March 11, 2007
I’ve just come across a superb blog from Mark McGuinness called Wishful Thinking. Mark coaches creative professionals and his blog is a fabulous resource of articles, posts and insightful thinking about management in the creative industries. Mark is undertaking a Masters Degree and he has posted a lot of his research material (interviews etc) here and it’s a very generous resource waiting to be tapped.
I particularly liked this quote from Mark about why he works with creative professionals:
So if the special “creative person” is a myth, why do I focus on working with creatives? Having worked with professional artists and creatives for over 10 years, as well as with many other types of client, I would say there are basically three differences between them and many other people.
1. They think of themselves as “creative”. I’ve come across many people who are perfectly capable of coming up with original ideas – but who keep blocking themselves by saying “I’m not creative”. Even when it is pointed out to them that they have done creative things, they resist the label, and clearly feel uncomfortable with it. The “creatives” on the other hand, are quite happy to think of themselves as creative, and don’t create this kind of internal obstacle to their natural creativity.
2. They love doing creative work. Because they enjoy creative work more than most people, they spend more time doing it. Which means they get better at it. Which means they enjoy it more. Which means they do more of it… and so on. This is not to say they don’t enjoy money, status, recognition or other rewards, but these are not as important to them as the pleasure of creativity itself.
3. They put themselves in an environment where creativity is encouraged. I once ran a seminar and set a group of managers the task of finding the “second right answer” to a question (based on Roger von Oech’s excellent creativity book A Whack on the Side of the Head). A couple of minutes into the activity, I noticed they were looking very uncomfortable. When I asked them what was wrong, they said it felt very unsafe, as they were constantly told by senior management that mistakes were unacceptable and they had to get things “right”. No wonder their creativity was inhibited! Creative types on the other hand, gravitate to situations where creativity is not only encouraged but expected of them – art schools, ad agencies, design studios, artists’ quarters, writer’s colonies, film sets and ‘clusters’ of creative businesses. By surrounding themselves with others engaged in creative work, they immerse themselves in the latest ideas and developments in their field – and some of that creativity rubs off.
These three factors help them develop their raw creative talent into accomplished skills. This is not to deny that some of us are naturally “gifted” with more talent than others, but this is a matter of degree rather than kind – and talent is nothing unless you put it to work.
I plan on being a regular over there..