I recently started attending Creative Mornings a breakfast lecture series for creatives around the world, with a Chapter run by Creative Director, Nate Spees, here in San Diego. It was held in the Moniker Building of the East Village, a section of our city known for its growing arts community (think Williamsburg circa 2006). Immediately I was in awe of what I saw happening. Coming from Brooklyn I had grown quite used to seeing artists everywhere. It was an inherent part of moving to Brooklyn, to pursue your passion or at least spend time with artist types. Until my attendance at Creative Mornings I had no idea such a large amount of artists lived in San Diego. It was as if they all came out of hiding and rapidly created a line that wrapped around the block, and being Halloween was filled with costumes from Kermit the Frog to a Randy Macho Man Savage.
The lecture I attended was that of Dane Danner of Consortium Holdings who provided talk revolved around the idea of SHOCK and how a shocking moment in life, particulary as a child, can resonate with you as an adult and how he used these moments to form a career.
My favorite new part of Creative Mornings however is access to the podcast series it provides, which captures some of the greatest talk from across the globe and provides it in a clean, easy to digest package online and on Itunes (find it here http://creativemornings.com/podcast)
The episode I would love to Reference is from Mail Chimps CEO Ben Chestnut and his concept of management in the creative field, something I've always been interested in especially after reading Laszlo Bock's, Work Rules and Eric Schmidt's How Google Works. Creatives undoubtedly work different than other positions and to understand the creative and empower them often proves to be the critical driving force behind successful companys. With Mr. Chestnut being a creative individual himself I think this further helped prove his theory on creative management. Its almost like you need to think like a creative to manage one...
I highly encourage those of you in a management position in a creative organizaton to listen to the entire podcast, found here http://creativemornings.com/podcast/episodes/ben-chestnut
But just in case you dont have the time I jotted down a few of the major points I believe Eric was trying to drive home.
You have to set up a business to take advantage of generating creativity. Heres a scenario.
The entrepreneur starts a business and the business grow to success. Things go wrong when that original entrepreneur (the creative) steps out of the position and delegates (or hands off) the business to an unsuspecting manager without the original vision.
"Before you know it your whole company is thinking like managers. You're not all managers but you are all thinking like managers. Defending the money machine you made 10 years ago.
No one is making new machines, no one is looking to improve it, you are just defending. Even worse the creative people at the bottom, the assume the only way to move up is to become a manager or think like a manager. Thats where things really start to end. To much order is really horrible. You have to balance it out with disorder and chaos."
From here Mr. Chesnut relates this to physics and entropy, the study of waste and disorder, stating the nature loves chaos.
"Lets say you have a nice orderly studio, but once you let humans in they are going to turn it into a pigsty. But managers hate disorder, its inefficient, it ruins their sorting and if they had their way entropy would be 0. No chaos=no work no output. No pigsty=no pigs, no pigs, no bacon. CHAOS is good! My job as a manager is to find ways to create chaos."
An example of how Chestnut does this is to let innovation happen. Avoid meetings, let people create. What he does is find out what people are working on and how he can make those little pieces fit together.
If you are in a management position for a creative company or a creative or really just anyone who may need to take the lead I think this way of thinking is incredibly applicable. In our modern world I think the new generations are quick to look at how things are down and try to improve it. If something is not working this generation is not afraid to voice their opinion, work to change it, and increase productivity as a result. Its just up to the managers to free themselves of their preconceived notions on management and learn to work together with the creative in symbiosis.
Thats where the real magic happens.