately making the right use of the different color values so that they work well with others: A skill that makes for very good line managers. It also requires the ability to pull all those mediums together in a way that supports the overall vision, a highly valuable skill to be a good supervisor or middle manager. The artist or ‘creative type’ must single-handedly do all those things to solve a problem and tell a story in a beautiful way, then have the confidence to stand by it and defend the motivation for it–something ‘creatives’ often have to do in convincing clients on the value of design in supporting their strategy.

Something I’ve learned along the way is that analytical problem solvers in their purest form are not always the most strategic, although I think we grow up believing they are. Because they’re smart in traditional ways, we assume they’re always right, or at least we used to. In general, they see one problem and one solution, while creative types generally see multiple ways to solve a problem, and often arrive at more than one solution that works. Solving a problem from two different perspectives can often lead to a more comprehensive solution, or more than one option. Having more than one option is highly valuable to smart companies, as the most cost effective one may not always be the best.

Leonardo DaVinci was a creative type who was highly analytical. Everything he painted was meticulously analyzed and measured for precision, because at heart he was a man concerned with science and nature. That marriage of science and art comes through clearly in his anatomically and proportionately accurate depictions of people and human muscular structure. He himself represented the perfect combination of creative and analytical skills–equally talented in both–proof the two can exist, and do exist, in one mind.

We’re finally realizing the value of creativity and how it can support our strategies, and more importantly capture people’s attention so we can deliver our message, influence employee behaviors and reach our goals.shutterstock_126169502_Analysis

If we open our minds, we may realize we all have some of both abilities and become more respectful of one another’s talents and skills, I think we all become better at what we do–and better at living our lives in general.Solving problems brings me a lot of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment in my work, while painting brings me great joy and often release from stress. It clears my head, so I can get back to solving problems. The two are the yin and yang that keep my life in balance. It’s actually a pretty good recipe for success, a good blend of what you’re good at and what you love.

Here’s to your recipe!


One Comment
  1. ninsart permalink

    Reblogged this on Ninsart's Blog and commented:
    Especially in the public education arena.

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