Can You Create On The Spot?
When it comes to creating something, are you a planner or an improviser?
In my work, I’ve started to distinguish between different creative approaches. Some people are much more comfortable with a well-planned and thought out process. Certain projects or situations necessitate this kind of approach.
Other people and circumstances call for a more spontaneous experience of the creative process. Its about allowing ideas and expressions to flow through you in the moment.
Stage vs. Street
One of my guilty pleasures is watching So You Think You Can Dance. As a dancer-at-heart, I live vicariously through the amazing people on the show. I love watching them overcome their fear and give it their all.
This season, the show has split the contestants into two groups: Stage vs. Street.
What I noticed is that the stage dancers are more on the planned side of creativity. They rehearse their routines, knowing every move in advance. They are used to learning choreography, and what they are able to produce is incredible.
The street dancers are more on the spontaneous side of creativity. They often hit the dance floor with no real idea of what is going to come out. They know their style and their core moves, but they are truly in the moment, creating something new in front of an audience… and a tv camera! That experience has it’s own power, even beyond the actual dance moves.
When it came time for the street dancers to learn choreography, many of them struggled. They had never planned their dancing before, not to mention having to learn someone else’s steps.
But I would imagine that if the stage dancers were made to improvise something with no preparation, many of them would struggle as well.
It’s a continuum
You see, the spontaneity of creativity is a continuum. Okay, that’s a lot of big words, but here’s what I mean.
Very rarely is something completely spontaneous or completely planned. There are elements of both.
A speaker who has outlined his talk goes on the stage with a plan, but doesn’t know the exact words that will come out of his mouth.
Another speaker may have written their entire speech out, choosing to read it from a podium.
Those two approaches are at different points on the continuum. They also feel different to the audience.
We React Differently
Planned creativity is often more polished. It strives for perfection. Although we all know that there is no such thing!
Experiencing a highly planned demonstration of creativity can cause the audience to be amazed by the artistry, the ideas, and the talent that is displayed. It also allows the audience to think critically about it, knowing each piece was carefully chosen.
Spontaneous creativity provides a unique experience that will only happen once, and as observers we react to it differently.
In watching an act of spontaneous creativity, we are drawn in not by the attempt to approach perfection, but by the uncertainty of watching the creative process unfold. The vulnerability of the creator brings out our empathy and we want to support them. We are less likely to judge the outcome. Instead we simply enjoy the moment.
Looking at how you create things for your business, where do you fall on the continuum? Sometimes being too far over on the planning side can cause you to become stalled in the process. Is it time to inject a little improvisation? Does that scare you a little?
Leave a comment and let me know. And create on!