How to make your creative process more horizontal

Do you know those meetings that end up in someone taking things a teeny bit too personally followed by doors slamming and toilet-crying? Let’s just all do our best to forget them.

Turn your creative process into horizontal teams

Imagine all those physicists arguing about, I don’t know, black holes, interstellar wormholes and whether Pluto is a planet or he needs to grow up and mature a little bit for that yet. They’ve been going on with the same theories for centuries; the amazing thing is they can actually prove or dismiss facts, empirically. 2+2 will always be 4 and if a wild chemist comes stating this might be wrong, well, he’ll be one of those crazy doctors we so dearly love.

What happens in the creative world, though?

Here’s the thing: 2+2 is not always 4 in the creative world. It can be 5, 6, maybe 2 1/2 or even that your car is full of watermelons. Alas, discussions can get a bit tangled between “this is my idea and I’m sure it will work” and “I don’t really know how to say this, Matt, but even my goldfish is bored by your idea”. Creativity has a strong link to our ego because, as it’s not something clearly founded in a scientific method and you put your heart and guts in it, you might feel those very body parts are being attacked when someone at your team states, for no reason in particular, that he/she doesn’t like the way you resolved a creative problem. Sorry, Matt.

How can we say adieu to this problem?

Usually, it’s the ultime voice of the boss who ends up deciding what’s good, bad, evil or sacred. This is not a horizontal process; it’s as triangular as the three Keops pyramids, in fact. Here are some tips to avoid this cul-de-sac situation:

  • Empathy is a must: in meetings and in life.

  • Criticism is of no use as long as it’s not constructive.

  • All ideas are welcome: they might not be perfect in the beginning, but they can open pathways to new and better ones.

  • Never stick to an idea too strongly: it is just an idea, not the door that saved Rose and let Jack die in Titanic (he would still fit).

  • Vote: horizontal is democratic, and democratic is one man, one vote. Voting ideas is a good way to speed up processes in a productive way.

  • Use creative methods like Triggers: they put us all on the same page in an entertaining manner and, in a way, nobody can own an idea as it came through a method. Win-win.