Further thoughts…

I wanted to take a moment and add some thought to the re-post did yesterday on the article by Seth Godin on the 99 percent website. Talking about people’s block to creativity, he mentioned that we have an internal filter that dissuages us from risk and being creative is managing, or in some cases throwing that “filter” out. From the article he says:

“The resistance leads people to make suggestions that slow you down, suggestions that water down your idea, suggestions that lead to compromises.”

I was thinking alot about this since as of yesterday I was working with some design students and encouraging them not only be competent—of which they all were—but to throw creative abandon out the window if, at least for a little while, because soon enough, the deadline’ll come and we’ll all wonder had we thoroughly explored the concept?

I got to talking about an article on innovation I read where some Google team members were interviewed and some of that discussion I thought I’d repost:

“[Google] let[s] engineers spend 20% of their time working on whatever they want and we trust that they’ll build interesting things.” (Marissa Mayer) This sort of “play” helps to regularly defeat the personal, institutional resistance those engineers feel regularly and is just as important in other disciplines, like graphic design for instance. Just imagine 20% of billable hours out the window… The accountant will think you’re daft. But that “20%” could reflect itself in a growth in personal and company direction—less relatable to billable hours.

Take time out to learn, or better, yet master that wayward program. Structure or un-structure the time and just do it. It’s been some time I’d been looking at integrating more 3D into my own repertoire and some time later: voila…. a starting point.

A rendering developed to have more fun with a 3D program

Famously, Pablo Picasso said of his later (more famous) work: “It took me thirty years to unlearn what I had learned.” Some of that was about notions of playfulness and fearlessness. In the book Visual Thinking, Rudolph Arnheim quotes Cuisenaire Reporter in recognizing the “power of making abstraction is at its highest in children ages 6 – 9 years old”.

He continues, “Adults whose lives have been concerned entirely with practical situations may feel helpless when face with pure shapes, because in spite of their perceptual immediacy these things are “nothing” to them. They often have trouble with non-mimetic “modern” art. Children do not. They take ease with pure shapes, in art or elsewhere.”

So allowing your creativity to flourish is a skill as much as it is a desire. Flex your creative muscle whether you’re a designer or an accountant.

In other words, we have to WORK at making ourselves lower our creative barriers, especially if the resistance within us has been built up over time or condition. So let’s shout out, the notion of messing around a little!!!

By AIGA Baltimore
Published February 4, 2010