From the Archives...

The Difference Between Night and Day

[Matt Taylor Journal page 548, May 1, 1983, 6:00PM]
Instead, Colorado

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 another.

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 new structure.

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. All rights reserved
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