No shine without friction

Tuesday 20 February 2018


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No shine without friction

It’s the ultimate challenge for the creative sector: identifying creative talent and giving it space to develop. The sector isn’t alone there: the importance of creativity is being recognised in more and more industries. But what conditions are necessary to allow existing creativity to come into its own?

Human brains consist of two halves, both of which are essential to the design process. The left brain is the analytical, mathematical side of the brain. This part is concerned with the rationality and feasibility of an idea. The right half is the more sensitive and creative half: this half is responsible for the emotional side of the design.

Innovation occurs when the left hemisphere - grounded in knowledge and (technological) possibilities - connects with the creative right brain in order to arrive at innovative ideas. You could call this connection between the hemispheres ‘innovativity’.

The creative brainstorm

Some people have a stronger right hemisphere, while in others the left is better developed. Just as the different hemispheres reinforce one another, creatives and pragmatists can compliment each other too. If they tackle a challenge as a team, they generate more than just the sum of their knowledge and the available technology. Brainstorms and workshops stimulate creativity in particular, leading to solutions that you might not think of on your own. Dead-end streets turn out to have a secret door: here, the sum becomes ‘magical’ and the concept is born.

Of course, this is not an easy process: creative brainstorming sessions are characterised by a high tempo and fiery discussions. Each participant defends his ideas and ingenuity - until suddenly a better argument arises, giving the idea an unexpected turn. In short: there's no shine without friction. Only once all creative ideas have been assessed, all possible solutions have been devised and all discussions have been held, does the magical idea become visible in all its glory.

Creative and practical

The right hemisphere of the creative allows the imagination to speak, is boisterous and takes risks. True creative thinkers are able to think ‘inside out’. They see solutions with which they rewrite the question. However, it's not an easy process to manage. The uninhibited way in which the creative team runs away with the issue calls for clear guidance. This guidance must come from an analyst - someone with a dominant left hemisphere. Someone who keeps thinking practically, assesses feasibility and keeps an eye on the process.

There's no shine without friction: the key to the magical idea can often be found where the fiercest debate flares up. Creative teammates are often critical, not only towards others but often even more towards themselves. The ability to continue to ask increasingly ‘difficult’ questions, even after a design has been realised, ensures that the subject remains interesting and allows creatives to start each new assignment fresh and enriched.

The space to bring out the best

How do you ensure that, after all the difficult questions and intense discussions, unlimited thinking continues to get the space it needs?  How do you create the culture needed to allow creativity to flourish? The influence of corporate culture on the success of a company is often underestimated. Companies with a strong identity and culture unite workers in their pursuit of a common (higher) goal. This makes people willing to move out of their comfort zone, to break through ‘department thinking’ and to work as a team. Employees feel inspired and secure and identify with the joint goal. Since they were not only hired based on skills, but also based on their ‘cultural fit,’ they are part of a special community. Thus the company takes care of its employees, and the employees take care of one another and the company. 

To allow a project team to function effectively, a number of rules apply:

  • Everyone has an equal voice

The vote of each member counts equally. He or she with the most experience is not necessarily right. In fact, there is no single 'right.'  

  • Think in terms of solutions

Obstructions on the road are easy to spot. But what happens when you move around them? Or choose a different route? You want to go to where the solution is.

  • Keep an open mind

Each assignment is new, every project is different. So you always start over. Try to forget what you know about the subject and consider new possibilities with an open mind.

  • Dare to make mistakes

Say and do whatever comes to mind. You’ll learn nothing if you don’t allow mistakes. Ask for feedback.

  • Be humble

Listen. Listen to other people's ideas, ask questions, and do not judge too quickly.

We Create

JosDeVries The Retail Company BV
Safariweg 6-11
3605 MA Maarssen, P.O. Box 1194
NL-3600 BD Maarssen
The Netherlands
tel. : +31(0)346 - 563764
[email protected]

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