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People (Are we Penguins or Bees)

Probably the most controversial chapter of this book is the one you are currently about to read.

This book is about technology and in particular design – what type of people are needed in this sphere, the creative kind. The free thinkers, visionaries and normally they have the big mouths too. The human element in every aspect of life has both good and bad properties. Knowledge in general gets used for good and bad and not surprisingly because we decide this.

A good example to better explain this is a person that creates a weapon, he or she may have created that weapon to be used to defend our country a noble cause, yet that very weapon will get into the hands of evil men who’s purpose is to cause destruction. The weapon cannot choose good or bad, it was made for a purpose if it’s a gun then it’s purpose would be to fire a bullet. The person holding the gun determines if he is using the weapon rightfully or wrongfully.

The human element is needed and there is no way around it, it has been said in times past that a computer is only as intelligent as the person who created it and so this simple statement holds many truths. We need humans, even though Terminator seems to give the idea that robots can run without us, it is still many years in the future before we (the humans) get taken out.

But lets be real, we’re not designing nuclear weapons here, we interested in technology and design in particular. The character of persons you have working in your team will determine the success of that team. There are no two ways about it. Companies and individuals have got to start taking the human element more serious. The sad reality is that the wrong people are in creative positions and because of this arises many problems that can only be fixed by having the right person in this position. Take any industry in the world and you will see that you cannot have a cook designing weapons, just like you cannot have a fisherman building websites; it does not make sense in fact just saying it sounds crazy.

It’s so clear to see that we should never do it, yet why are we? We need to have web designers designing websites. That is the long and short of it, you cannot Google this for a different solution, actually maybe you should and then Google would reply “dumbass” because really that’s what we are when we have fisherman and bartender and cooks designing websites.

Fine, we can see that but does this now mean I have to fire the creative department or is there a solution to the people problem?

The solution likes in the department – as strange as it sounds it is fact. The creative department or team requires creative people. Lets not be confused creative is not just the person who can create a work of art master piece, creativity extends far deeper than that, creative people are everywhere.

A creative person is not an alien, a lot of the time a creative person is the average Joe Soap. The deciding factor is the attitude that he or she has; this is the secret ingredient in a creative person – Attitude!

Now you’re probably saying “he’s off his head” attitude can’t be all that’s needed to be a creative person. You’re right there is more involved however, without the right attitude there can be no passion and without the passion there will certainly be no interest in growing ones skill and knowledge.

This also means that it is something that can be harnessed and developed, the more you practice what you need to do to have the right attitude the easier it becomes. Pretty soon you’ll be a master at it. Once you have attitude right you will automatically star seeing things differently, you will start to love your mind, because you are aware that everything you need to do comes out of that mind of yours. Science teaches us that we use only 10% of the full potential of our minds, that should be a shocking statistic and should make you think about what we as humans have done with that 10%, sent a man to the moon, built a brick shape object that allows us to talk to each other over vast areas of land (mobile phone), build objects that float on the sea (ship), built objects that fly in the air (plane) these wonders of technology and design were done by – you and I – everyday ordinary people. These people were creative but think back and imagine if Hendry Ford came to you and said I want to build a car, I most certainly would have laughed at him after he explained what a car was! “A box on wheels that you sit in, are you insane?” Yet here we are, years later with Lamborghini and Ferrari and Mercedes Benz and BMW and VW and all these other brands of vehicle, no one is laughing now.

Being a creative person requires having the ability to respect other people and there ideas. The promotional manager at Primedia Broadcasting would say “No idea is a bad idea” and this correct, we have to appreciate the ideas and concepts people create not because we’re being nice but because we may not entirely see what they do and to shoot them down without a hope is limiting them and us. Ideas and concepts are interesting in there own right, they are very difficult at times to explain because it’s our mind working at full power and what tends to happen is if we don’t grab that idea or concept and save it, it may be lost forever. Which is why a creative person cannot work a 9 – 5 job, it’s impossible because you are not stretching or using the mind. You’re simply a robot completing assigned tasks.

True creative people can be sitting at home watching a commercial in between a big soccer game and wham an idea or concept will hit them. Normally the excitement hits them so hard that they either have to tell someone, write it down to remember it or try to implement it immediately.

Creative people are always trying to find easier, smarter ways of working, they are not conformed to the standard and for very good reason, technology has proven that it stands still for no man, and because of this man has had to keep up it is these creative people that are the one that find a solution to help bridge the gap between where technology is and we are as individuals or companies.

Creative people can add such a great deal of value just in the moral of the team, they are focused on what they are doing and will pass the spirit of creativity to everyone around them. There thinking is unique, I heard Robyn Sharma give a talk on leadership and recall his words “If you have not failed once every seven days then you have not stretched yourself” Failure to creative people are stepping stones to success, a failure should allow you to challenge your mind. If you think about it without failure and the need to succeed, why would you need to think at all?

We should take the wise approach and start building on the foundation of our mind, exercise your brain, get the blood flowing and use it to be a creative person. It is again a matter of the mind, take the poor old penguin as n example, he has the wings yet cannot fly, he wondles along and is officially a bird but without flight.

Humans are like that and if left like that we would more than happily stay in this poor state. But we have wings and must spread them and fly.

A creative person is one who wants to always know “why” or “how”, this is key to a creative person because knowledge is valuable and the sooner we see this, the quicker we can implement it in our own lives. Creative people stand as having the ability to motivate themselves, however don’t fool yourself into thinking that they will never get unhappy, they are still human and which by the very nature means that they come with 10 tons of emotional baggage anyway.

Creative people will also pretty much nag or beg or do whatever is needed to obtain what they want – I think the nice word for this one is persistence. This is a good characteristic to have it means you trust what you do and have faith in it. That is a good sign of a creative person.

I have learnt over the years to appreciate cartoons, it takes a lot of imagination to come up with some of the characters they do, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck while we have bunnies and ducks, it still takes a lot of brain power to make it a reality in a cartoon for you and I. So the next time you watch an animated movie or a cartoon, appreciate the creative person that worked on project.

While having all these wonderful characteristics, the creative people still need to be professional and able to distinguish between work from play. He or she should have an excellent knowledge of the environment they are in and must constantly be learning. They should also be honest and open – transparency is a golden point in business.

It is also important to have people that add value, this then needs people to change the thinking from I have a job to I have a career. A job is 9 – 5 you do it because you have to, a career is life long, you do it because you want to.

So what’s the conclusion to the matter, well it’s simple if you have people, then train them to have the right attitude and they will be creative, if you are the one trying to be creative then get your head screwed on right and start pushing your limits. You need to fail more to succeed more, you need to fail more to learn more and you need to start thinking outside the box.

Stop being the penguin and start being the Bee. (Why a bee? Bees defy laws of physics, there body is too big and there wings are too small, they by reason should not be able to fly, yet they do. Further to this they take something simple – pollen and create something magical – honey. We should all work at being like the bee.)

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