Friday, November 11

Creativity in the Creative Industries

Now this week's post is a bit of a departure for me.  I was meant to be sticking to the NON-creative industries wasn't I?

Anyway, through a complex web of intricate accidents I have more occasion than normal to consider industries like broadcasting and publishing at the moment, and I'll be considering the advertising industry in a great deal of depth in the weeks to come.

And one of the first things that should strike even the casual observer of the creative industries is that ... actually ... they're not all that creative either.  In the same way that only a small proportion of staff at a construction company actually design bridges, very few people in a large corporate “creative” company actually create.  The residue of the staff mostly concern themselves with project management, team leading, having (non-creative) meetings, service management, client management, supplier management, contracts management etc.

In a way, this reminds me why I write this blog, and it inspires me to think that my potential audience might be bigger than I'd considered.  A bit of rebranding is in order ...
From:  Creative thinking for the non-creative INDUSTRIES
To:  Creative thinking for the non-creative PROFESSIONS

So it's natural to ask whether non-creative professionals in creative industries can actually access creativity more easily than their peers in the analytical industries.

I strongly doubt it.  I suspect that the APPARENT barriers will be a slightly different shape, but just as large and impenetrable.  It won't be that they don't KNOW any creative people on their organisations, just that they make their living by NOT being creative, and they will likely wish to preserve the distinction for fear of being compared to the (unstructured? unmanageable? unscientific?) “talent”.

What a wasted opportunity!

It's at times like this when I start banging on about "shadowing". What if a media designer swapped jobs for the day with a systems analyst?  Or if they shadowed each other for a day?

With their minds and eyes fully open there must be masses they could each learn, enabling them to get new angles on the same old challenges.

Every few months my company sends senior executives "back to the floor" to do entry-level jobs.  Or rather to SHADOW people doing entry-level jobs (that's really all they're qualified for!)

The execs say that they come away with fresh insight and a renewed appreciation for the quality of work at lower levels of the organisation.  I guess they would say that wouldn't they? ... but actually, knowing a couple of them as I do, I happen to believe them.

What do we think about everyone doing one day of job shadowing per year, alongside someone whose job is a million miles removed from their own?  Good idea?

What about randomising the allocations?

What about doing this between organisations, rather than just within organisations?

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