Thursday, November 08, 2007

what's strangling your creativity?

i just watched this video from the TED conference. the brilliant Larry Lessig talks about how the law is strangling creativity. yes. i agree (and even if i didn't, helluva presentation). he touches on user-generated content.

so then i started thinking more about creativity and what kills it. or strangles it. or just stifles it. here's my list of ten things, in no order. some speak for themselves, some need a bit of elaboration.

1) Lack of collaboration
2) Fear
3) Ego
4) Borders
5) Singular tradespeople. At one time, being a tradesman was a valuable distinction. "I'm a blacksmith." No one lists one skill on his or her resume, so why do our workplaces, our titles and our roles reflect it? I won't get into the argument for or against generalists...that's farther away than where I'm standing. But the people with true creative muscle see a big picture. And can play in any stadium. Home or away from their "title."
6) Creative department. Or any label with creative involved. And labels without creative. Agencies, especially, have effectively limited the number of minds free to think creatively, and bestowed sometimes unwarranted power of minds that are tagged as creative. This ties directly to numbers one and four.
7) Process. Processes. And more processes. Many of which are more creative than their output.
8) E-mail. Or any other passive communication that eliminates the need to talk, face to face, to someone.
9) Repetition. "Sacred Cows." not as in those pedestaled people who could literally vomit on a podium without punishment. Sacred cows are pesky executions that seem to pop up in every brainstorm, for every client, for every need or strategy within each market known to man. And then paid off as unique.
10) Right and wrong. We live in a culture of right and wrong. Creativity is gray.

food for thought. i'd love to hear reaction or others' lists of creativity killers. i certainly left some out. notably, as Lessig noted in his speech, the way we're raising our children and our next generation of creative thinkers.

this is the time for creativity. creativity is the solution to problems from brand launches to climate change.

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Anonymous justin powell said...

that TED presentation is well done, thanks for posting. with larry's argument you may want to add #11 - current copyright legislation OR content usage rights.

I do think borders could be a good thing as it relates to creativity. I recently had a post about how constraint (or borders) paves way for creativity.

and process, if flexible, can be a good way to foster creativity as well. its the RIGID process, or always-do-things-a-certain way that can strangle creativity.

10:27 PM  

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