The Irony of the “Creative”
Creativity is a uniquely human trait and is essential to innovation. In product and service development, creativity is the evolution of something new or approaching a problem in a manner not considered before.
All of us have creative capacity and approach generative thinking differently, but there is an innovation archetype, the Creative, that is hard-wired for the task. The skills of this archetype are needed in the more abstract areas of the front end of innovation: generation of insights, identification of opportunity areas, and especially ideation.
The irony is that traditional ideation techniques are anathema to the Creative archetype.
For reasons unknown, the Creative archetype skews toward introversion. This does not imply that the Creative archetype is the aloof artist—what this really means is that this person prefers to think, and problem solve, alone. Throwing the Creative archetype into a room with 15 people for mental extraction games is not ideal.
This is not to say the Creative won’t participate in group exercises. However, they won’t be at their best unless they see the big picture (e.g. strategy, key insights, opportunity areas), and have had some advance time to think.
In group settings, Creatives often take the back seat while the extroverts take the spotlight and the logicians criticize. Once the Creative can get a word in edgewise and feel safe from judgement, their contribution is substantive.
Maximizing the effectiveness of team ideation (or any group session) requires an understanding of how people acquire and process information. Increasingly, our success is dependent on creativity. Ironically, the way we approach creative problem solving (large cross-functional team meetings) is not always optimal.
The good news is that there are simple fixes to the ideation process to make it a better experience for the Creative — and frankly, for everyone!
Read about StandPoint’s Quartet approach to ideation.