Friday April 9th, 2021

Creativity And Routines? Creative Routines? Why bother?

“It is our own creative freedom that makes us creative, and it is the general framework that gives us security.”

Frank Berzbach

It is rarely said. But working creatively, even working out solutions creatively, means acting in a completely different way than “just” getting something done, i.e. doing what you are told. Or “only” applying what one has been trained to do for a specific situation.

We are generally well prepared for the latter. Primarily, of course, we learn this in school and other institutions of education whose curricula and “pedagogical” practice are geared exclusively towards the transfer of knowledge: Open the head, put the knowledge in, close the head.

This is strange. But most of all, it is dangerous and even tragic.

Because creative work and the associated innovations that are quickly implemented are increasingly decisive for success today. Or failure. It is hard to imagine that things will be different tomorrow.

So let’s hope that as many people as possible realise as quickly that more creativity needs to be taught. That the previous very successful, stable and routine command-and-control culture, which is geared towards maximum efficiency and security, is no longer sufficient. We need the counterpart of a creative, goal-oriented play culture. Better today than tomorrow.

Let’s Do It!

Let us also not forget to do it. By quickly changing the way, with which focus and also with which attitude we train and teach people. And also how we deal with each other and organise ourselves. ( Please let me dream!)

Since it will take a while until politics, economics and professional pedagogy are ready, we will have no choice but to take care of this ourselves in the meantime. So let’s prepare ourselves as best we can for the many situations that will require us to work MUCH more creatively than in the past.

Two good books that come to my mind are by Frank Berzbach. They are less about tangible creative techniques or methods. They focus more on the self-management skills of people who are creative professionals.

Yet although Berzbach is addressing creative professionals, i.e. all those who work in creative jobs (e.g. designers), what he has to say can easily be applied to the rest of the working world (not to mention the world of daily life): managers, engineers, developers, project managers, admins, call-centre agents, doctors, teachers, administrative staff, etc. The reason for this is that production jobs are here to stay.

The simple reason is: production jobs are becoming fewer and fewer, which means that we are ALL (!) moving more and more often into service or support worlds. This in turn means that we will increasingly and almost exclusively have to come up with individual solutions adapted to the customer’s situation. This requires creative skills and competencies.

“The implementation of a good idea is a social process, not a creative one.”
Frank Berzbach

The main difference with the routinised, skilled and also efficient completion of tasks according to handbooks and standards is that in creative processes it is rarely possible to make good or even accurate predictions about the emergence and the finished results. There is uncertainty in many respects as to EXACTLY HOW things will happen and come out.

For our security-loving, risk-averse, even fearful (and in this sense anti-entrepreneurial) economic culture, this is bad news. For it is something completely different from situations in which we can safely make predictions according to input-X-output-Y patterns.

But it doesn’t help. We need other possibilities, other approaches, other thought patterns, indeed a different attitude. You can find out exactly what that means in Frank Berzbach’s books, which – unfortunately – you only get German or French copies.

What Else Comes To My Mind