Saturday, March 8, 2008

Co-Creating :: The Power of Two

In my last post, I presented an eBook that dealt with ways to stay focused when writing, because writing is, for the most part, a solitary endeavor. In this post, we are going to look at the power of tapping creativity with others.

One item I touch upon regularly is that much of creativity comes from changing your perspective. If you can see everyday objects in a new way, you can them present them in a way that is more consistent with your unique artistic vision. Sometimes this means finding new details in relationships between different objects, people, opinions, perceptions, or any combination of those. And sometimes, it’s just about looking at a solitary object from a different frame of reference.

The Power of Two
When you co-create with someone, the ability to change your frame of reference and find something unique in relationship is magnified tremendously. Indeed, having another person creating with you means working with a frame of reference that is naturally different from your own. You don’t need to try looking at something differently; your co-creator is doing that.

What develops, then, is two people with different perspectives and views trying to bring them together. Nearly always, the end results of distinctly different than what either could have accomplished as individuals. If you have ever worked at an ad agency, the dynamics between a copywriter and art designer are essential in creating something special and new. It magnifies the creativity.

Take The Beatles, for example. John and Paul were arguably the greatest songwriting team in the history of rock music. Post-Beatles, however, their solo efforts sounded distinctly different from The Beatles. While both were able to go on to successful solo careers, I would argue that John, without Paul’s songwriting sensibilities, was given to sentimentalism. And Paul, without with John’s primal passion, was much more predictable.

It’s the magic in co-creating that makes some works of art timeless.

Beyond Creating
When my grandmother recently passed, I took some time to really reflect on our relationship and why she was so important to me. Beyond her incredible character, my grandmother is the one who sewed the seeds of creativity in me. She was not a writer or a musician. I don’t think “artistic” is a word that was ever used to describe her. What she knew how to do, though, was build relationships.

She would take me to the store and we would get paint-by-number sets and do them together. When I was learning guitar, she would ask me to learn songs she liked. She never made cookies for me, she asked me to help her make cookies. It was the nurturing of relationship and the ability to work together to achieve something new that showed me, beginning at a very young age, how rewarding it was to create…and how special it can be to create something new with someone else.

Your Homework
When you are creative, you likely have creative friends. Call one tonight and pitch an idea. Perhaps you have a photographer friend who has images that will inspire your writing. Perhaps the two of you can go to new location, while one writes and the other snaps pictures; then bring the two together and see how it works. Then figure out how you can make it work even better.

Or you can simply call a friend to come over and bake cookies with you. I bet they’ll taste better that way.


Jim Moon said...

Geoff, great post on co-creating I really appreciate it. A couple different cool things happen when you journey down the path of co-creating:

1. The end result gets better. Whether you’re painting a picture or creating a podcast, a fresh set of eyes (or ears, in my case) really helps bring forth the content.
2. Tasks become easier. No longer are you the only one working on the project, you have help.
3. Your friendship gets stronger. Co-creating with someone you enjoy hanging around with, really tightens your bond with that person.
4. Your creative process gets stimulated and you become more creative.

Although co-creating May not always be easy, due to the fact that people are different and they have different opinions, views, or perspectives on situations.

I have recently started using the co-creation process by including my friend Steve J within my podcasts. It really has taken the podcast down a different road, change is good.

Keep up the great work Geoff!

Jim Moon

Jason Simon said...

Creativity is not an attribute realized among minds that think alike, but rather through dialogue among collaborators presenting different views, approaches, and experiences - drawing upon human difference! It is through creative efforts that new ideas emerge, which build upon or replace ideas that were once new themselves