Monday, April 18, 2011

The thinking man's creatives.

I've Been Thinking About Abstract Expressionism: 2009.11.21,
originally uploaded by Julia Kay.
Design Thinking is dead. Well, sort of.
And no, this doesn't mean we can stop thinking. Or that "because it looks cool" flies as a stand-alone concept. That's like ending a debate with "because I said so." You may have won the battle, but you've also rendered the battle meaningless.

The Design Thinking legacy.
Cleverly disguised as a process, Design Thinking became serious business. Less like art and more like thoughtful engineering. Businesses willingly invited quirky creativity to the innovation table.

Design Thinking as an overall descriptor is admittedly confusing.
It's not just design. It's the empathetic perspective that makes something matter. The advertising magic when David Ogilvy changed a homeless man's sign from "I am blind. Please help." to an emotion-evoking "It is spring and I am blind."

Make way for the Creative Quotient.
So what's next in our quest to quantify creativity? According to Bruce Nussbaum's Fast Company article, Creative Intelligence (CQ) is the new Design Thinking. He defines the more inclusive CQ as "the ability to frame problems in new ways and to make original solutions."

Excuse me sir, but I need to verify your CQ.
Who knows, maybe someday we'll have to take a CQ test to get into universities or earn an agency position. You test over 200 and you're a freakin' certified creative genius. Go ahead, acquire your intimidatingly-cool eyewear and refine your bizarre creative rituals. The lesser CQ-scoring minions await your brilliance.

But seriously, can creativity really be assessed?
Someone could individually have a high CQ, but creativity requires fuel from different variables. Project passion, collaboration, and even opposition. Robert Fabricant of Frog Design responds to Bruce Nussbaum's article with some valid considerations inspired by the esteemed Wile E. Coyote.

Whatever we call it, the world needs divergent thinkers.
Fearlessly-curious thought leaders who don't accept "well, this worked last time" as a definitive answer. Smart creatives who explore the messy intersection where multidisciplinary perspectives meet. A team of hybrid technologists, idea writers, strategic planners, and visual visionaries. Here's to the thinking man's creatives, and their crazy new solutions that (gasp)… just might work.


[This piece is cross-posted on The Denver Egotist.]

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