Wednesday, 15 June 2016 13:36

Design is Design is Design

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Design is Design is Design
Can creatives run a business?

Creative minds design everything from art, literature to cars. It is hard to image the world without creative artistic people and their leading edge innovations.

“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.” Steve Jobs

According to senior writer, Carolyn Gregoire at the Huffington Post, “… psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine.”

Going a step further, “It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University. “Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success,” said Kaufman. “Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.”

We found that these attributes parallel in an uncanny way how creatives run a business. In general, business practices are routine, and some people, find them boring and mundane. To be sure, being creative with accounting practices could lead to legal trouble with the IRS. The business practices of customer service, sales and marketing also seem to fall into this area. Business needs to have processes in these areas in order to grow, to run smoothly, and operate efficiently. Once the proven processes are in place, they can be replicated by staff or consultants.
For example, some companies have a structure and their entire reputation built on creativity. It’s why people contact them for services, looking for a unique design component, like in landscaping, website, or kitchen design.

            • A landscape is designed; it is worked into a beautiful outside living space for the family.
            • A website is coded and published based on the customers’ experience with the product
            • A kitchen is designed to fit the lifestyle of the family who will use it.

Everything is awesome, and everyone is in a euphoric fog with high fives all around. Then, reality begins to set in a week or so later, and the ‘new’ of the design begins wearing off. The weeds take over the yard, the information and dates are passed, and the kitchen floors are sticky. It is unlikely that the creatives gave any thought or plan about maintenance. A maintenance plan is a required but often ignored part of a successful design. But planned maintenance—ho-hum!- is often not within the skill set or the realm of creatives.

To conclude, it is a catch twenty-two situation: You have to be creative to envision the design of your client’s dreams, but have to run the business profitably and efficiently to be able to continue to produce the designs. That involves the mundane tasks of work scheduling, accounting, tax and bill paying, invoicing, and other tasks. A successful business plan allows and compensates for personalities and shortcomings, first by recognizing them, and then by hiring strength to balance weaknesses. What’s at stake, of course, is customer satisfaction, return business, and marketplace reputation.


Last modified on Wednesday, 15 June 2016 13:48
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