Monday, February 21, 2011

Creative Handles and Creativity

One of my most creative and insightful friends, Pat Foltz, sent me a link which shows once again how the creative industry may deny itself creative thinkers by over-simplifying creative challenges.

Corporate creativity (e.g. advertising and marketing) when it works really well emulates the creative arts (e.g. Theater, Music, Dance etc . . .) because it sees itself as a craft which demands intellectual orientation; rather than as an automation that is best enabled by logistical organization.

For example, the latest theory in advertising is that creative solutions will best be wrought by professionals who grew up with the Internet. This theory recognizes communications has gone digital and therefore young people should have the greatest facility for digital communications due to the inference that they grew up with it. The theory offers intuitive appeal because we know that psychology follows the theory of evolution where environmental pressures define traits selected for future success but I struggle with the implications because the theory folds into itself a concern for craftsmanship with what appears to be an automated solution. I think this due to how the industry defines the theory relative to the people working in the industry.

The segment handle to organize the theory reaches for superficial considerations and I question the validity of it due to this.

Young people who are supposed to lead the creative and strategic charge in advertising are called "Digital Natives". Those not age appropriate are known as "Digital Immigrants". One's citizenship in the land of Digital (Native vs. Immigrant) is rooted in one's age.

For one to say that the Millennial Generation are "Digital Natives" because they grew up in the age of the Internet is equivalent to saying all Librarians are quiet and shy because they work in a silent environment.

A person's age relative to media is predictive of their creativity with that media as much as any creative person's age is relative to a problem that needs solving; incidental at best.

The Fast Company article articulates this well when they say, "(Digital Natives) need to behave more like improv actors - 'story building' instead of 'story telling" - so they can respond in real time to an unpredictable audience."

It seems that digital "citizenship" has less to do with age and more to do with mindset.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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