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There’s a story that goes that Pablo Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years.” That’s the thing about true creativity: it’s not a process that can be taught or a switch that can be flicked. It’s inherent in the personality of the creative individual. Creative people are creative by nature. It’s at the core of their being. It’s not a job. It’s a life. Of course, everyone can be creative…to a greater or less extent but only certain people can be successful to the point where they can make a living from it. These days though everyone thinks they can be a copywriter or an art director or a designer. Everyone can read and write, right? And you can buy Photoshop off the shelf. The truth is you can’t. You can’t be any of those unless you eat, sleep and breathe it.
That’s why creative people are “difficult” for managers, directors and other suits to understand. What creative people do is not a 9 to 5 job. It’s an extension of who they are and if you can direct their energies into something meaningful and worthwhile, they’ll amaze you. So it is completely ironic that clients never fully tap the potential of their creative agencies. Think about it: your creative agency is staffed with people whose lives revolve around thinking about new and exciting evolutions for everything. Imagine if you had to ask them to solve an actual business problem for you, instead of getting them to do a variation of what your competition is doing. If any of this post resonates with you, consider this your challenge: find a problem your business has been dealing with, turn it over to your creative agency and let them have a crack at it. They may not come up with the 100% solution but they will definitely surprise you…and that can only be a good thing.