From the Archives...
The Difference Between Night and Day
[Matt Taylor Journal page 548, May 1, 1983, 6:00PM]
The creative process
cannot be controlled--it can be managed. I do not know one
organization in existence today where the process is managed in
an efficient and self-aware way. This is not to say that there
are no creative organizations--there are; and, there are even
some that deliberately attempt not to block creativity within
their ranks. This is different than the idea of a strong,
systematic, rigorous process of managing the creative process
itself. At best some organizations allow individuals, or small
design groups to flower in comparative freedom--the idea of group
genius or group synergy remains unrealized.
The trick is to understand that the management system cannot
function by trying to "manage the results;" that is,
you cannot fill a room full of people and "manage" them
to become synergistic. If this is tried by direct methods, the
trying will produce the opposite effects. What can be done,
however, is to manage the conditions that promote or block
creativity in people and groups; and, to manage the process of information development
within a group--and to manage the energy field around the group.
Both ends of the scale can be managed--how the coffee cups are
set up and the boundary of the group energy. Both these
"extremes" are in reality the same thing: structure. It
is safe to say that structure in all its guises can be managed,
and nothing else.
This is true, however, only if the concepts of structure and
management are revisualized. These concepts have come to
represent only certain outmoded forms
that are put forth as the nature of structure and management.
thus one hears statements such as: "the creative process
cannot be managed because it depends on spontaneity." The
assumption being that management and spontaneity are
intrinsically at odds with one another. Concepts such as this,
create filters through which the reality of what actually occurs
cannot be seen.
The idea that management is control is one such filter.
Another block is the common inability to understand principles
such as that of scale change; i.e., to maintain
"control" on one level you have to give it up on
Because a paradigm shift
is taking place--the real meaning(s) of these words is
changing--all of us are talking about different things--all of us
are seeing through different sets of perceptual filters.
A new language (sets of models) must be built--and one
consistent with the emerging paradigm. "In the beginning was
the word." Concurrent with this exercise, new sets of
experiences are necessary--people's opinions are proving out to
be true; the definitions are always correct! Managing this
transformation in people is a major task of the transition manager. To do this
the transition manager must be able to see as concrete events
what to most remains pure abstraction: in other words, to see a
As example, common "truth" would have it that
synergy among people is rare--after one discovers synergy s/he
realizes that synergy occurs all the time. It is just in most
cases negative synergy. "Things" were set up for
failure--by observing the environment (structure of) this event
one can begin to establish correspondance between that structure
and "what happened." This is the act of seeing what
management was brought to the affair. The theory of
"opposites" is most useful here. One discovers that all
the "rules" (often confused with structure) have to be
broken in order to succeed.
What drives negative synergy, of course, is fear.
It logically follows, and turns out to be true: that what
drives positive synergy is "non-fear." Real management
of the creative process involves "controlling all that is
not controlled now and letting go with what is.
copyright © 1983, MG Taylor Corporation.
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