Creativity is a fragile, fickle thing.

I’ve worked in a number of public relations agencies. 

We held brainstorms regularly – when we pitched for a new client, received a new brief, or perhaps just ideas for the Christmas party.

Agency #1 welcomed ideas from anyone.

We (the designers/programmers/copywriters) would often suggest some crazy things – based on a random story we’d recently read or a weird amusing fact. However silly it sounded, the idea would be welcomed and added to the list.

Often, someone would add to the idea, or it would spark off another thought, which ended up growing into a practical application – something the agency would then pitch to the client.

At Agency #2, the brainstorm sessions were completely different.

It felt like a competition for who could suggest the best idea first. There was a lot of ‘but that won’t work because…’ language. 

Unsurprisingly, new ideas rarely came out of these sessions.

Illustration of a group of people not sharing ideas well

I couldn’t help but wonder, had they never learnt about the heart of creativity?

It is a fragile thing, creativity. It doesn’t like to be pressured, asked to appear on cue, and it definitely doesn’t like to be judged.

I describe it as a fabulous, but unreliable friend – a person you love catching up with, but who rarely arrives on time and at the right destination.

Surprisingly often, creativity shows up when you least expect – staring out the window on a bus, while you’re in the shower, or when you’re walking the dog. Pay it the close attention it deserves, because that creative idea will disappear in an instant.

Jonathan Ive says it best, when talking about how Steve Jobs revered the creative process.

“He treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. 

You see, I think he better than anyone understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.”

– Jonathan Ive, former Chief Design Officer at Apple
Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs


How many more ideas would Agency #2 have created, if they hadn’t been so quick to judge?

If you’re looking for a graphic designer who loves hearing about your crazy, wacky, out-there creative ideas, say hello.


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