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Do our processes limit creativity?

Some argue that the processes cause us to lose creativity in our work. That they become too controlled by having processes to govern what they do.

I usually answer with the example of an artist or writer. Both of these are being creative, right? Does this mean that an artist or writer does not have a process that he or she follows? No, it doesn’t.

Having written several books myself, I can say that each time I have written a book I have followed a process. Otherwise I would not have seen any results from my work. I was a bit bad at it when I wrote my first book ten years ago, but I’ve learned as I’ve gone along. I learned to be flexible within the structured process.

There are a lot of people who also train in this. They also sell their process for how to write a book or how to paint a painting. “Learn to write your first novel.” What is it if not a process that describes how to collect ideas, sort them, create a story-line, write drafts, and more. All the way to how to contact publishers if you want to, or how to self-publish your book. The same goes for painting a work of art.

Without these processes, there wouldn’t be much. Does it mean that creativity at the canvas or computer is limited. No, of course not. The process does not diminish creativity. Instead, the process is the very condition for creativity to result in anything at all.

Unfortunately, I think the argument that you lose flexibility because you don’t really want anything to control you is often used.

It’s easier not to be tied down to anything, but to be completely free.

I’ve touched on this problem before, which stems from the fact that there are those who don’t want to take responsibility or promise to work in a certain way. After all, it is easier to avoid criticism if you cannot be held accountable for the way you work and the results you produce. If there are no requirements for how we have jointly said we will work, then it is difficult to be criticised for not following….ingenting.

As I see it, the processes create the structure that we so often lack, which in turn frees us up to be truly creative. Instead of going around worrying about whether we’re doing the right things in the right way, or discussing the same problems over and over again, we create the structure that frees up our creativity. We can focus more on our value creation and also spend time developing and improving our process and ourselves. But for that we need something to relate to – our processes.

How do you see it? Are you constantly adapting your operations through process development?