On creativity, Steve Jobs said:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
On our recent team retreat, we were instructed to make a collage that showed our vision for where the company was headed. After a short time, we all shared our creations and talked about what our vision was.
One thing that became apparent was that each member of our team had a very different approach to what a collage should be. Some started off with a large central image, and then sprinkled words and images around it. Others had very little imagery, and instead focused on finding words that fit what they were thinking. Some were abstract in their imagery, others were very literal. I ended up thinking more about form, texture and color than the literal content of my clippings.
As I reflected on the quote above and this exercise, I started to think about how beneficial collaboration can be. If the nature of creativity is to synthesize experiences, imagine being able to pool our experiences together, and then allow for any number of insights to grow from there.
One idea I never bought in to is that the designer always knows best. While I can argue with a degree of authority on any number of fields within my purview, I have always considered it folly to hold oneself above new information. And that is exactly what collaboration offers, a new experience to synthesize.