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01 Mar

Structure and creativity are good friends

Datum: 2010-03-01 18:55

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.