First published on November 2011.
There is an inherent problem with creativity because creativity deals, almost by definition, with ‘what could be’ rather than ‘what is’, it is very difficult to know when you are not being sufficiently creative; hence creative failures are all too liable to pass unnoticed – and unpunished. If a government department overspends its budget by £20m, there is hell to pay – no end of recrimination, investigations and reports. If, however, a government department under-imagines a solution at a cost of £30m, absolutely nothing happens at all
Creative failures are ‘sins of omission’, yes, but they are no more expensive for that. The result of all this is a dangerous primacy of sequential logic in decisionmaking, since you can be fired for being illogical, but not for being unimaginative.
The result is what I call the ‘creative double standard’. If you have a creative idea, you – perhaps rightly – have to present it for evaluation by all kinds of rational people, to see that it stacks up. BUT THE REVERSE DOES NOT APPLY.
Logical people never feel the need to seek validation of their conclusions from creative people.
No-one of the people who spent £6bn on the High Speed Rail link between London and Folkestone was ever forced to ask the question – are you sure you couldn’t make a greater difference to passenger experience by simply installing wi-fi on the trains?
If you think creativity’s expensive, you should try logic.
Illustrations by Paul Davis - http://copyrightdavis.blogspot.com/