August 15, 2006

logic + emotion


Digitas' David Armano's most popular link on his blog, "Logic + Emotion" has been his write-up on the "evolution" of creativity. Basically he advocates for creatives to become more generalized, and for "non creatives" to become a part of the process etc.

With consumer behavior evolving toward a more empowered status—the definition of creativity has shifted from one-dimensional skills to a four-dimensional type of creativity that blends logical thinking with creative problem solving. Individuals possessing this “New Creative Mindset” blend Analytical, Expressive, Curious and Sensual qualities into their thinking process. The result is a holistic approach to creativity that is effective across multiple touch points and experiences.

Can an Information Architect embody this kind of mindset? What about an Account Director? I think as human beings we are all capable of thinking like this. But as designers, communicators, marketers and creators of experiences—for us, it’s even more critical to become multi-dimensional creative thinkers and problem solvers.

One of the troubles we "creatives" seem to suffer too much from, is over-specialisation. We get really good at something- making TV commercials, writing comedy etc- that we forget the big picture. We like doing "Creative Stuff" for our client, but we have genuine zero interest in their actual core business. We're too busy flying off to LA on filmshoots etc etc.

Those days seem to be quickly coming to an end...

Posted by hugh macleod at August 15, 2006 12:09 PM | TrackBack

How do I link to your blog? It seems that such links affect Gaping Void's ranking on Technorati and I want to do my part toward advocating your cartoons and your originality.

Posted by: Sheamus at August 15, 2006 12:56 PM

Hmmmm. Differentiate yourself by becoming a generalist ... after all, you're unique. Just like everybody else.

Posted by: Mike Peter Reed at August 15, 2006 2:58 PM

The association of creativity with purely creative arts always bugged me - I came bottom in art class two years running and yet I am very creative in terms of thought and what might be termed art direction. Isn't the artistic side for want of a better word just a "technical" extension of the creative thought, albeit a highly skilled one?

As for generalisation - the goal is to be a deep generalist, so that for example one can talk the finance directors language. The best reason for doing an MBA that I ever heard came from a creative who said he did it so he could tell the FD to fuck off.

Posted by: John Dodds at August 15, 2006 3:53 PM

I didn't read it as saying we should just become generalists - the spike in the T is about developing knowledge/talent in depth, with a distinctive character. The wings at the top of the T are about branching out into an understanding of other disciplines. So you can have an idiosyncratic talent or niche knowledge, and/or an original combination of complementary disciplines.

Posted by: Mark McGuinness at August 15, 2006 6:59 PM


Seems to me that one of the pre-reequisites for being creative in your field is to be become a master of your subject, and of related subjects, to such an extent that unusual solutions present themselves to you.

ie - before you can be truly creative, you need to have worked bloody hard at it. Otherwise you become a 'Young British Artist', trying to pass off unmade beds and pickled goats as art.

Posted by: Andy at August 15, 2006 9:45 PM

Caterina Fake ( has a post about the book that most influenced me about creativity. It's 'Creativity' by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi. He agrees with some of the comments above, such as the need to be deep yet broad, as well as examining creativity outside the creative arts. Anyone to whom I've recommended this book over the years has been changed by it in some positive, affirming kind of way.

Just a note on the generalist comments: learning the 'vocabulary' and basic processes of the industries to which I've consulted in marketing (energy, telecom, tech, fashion, government, etc.) has been an essential part of my creative life and has turned around some clients' poor views of consultants. When I actually understand the difference between, let's say, geophysics/geology or ROI/ROCE or jupe/jupon ... the eyes tend to light up in the room. :-) Plus, it's come to be more authentic and interesting work for me.


Posted by: Shazz at August 15, 2006 11:48 PM

Being creative has absolutely nothing to do with being a specialist at anything, Andy.

I know way too many "creatives" (and so-called artists) who aren't creative at all. (That applies to creative agencies as well, by the way.) Ability and talent don't necessarily denote creativity.

Five years ago, I knew nada about faucets or faucet design. Inside of a year, I was managing innovation projects for a fairly large faucet manufacturer. Three years later, my team and I had completely reinvented a number of plumbing products that you'll probably soon start running into. In that case (as in most), it took a fresh pair of eyes and an outsider's mindset to bring innovation to a tired, uninspired industry filled with hard working "specialists".

More often than not, being too much of a specialist gets in the way of chronic, sustainable creativity. To a great extent, truly creative professionals are way too curious about the world around them to ever want to be categorized as specialists.

Posted by: olivier blanchard at August 16, 2006 2:48 AM

i couldn't agree more hugh. the "glamourous" days of being a "creative" are over. ideas can, and should come from anyone who is creative. the very idea of identifying specific people as "creative" is ludicrous when you think about it.

Posted by: veedub at August 16, 2006 2:53 AM

Hi... just found this...

...and thought you may be interested in knowing about it. Keep up the great work... and btw... where do I get Stormhoek in the Bay Area? I've looked for it but couldn't find it.



Posted by: Daniel at August 16, 2006 3:48 AM

Hi... just found this...

...and thought you may be interested in knowing about it. Keep up the great work... and btw... where do I get Stormhoek in the Bay Area? I've looked for it but couldn't find it.



Posted by: Daniel at August 16, 2006 4:15 AM

I loathe both the word and concept of the word "creative", when used as a noun.

Posted by: Hugh MacLeod at August 16, 2006 9:33 AM

Wow, some really good thoughts here. Part of the rationale behind this post is to get people thinking. I'm with Oliver in many ways. I believe that inclusive creativity will trump exclusive or "elite" creativity.

The 30 second spot, ego driven, pri madonna "brand" of creativity will be de-emphasised while teams of diverse "generalists" pool together their talents to come up with the future Google's and Flicker's of the world. Many of these people will not even be considered "creative"

Talent will still be talent. But like Oliver said, a great idea can and should come from anywhere. Keep in mind, this is all contextual. Take a look at Hugh, his cartoons have his fingerprints all over them. He presents a unique perspective. Then take a look at which blends a fluid commerce experience with interactive entertainment. As Hugh put it, the individual who's only concerned about flying off to the next photo shoot is not best equipped to direct that kind of intricate experience which has a lot of moving parts. Unless that is--they think about the shopping experience, brand, interaction, all in the same breath.

Someone once said that you hire and Ad person and you get advertising. All I'm saying is that we need to look outside of the "creative" ways that have worked for the past 40 years in the traditional Advertising model. So be curious. Be very curious.

Posted by: David Armano at August 16, 2006 5:44 PM

Olivier, I take your point...what I was trying to say was that the 'hard working specialists' you refer to may be good at their niche, but don't know/haven't explored enough around the fringes necessarily to be able to see the wood for the trees.

I'm personally not a 'creative'...however my father is a prolific research scientist who comes up with discoveries while sitting down for dinner, because he has an insatiable curiosity about not just his area of expertise, but others as the point where there are probably only a handful of people in the world that have in-depth knowledge and expertise in the areas that he does.

But that knowledge and understanding isn;t something that came overnight...he worked damn hard to build it up, and the 'karma' of that hard work is that solutions often just present themselves, like bubbles from his subconscious.

So in a sense I do agree with you...I probably didn't make my initial point very clearly...its not enough to get good at your own area only.

I imagine some people have ideas like Hugh, and some people can draw like Hugh, and some people can blog like Hugh, but not many that can combine all three into something that is greater than the sum of its parts.


p.s- Hugh, I accept cash as well as cheques ;-)

Posted by: Andy at August 17, 2006 12:11 AM

In fact John Dodds hit the nail on the head - one way to becoming creative is to be a deep generalist, a master of all trades...a renaissance man.

Although at the other end, I also accept that a fresh perspective can be brought by someone who isn't bound by the rules of the game...but that isn't necessarily true creativity, more the ability to observe the truth through unfiltered eyes and see things for what they are.

Creativity requires going that step bring together different disciplines to obtain insights or make discoveries, that haven't been done before.

Posted by: Andy at August 17, 2006 12:19 AM

Expect grammar error, im tired from lack of food or sleep. Email me if you would like to know more.

All Life from the cell to the animal are born with a main purpose that they all able to figure out on there own. All before animals, Were driven by a force powerfull enough to live and multiply until death. Animals posess the same drive to live and multiply until they die, But animals have an accompaniment of intellect as well. The intellect is granted emotion to bring logic(lifeless) to life to own its own Precise manipulative ability(logic(dead thought/Boring to a human:How many people will sacrifice being happy for A calculating machine!!??any one?!?!How many of you have always wanted a pet or a friend??!??!). There is no (logical)Reason to live, want friends, commit suicide or try create something unique from all else before it or do anything. It is the NATURE of cell life to proceed forever with limitless ability to create that which never previously existed(Originality grows as the species grows). Evolution' newest innovation is the combination of it's limitless power and an intellect. The power is to great for the intellect of an animal. Survival is Prominent over a dechiphered solution.
The Human intellect is powerful enough to dis obey its own instinct to survive, Hence Suicidal tendency. Why are we blind to the truth of what we are? Because we are not simply logic(true logic does not register to a humans(even while using a computer). Human emotion or the source of survival instinct is dependent on the Calculated decision of the intellect. Intellect=problem solution. Life gave itself intellect, because life has a problem, the effect of a brains exertion of ability is morality(The Answer). Of all of our self declared wisdom we havent perfected morality. Why? Because we say logic prevails because its based on out side stimuli. We see emotional stimuli as illogic(which is true). Emotion(life) is not logic, so how can they become one? The logic deciphers life must be possible because it exists, and existance of the illogical creates the unanswered question(purpose). Example if intellect is exerted with out emotion(passion) boredom(Urge to do something, Anything but what you are trying to do right now) Logic is the destroyer of life because its function is to create an end to the problem solving process. Our Source of inspiration to Create legend is powered by the infinite Force of nature. Prevails. Life is constantly self adjusting which can be simplified to an easier solution. If the intellect plays along. Morality is the key to forming TRUTH. What is truth(That which applies to ALL LIFE) Logic is lifes sworn emeny but life continues to reign supreme over all. Life the Driving force behind physical, Intellectual, and all else that understands nature. The only way to understand nature is to be nature. This is why the dog becomes(huMAN's best friend) A best friend is some one who understands more than logically comprehendable. What experience as we feel emotion is the limitless force of infinity. Infinite Drive with limintless possibility goal= sum of both EQUAL intellect and emotion. The Design of our minds is superior, But our wills are left weak in action lacking purpose. I've logically deciphered what instinct is made of and whether or not it can be trusted. I veiwed nature. I have learned the all powerfull meaning. By the way dogs can love, Humans may harness true love after mastering the art of morality(the most precise form of natural selction in existance) Can we out smart a computer? Always! Is the T.v. worth love and devotion? haha . Does Nature and all life its self hold more meaning then anything lifeless?
A measurement of evolutionary process(only aplies to humans)is the creation of Something True to all humans.
Art is the human spirit(life) given to that which logically should not posess life.

Posted by: jDez at November 14, 2006 11:05 PM