Oct 17, 2017

Working Alone, Together: Where to Draw Creative Energy?

There are two types of creatives:

  • Creative Introverts: People who work in seclusion, and are fueled by their own thoughts.
  • Creative Extroverts: People who gather energy from human interaction and collaborating with others.

I fall into the Creative Extrovert camp. I am at my best when mashing ideas with another fast-thinking, creative person. We bounce ideas back and forth, make connections, and push each other to see new possibilities.

What works best for me can drive an introvert nuts. A Creative Introvert can have all their mental and emotional creativity sapped with a freewheeling brainstorming session. The group expects each participant to throw out ideas, but the Creative Introvert needs time to digest and push ideas around on their own.

There is no plus or minus to each creative type. Everyone is creative, and everyone can contribute ideas. This is very positive, because networks will always outperform individuals in generating breakthrough ideas.

The challenge is how to organize teams to empower both Creative Introverts and Creative Extroverts to contribute equally.

Creativity Gets Typecast

People tend to perceive and foster creativity from their own style. Creative Extroverts gravitate towards brainstorming and group collaboration, while Creative Introverts seek out solitude and deep thinking.

A leader will typically organize his or her team to generate ideas based on how they create ideas. The leader isn’t being biased. Rather, they’re organizing people in a way that seems natural.

The problem with approaching creativity from your own style is it creates winners and losers. Not everyone can contribute equally when they are pushed out of their creative type.

In a team setting, effective ideation empowers both Creative Introverts and Creative Extroverts.

Working Alone, Together

At Sticky Branding, we engage Creative Introverts and Creative Extroverts equally in our projects. We describe the approach as “working alone, together.”

Working alone gives you time to research, write, find inspiration, and think about the problem. There’s no one looking over your shoulder, or asking you to have a flash of brilliance. You can just focus on the task at hand.

Working together, is the follow on step. We bring the group back together so the individuals can share their progress and the ideas that they are generating. This empowers the team to build upon each other’s ideas. They can group and push the concepts, and find ways to generate even more breakthroughs.

Working alone, together has two key benefits:

  • Avoid Creative Typecasting: The process plays to both creative types, and it empowers the team to bring out the best in each other.
  • Avoid Groupthink: Brainstorming sessions have a nasty habit of driving the group to consensus. By playing to the strengths of Creative Introverts and Creative Extroverts you avoid one idea dominating the others.

Create Space to Create

There are no rules to creativity. All you can do is push yourself to come up with cool ideas.

The challenge of creativity emerges in a team setting. The way you generate ideas is personal, and you can’t expect everyone else on your team to have your style.

The best leaders recognize the styles and approaches of both Creative Introverts and Creative Extroverts, and empower each to succeed. Working alone, together engages everyone to contribute fully in the creative process.

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