“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 with a group. Inspiration may come to one or several of us. In the course of getting to know each other, learning the subject, setting the goals, organizing the issues, working through personal differences … in the course of all that, we learn to respect each other’s gifts and work-styles. We may also find that we spark each other in unique ways that don’t happen outside of the group.
This is when we may find that we aren’t creating what we think we are creating. We’re creating more. While we may or may not be creating solutions or something new, one thing we are bringing to life is a creating ‘machine’.
This machine is a team that brings its flashes and insights together in productive ways. The team may be particularly good at analysis, synthesis, idea generation, or something very specific to your endeavor or business. In this case, however, it’s the how that we focus on rather than the what: the team brings more to the table together than apart.
Advertising agencies and other creative groups consciously try to foster these teams. It can be tricky work. Pay attention if such a thing should evolve for you. A unified creating machine is a rare and powerful gift that deserves to be treasured and protected.
How to do that? Just like you would your favorite plant: recognize it, 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.