July 31, 2004

your company needs you now more than it ever did

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More thoughts on "How To Be Creative":

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

Nor can you bully a subordinate into becoming a genius.
Since the modern, scientifically-conceived corporation was invented in the early half of the Twentieth Century, creativity has been sacrificed in favor of forwarding the interests of the "Team Player".

Fair enough. There was more money in doing it that way; that's why they did it.

There's only one problem. Team Players are not very good at creating value on their own. They are not autonomous; they need a team in order to exist.

So now corporations are awash with non-autonomous thinkers.

"I don't know. What do you think?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"

And so on.

Creating an economically viable entity where lack of original thought is handsomely rewarded creates a rich, fertile environment for parasites to breed. And that's exactly what's been happening. So now we have millions upon millions of human tapeworms thriving in the Western World, making love to their Powerpoint presentations, feasting on the creativity of others.

What happens to an ecology, when the parasite level reaches critical mass?

The ecology dies.

If you're creative, if you can think independantly, if you can articulate passion, if you can override the fear of being wrong, then your company needs you now more than it ever did. And now your company can no longer afford to pretend that isn't the case.

So dust off your horn and start tooting it. Exactly.

However if you're not paricularly creative, then you're in real trouble. And there's no buzzword or "new paradigm" that can help you. They may not have mentioned this in business school, but... people like watching dinosaurs die.

Posted by hugh macleod at July 31, 2004 6:41 PM | TrackBack
Comments

What we need in this country are more entrepreneurial ventures because there simply aren't enough openings for the truly creative and gifted. Someone needs to stop spending their time and effort making other people rich and use that insight to benefit themselves... Call it socialistic capitalism, but I say fuck the corporations and take your dusty horn with you out the door. Don't toot it; use it as a Pied Piper to bring others with you.

Posted by: Justin Kownacki at July 31, 2004 7:24 PM

Justin, some people simply don't have the temperament to go it alone (myself included, I suspect). Which is fine, one can't be good at everything.

I wrote the article with them in mind ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at July 31, 2004 7:38 PM

Others have the temperament but not the Rolodexes necessary to raise sufficient financing.

Posted by: Fiat Lux at July 31, 2004 8:53 PM

Good points. I guess I've just become frustrated enough with the "working for" mentality that I can no longer equate it with actual happiness. I suspect that's a personal reaction rather than a nationwide trend.

My Rolodex is a few names in a cell phone and two splintered Outlook archives...

Posted by: Justin Kownacki at July 31, 2004 9:09 PM

Fiat Lux: You don't need a Rolodex to get credit cards, or severance pay, or 401K payouts, or home equity loans, or loans from family and friends. The vast majority of small businesses used those sources as seed money. If you have the temperament, you can find the money. If you can't find the money, you probably don't have the temperament.

Posted by: Katherine at August 2, 2004 4:15 AM

Fiat Lux: You don't need a Rolodex to get credit cards, or severance pay, or 401K payouts, or home equity loans, or loans from family and friends. The vast majority of small businesses used those sources as seed money. If you have the temperament, you can find the money. If you can't find the money, you probably don't have the temperament.

Posted by: Katherine at August 2, 2004 4:17 AM

you should flip the thing over but keep sociopaths at the top, etc - so that the size of the chunk indicates the % of company salary it consumes

Posted by: chris at August 2, 2004 6:01 AM

It's a tough one, especially if being your creative self, in a competitive, bitchy office environment puts you in a position where people decide you are the show off who needs to be ostrasized....

If you toot your horn, and nobody likes the sound, no matter how good it is ( or how good you think it is)........what then?

Posted by: schlingel at August 2, 2004 11:05 AM

Schlingel: go somewhere else, where they like the sound of your horn.

Great series of articles, Hugh. Very inspirational.

Posted by: Stephen at August 2, 2004 11:23 AM

Hmm... So, let's take modern (pop/)punk music. I suppose we could stuff into this model of yours.

"...where lack of original thought is handsomely rewarded creates a rich, fertile environment for parasites to breed."

-The punk bands are parasites. I think this is fair to say because of the lack of originality in the genre (which is already so limited).

"So now we have millions upon millions of human tapeworms thriving in the Western World, making love to their power [chords], feasting on the creativity of others."

-And as you pointed out, "when the parasite level reaches critical mass," the ecology fails. Thus, the bands fail.

Yet, we still have so many of these bands. We still have so little diversity within it.

Posted by: Eric at August 2, 2004 1:07 PM

we need more sociopaths?

Posted by: kideternal at August 2, 2004 3:46 PM

to eric: re: those bands..
regarding the parasites.. it hasn't reached critical mass yet. the Linkin Parks and Good Charlottes thrive because there's still a little space to squeeze in. it'll die out too eventually. remember when the Backstreet Boys were king?

Posted by: gem at August 3, 2004 2:29 PM

I am so sorry to ask you this but what do you mean by creative? Like leaving your day job and "creating"...something that will provide day jobs to others and ultimately to you?

Posted by: David at August 3, 2004 2:31 PM

I'm at the point atm where I had to quit the day job and find another. Sometimes the you have to realize just what part of the anatomy you're in to be wading through tapeworms and act accordingly.

Posted by: Barbara at August 3, 2004 9:05 PM