Role Models for Creativity

DoorsI found myself in the middle of a pretty cool opportunity yesterday. Dave Gray likes to play with new technologies, and we were experimenting with a virtual Lean Coffee… getting together to solve some ad-hoc issues. The group was myself, Dave, and Mike Bonifer, CEO  of Gamechangers.

Through the magic of dot-voting, the group ended up tackling my question, which was “How do you tame the inner critic?” – which was really a question about finding inspiration and productivity, while pushing through doubt or even simple sloth.  Having such august company online is rare, and I was very interested in Mike’s approach, as he talked about role models during the creative process. The thought that we all can take on roles during a single creative process is new, and somewhat provocative. We are not monolithic people, so it does stand to reason that we may want to think and behave differently as a creative event unfolds.

His framework comes from the art of Dowsing… finding water. Look it up.  We go through these roles:

  • Artist – this is an absence of thought… during this phase we focus on sense, feeling, emotion.
  • Mystic – where we articulate what we have discovered during the Artist phase. We bring our ideas to others – “here is my yield.”
  • Scientist – we subject our creation to objective criteria. How did we do? How and where does it fit with the rest of the universe?
  • Magician – concealment of complexity. This is where the ‘show’ of the artist comes into play.. where we make magic of our creations for others.

I find it fascinating to look at creative people with this new lens. Can you spot these phases in famous creatives? Warhol? Van Gogh, Banksy?

Also seeing these phases, I can better sense where I am hung up, or where I am self-defeating. Very thought provoking.


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