Creativity trapped in 'the box'
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
“That's so cool that you get to sit there all day and be creative.”
If you're a professional “creative,” you've likely heard that phrase a thousand times. And it makes you want to scream, “It's hardly like that” — especially these days.
In these times of quarter-to-quarter thinking, reduced budgets and the expectation to “jazz it up,” “make it go viral” or “make a logo out of an eagle carrying a vacuum cleaner,” the creative industry has grown, well, not so creative.
Many people clamor to get into this line of work, but now 1 in 4 are thinking of quitting.
Take a look at what folks in the industry in the United States and United Kingdom had to say in a new study titled “Free the Creative” conducted by Getty Images' iStock with KRC Research. The study surveyed more than 400 “creatives” — workers ages 18 to 64 who labor in design or visual arts, production and direction, photography, publishing and advertising or marketing.
The conclusion: The people whose jobs are to be creative are struggling in an increasingly stressful work environment.
Their creativity is under threat from three main barriers: too many responsibilities, lack of time and lack of money.
As a result, nearly one quarter say they spend less than two hours of their day doing “creative work.”
The majority — 60 percent — said they have had great ideas in the past year but not enough time or support at work to achieve what they wanted.
The biggest challenge to working in a creative job is staying inspired. Nearly 70 percent said they want more creative time and 63 percent said they do not have the time they need for creative reflection and inspiration.
Time constraints make these workers feel stuck in a rut because they have too many competing priorities to just sit and think. Another insight: If these workers feel under the gun, they are less likely than others to take risks.
“People spout the mantra, ‘Think outside the box.' But doing that, then executing on things outside the box, create risk,” a creative director at an advertising agency told me. “And clients and executives don't want to take risks anymore.”
Technological advances can be good and bad.
“(It) creates more short-term opportunities because it allows us to turn things out overnight,” he said. “With that, clients think they can delay decisions until the last minute or that we can just create breakthrough ideas in an hour.”
“Truly breakthrough ideas rarely hatch overnight,” say the authors of a Harvard Business Review article titled “Creativity Under the Gun.”
“You may use pressure as a management technique, believing that it will spur people on to great leaps of insight,” they say. But is that the best approach? Short answer: no.
“When creativity is under the gun, it usually ends up getting killed.”
The iStock survey also showed that creative thoughts and ideas are born mostly outside the office.
Most of these professionals seek creative channels outside of work in photography, writing or art. Just think of all the creative juice that could come to life if they were free to create at work.
Write to Andrea Kay in care of USA TODAY/Gannett, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, Va. 22108. Email: email@example.com. Twitter:@AndreaKayCareer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Spring training breakdown: Red Sox 4, Pirates 1; Orioles 9, Pirates 2
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Wrestling programs look ahead to NCAA tourney
- Allegheny County Democrats endorse several incumbents in primary
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye
- Latrobe hospital source of fuel spill
- Outdoors notices: March 9
- ‘Un-American’? That’s Harry Reid, the Senate’s lowly smear artist
- Consensus on how to notify data breach victims lacks
- Pirates’ big risk with pitch-heavy draft focus might soon pay off
- Ex-Colts executive Polian: Approach free agency with caution