Ask yourself two questions:
Are you a creative?
Are you creative?
Answering no to the first question shouldn’t mean you can’t answer yes to the second.
Nonetheless, in our industry, and the wider world, the word “creative” has changed its meaning. From a certain way of thinking to the job title of an exclusive club.
The misconception is that you are only a creative if you can draw, write copy, or produce something visual using Creative Suite. Or perhaps because you sit in a trendy café in front of your Mac, nursing a coffee and eating smashed avocado.
Yet there is a huge difference between being a creative and being creative.
Being a creative simply means you’re making a living from a visual or conceptual aspect of your creativity. Yet other job roles demand just as much creative spark. Even if the job titles don’t let on.
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It’s time to rethink creativity
Somewhere down the line, the term a creative reared its arrogant head and began to monopolize the definition of creativity, devaluing the facets of creative-thinking that don’t result in a visual or conceptual output.
So take a moment and rethink creativity.
- What is creative thinking?
- What isn’t it?
- What does it mean to approach something creatively?
- What does the creative process demand of you as a creative thinker?
- And at its best, what can this process achieve?
Scrap your long-held definition and build one anew. If you’re open to it. It might just change the way you think, the way you work and the results you can generate.
What is creativity?
At its heart, creativity is about problem-solving and lateral thinking.
Some of the most creative thinkers are those using Excel and PowerPoint to reach creative solutions, rather than Photoshop or Cinema 4D.
Here’s an example. Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. Tell me that guy isn’t creative! Or Russel Crowe in A Beautiful Mind? And he’s not drawing storyboards.
It’s time for a broader understanding of what it means to be professionally creative. It’s time to commonly accept that we can generate creative responses that aren’t visual. It’s time to give everyone their creativity back.
The commoditization of creativity
Not everyone is fulfilled by being a creative. For many people, it’s just not all that. Yet the commoditization of creativity is entirely understandable.
It’s a very human thing to value the idea of being unique. Of being able to bring something unique to a given situation. And there are many unique forms of creativity.
The creative (as we know it) was born out of the advertising industry. Where copy met art and got results.
From there, the visual niche of creativity took over. Demoting all others.
The separatism of the creatives
Against the backdrop of AI’s steady rise to the mainstream, many of us are looking to define ourselves in ways that avoid the encroaching remit of this potentially all-knowing, all-doing, all-terrifying technology. No one wants to be replaceable.
In our recent report on the rise of AI marketing – which involved interviews with 100 senior figures in marketing – we learned that 70% of these company leaders viewed creative-thinking as the most irreplaceable skillset.
Yet the separatism of the creatives shouldn’t just be understood as a response to the rise of new technologies. So many factors play a role.
Most crucially, it is the doing of the creatives themselves (who have built for themselves a sense of safety, a sense of place, and a sense of value) and of the industry that has evolved around them, where clients need to feel confident that they are buying creative ideas from professional creatives.
That is the situation in which we find ourselves. Creatives sit (or perhaps lounge) over here – in the creative corner. Non-creatives sit over there – in the tacitly understood non-creative corners.
Yet conceptual thinking isn’t unique to creatives. Creatives don’t hold the keys to ideas. And being creative isn’t an exclusive right held by a small group of quaffed often-frilly thinkers.
Yet unfortunately, this exclusivity has become entrenched. Alienating those who think they are not entitled to wear the creative hat. When in reality, accounts and production teams have just as valid ideas but feel unable to speak up because they feel that they “aren’t creative enough”.
Redistribution of creativity
This is where the rethink comes into play. Remember, the core of professional creativity is problem-solving. Thinking loosely around a given situation to develop the most impactful solution.
Accounts teams and strategists are on the front line, working with clients. Meaning they have the best brand and industry knowledge, and the best insights into the situation on hand.
Which is a huge advantage. As good ideas need to be insight and performance driven. Otherwise, they’re not good ideas, they’re just ideas.
The way forward…
The truth is that someone will always need to take responsibility for the overall idea, design, and concept of a project.
But we would really encourage people in the creative sphere to be more open to the ideas of others. And for people who are not in the role of a creative to feel confident that their ideas and insights are worthwhile and that they will be listened to.
This may require a change of process or a change of culture. Ideally both. Creating an environment where ideas from all sides are valued and considered.
It’s definitely not true that “there is no such thing as a bad idea.” There are tons of bad ideas out there. But the most important thing is that when you combine strategic thinking, unique and varied insights and great aesthetics you will always get a better end product than when one person tries to do it all.
Guest author: Matt Beveridge is a London Based Executive Creative Director. After working in Music Video Production & Advertising, he moved on to work at iris Worldwide for 7 years, before leaving to co-found production company Pebble Studios (pebblestudios.co.uk) and digital performance agency Big Rock (wearebigrock.com). In our studio, we embrace all forms of creativity to offer the right creative solutions for our clients. Whether you’re looking for creative ways to boost digital performance for your growing business, or you’re looking to create a piece of stand-out digital content, our industry-leading team of data heads and designers have got you covered.