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01 Mar

Structure and creativity are good friends

Date: 2010-03-01 18:55 Comments: 0 st

Are structure and creativity each other’s incompatible opposites? Does clarity and orderliness inhibit creativity? Is chaos a prerequisite for high quality creative expression?

Some people I meet express a fear that if they could improve their structure on the job, they would not be as creative as they are now. They seem to believe that order in itself stops the flow of ideas.

That’s not my experience at all. I would not say that sound structure stimulates creativity for everyone, but for me it definitely does.

I think the most clearly when I have few things that distract me, that interrupt my thinking. (There’s a reason that I write this in OmmWriter .) When I have an idea, I like to stay with the idea, mentally, so I can define and refine it. If I instead know I have mail that I should answer to quickly, if the phone rings, if I see some meeting notes I have to take care of before the day is over as soon as I look over there, my creative flow is disrupted (which may be about writing, a new model, a new service).

So for me, good structure at work is the tool that makes everything that just need to work, work, without me having to engage with it all the time.

Only then can I be free to create, because I know I don’t have anything else I should be doing instead.

Of course, I sometimes need to shower in impressions to get new ideas, just like everyone else. Therefore, I visited my first Pecha Kucha Night -event here in Gothenburg the other night.

Just before the first of tonight’s ten presenters would start, Pecha Kucha-promoter Jesper Larsson went through the rules for the evening:

  1. Each speaker shows 20 still images, neither more nor less
  2. Each image is displayed 20 seconds, exactly
  3. Each presentation is, therefore, 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Precisely.
  4. The audience must not ask questions to the presenter on stage
  5. The presenters present “back to back”, with just a short pause between them (after five lecturers there were a break for drinks)

This was a clear, concrete framework that you don’t budge. But, there was not a lack of creativity. Formats like this inspire one to play with the format rather than stifle your creativity.

So, for me, Pecha Kucha is a wonderful example of that structure and creativity go hand in hand.

What do you think?

Are structure and creativity friends or foes?

Leave a comment below!

P S Scott Belsky, CEO & Founder of Behance, explores constantly how good structure fosters creativity.

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