“The lightning spark of thought generated in the solitary mind awakens its likeness in another mind.” — Thomas Carlyle
Sometimes, creating is an individual thing. A flash of inspiration hits us and we go with it. We call it ours. We take individual responsibility to grow it.
Sometimes, we create as a group. Together, we learn a subject, set goals, probe issues, work through personal differences. Ideally, we learn to respect each other’s gifts and work-styles. Inspiration may come to one or several of us. We begin to ‘spark’ each other in unique ways that don’t happen outside of the group.
When this happens, we are creating something more than solutions. We are bringing to life a creating ‘machine’.
In this case, the machine is a team of people who make up a uniquely creative, ‘creating’ relationship. The mix of team qualities includes an ability to juice each other creatively, to play well together, to spark each other’s imaginations. The team combines curiosity, insight and inspiration for a unique whole that is much more than the sum of its parts. Camaraderie may be part of the mix, but sometimes, conflict and conflict resolution become de facto creative tools.
These teams’ strengths come in different forms, depending on the skills and qualities of the team members. One team may be particularly good at analysis, another at synthesis, or idea generation, or implementation … or some combination these or other skills and qualities.
If you’ve participated in several group creating projects, you may find that the chemistry of one team brings out one set of qualities in you, while a different team may bring out different qualities. In fact, you may find it hard to be productive in one team, but amazingly prolific in another. Of course, your ability to contribute can also depend on how passionate you are about a project, your background knowledge, and your sense of freedom to solve the problem or reach the goal at hand – your belief in the environmental support. Balancing the elements can be tricky, which is why it is such a special thing when a creating group comes together to form a a uniquely, reliably productive unit.
Advertising agencies and other creative groups consciously try to foster these teams. From an organizational standpoint, a ‘creating machine’ can be a very profitable entity. Pay attention if such a team should evolve in your organization. Treasure and protect it.
How to do that? Just like you would your favorite plant: recognize it’s presence, acknowledge it, feed it. Give it the room it needs to evolve and grow, the air it needs to breathe. At times, it may require a little water, fertilizer, or pruning. And, when the time comes to reap the rewards, hold your personal celebration of Thanksgiving, because nothing feeds the next crop quite like gratitude for the current crop.
Gentle-people, start your engines! Let the creating begin.