The big idea can come in a flash, at bath-time or bus-stop. Seconds after, it’s all there. Colours, headlines, tone, type and UX. It’s crystal clear, job done and dusted. But, it’s not. It’s only the start, and the grind begins. The internal buy-in, the external pitch, the client presentation, the watering down, the delays, the explanations, the adaptations, the unfathomable “why don’t they get it?’ of it all. There is the obsessiveness, and the steadfast intent to at least save a whiff of smoke from the spark of the original idea.
The harsh reality is that the space between the spark of inspiration and creation is vast. And for Creatives who fire off into the distance with the greatest intent, often find themselves arriving at a different place than where they meant to go. So, step in the tech to help us. The marketing tells us we can get there quicker, the process is improved, and the creative stays pure, unblemished and distraction-free. It’s miraculous, but it’s because the Tech is just so clever, or at least that’s what is says on the box, or the ad that proceeds the quick and easy download. And more often than not, the magic gadgetry that we are encouraged to use, is there to help us manage our time, even though it might reduce our time. Precious time that could be spent thinking about the precious idea. Software and Apps, are really designed to bring reason to budgets and justification to what Creatives do, and when they do it. So when Shareholders don’t understand, wanting ‘better flow’, for ‘better results’, they will of course push for the investment and implementation of a ‘better process’. They can try.
But what really stands in the way of perfecting the creative process ? Is it even possible to perfect something that by its very nature shouldn’t be governed by parameters or time ? The fact is, a ‘normalised’ process can never be achieved, because of what’s found deep inside the creative brain. A creative brain will naturally delay and dither – and this is about waiting for the inevitable disappointment – a strange fascination to see how the translation of a ‘beautiful idea’ into final form will go wrong, and how it will inevitably become less perfect, less good. The inefficiency of the creative process, is about a Creative stretching out the period for before they become disillusioned for as long as they can. And it gets worse – what cannot be factored in, is the additional time that a creative brain spends deliberating yet further – whether under the shower, or head on the pillow, the creative brain creates 24/7.
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It is of course productivity that Clients and Agencies want, but it’s what Creatives (completely innocently) try to avoid. And from that perspective, some stripped-down antiseptic gadget promising total focus can never really satisfy the system. Focus isn’t what a creative mind wants, the creative mind wants to be left alone, without feeling guilt or pressure to justify their decisions, or indeed the time it takes until the tortured creative becomes disappointed.
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It is in fact normal that the creative process breaks down, and that no-matter how clever or tactile the tech, the time management apps cannot help, and we know, we have tried them. They do nothing more than add to the soup., and the soup was going to happen anyway, as creativity is pretty much a masochistic ride. There is no online tool or sparkling app that can make the power of imagination, and all the sensitivities that come with it, more efficient. The creative process is a human process, and relies on human inputs, not inputs of hours and minutes in time management interfaces – it’s black and white mechanics versus a multi coloured universe of improbability – the two have nothing in common.
Creativity is above all a human thing. It’s visceral, and raw, but inherently fragile at the same time. And we feel it won’t ever change. At beyond, we love admitting that we are human, and, without being too precious or over-protective towards our sensitive creative brains, we are open to making things better – we have of course tried things out, but we know the results.
© beyond copyright 2019