In this post I want to highlight one of the threads in the discussion, as it touched upon a fundamental question about creativity — is it something we all have, which should be encouraged in everyone, or is ‘serious’ creativity best left to experienced professionals?
Here’s a slightly edited excerpt of the relevant comments:
#19 | Michael Plishka | 1/26/2009 at 11:42 am
… Bottom line: we want ALL our people to contribute in some way to idea generation and our creative cultures. Traditional team brainstorming isn’t the way to do this.
#21 | Rasmus | 1/26/2009 at 1:22 pm
…brainstorming is an awesome tool. In my experience though, corporate pen pushers aren’t very good at it. They should leave creative methods to creative people.
#23 | Tony | 1/26/2009 at 1:40 pm
I think Rasmus nailed it with, “In my experience though, corporate pen pushers aren’t very good at it.” Let the creatives do the creative work, that’s what we’re getting paid for.
I think my general dislike of brainstorms is that most of them are set up to be inclusive of everyone at the earliest stages of idea creation, and a lot of those people shouldn’t really be there, not because they’re not creative, but because they’re not creative when put on the spot in front of an audience.
#25 | Michael Plishka | 1/26/2009 at 2:01 pm
@rasmus and tony and a few others,
Don’t you think there’s a problem with:
” Let the creatives do the creative work, that’s what we’re getting paid for.” and
” a lot of those people shouldn’t really be there, not because they’re not creative, but because they’re not creative when put on the spot in front of an audience.” ?
1. I’m paying EVERYONE to be creative! Humans are creative by nature, if they weren’t we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I want all of my team to be a rockin’ innovative powerhouse and that means they need to be firing on all cylinders as humans. This leads to:
2. We are content with losing creative input because someone can’t deal effectively with the social pressures of brainstorming?!? !
I really can’t believe people are willing to kick creative input/people to the side?!?
#27 | Tony | 1/26/2009 at 2:14 pm
I don’t disagree that everyone is creative, and that their input is valid. However, we don’t hold big meetings to discuss how we’re going to do the accounting whenever something new comes up where everyone is invited to pitch new ideas, generally we let the accountants handle it because that’s what they’re good at. This isn’t by any means a claim that people can only do what they’re hired to do, but I don’t think the brainstorm as run in most organizations is the way to bring in outside input to the creative process. It tends to lead to the dreaded “creativity by committee” as the creative process morphs into a democracy, which it is surely not in its most natural state.
#31 | Michael Plishka | 1/26/2009 at 4:26 pm
Now we’re talkin’!!! 🙂
Thanks to Michael, Rasmus and Tony for raising this important question — and debating it in gentlemanly fashion.
(You might also like to check out Michael’s post Five (weak) reasons for continuing to use team brainstormings.)
What Do You Think?
Is creativity something we all have naturally, or is it a skill developed by practice?
In the workplace, should we involve everyone in the creative process or ‘Let the creatives do the creative work’?
About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a poet and creative coach.