Play, play, play. Do, do do.by Raul Sarrot on 11/09/2012
Creativity, oh, creativity. That magic spark, that random thought, that lucky accident. Creativity and creative processes are challenges that we —as designers— face daily. Which are the paths? Is there a method? How many of those paths do we take naturally? How many have we learnt? How many more have we discovered?
Creative processes, in whichever form and shape, are still being practiced, studied, questioned and explored. Is creativity a result of a process? Is it a ‘finding’ during the act of doing? Is it a natural talent or an acquired knowledge? Or is it a combination of several of these factors?
Recently, I came across a fairly ‘old’ speech from John Cleese (yes, one of the Monty Pythons) in which he talks about creativity. What I found particularly interesting were his insights on how creativity relates to the different ‘modes’ in which we work. He describes these as the close mode (in which we are active, purposeful and potentially stressed and a bit manic) and the open mode (in which we are relaxed, contemplative, humourous and playful). Cleese highlights that we become truly creative only when are on the open mode. Then, we don’t seem to be in any particular hurry and by being curious and playful we are open to great ideas. Certainly, his point of view resonates with the well-researched concept that to be creative we need to ‘keep the ability to play and approach problems in a child-like way’.
However, what Cleese reinforces is that to make any creative idea happen we need to transition between modes. So once we come up with a solution and made a decision, we will only make that idea happen if we become efficient, effective and productive to be able to test and implement that idea. And this will achieved only by being on the close mode. He recommends, to continue with the process we can ‘loop’ this mode-changing exercise, to then become ‘open-mode’ again to understand and test how our creative output is working and what could be improved and so on.
So yes, they key of creativity is to keep on playing. Is to have the time and space to observe and experiment. To delay our decision-making as much as possible to be able to explore options and enjoy ‘the playful aspect on the process of creativity.
Now the key to successful of any creative project is to balance this positive tension, this ‘virtuous circle’ in between the open mode and the close mode. In other words, the tension in between us ‘the creators’ and us, becoming ‘the doers’.
Play, play, play. Do, do do. That’s all I want to say to you.