Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Find A Creative Partner

Two heads are better than one.

True? I think so - at least in some capacities. Specifically in a creative capacity, I think two heads can definitely be better than one. Could three heads be better than two? I think the logic follows to a certain point. There's obviously a threshold where complexity becomes counterproductive. Larger groups require more prep and organization, more leadership, and more structure. The basic premise here isn't how many people are needed to be creative, but simply the idea that creativity is often amplified with company. Creativity and innovation are significantly based in perspective. We must see new paths forward, new uses for objects, new ways of communication. To gain these insights, we must find unique perspectives and new information. It would stand to reason than that gaining insights and perspectives from a diverse group of people would provide a diverse set of data.

Many creatives will spend time in a group setting working on pieces, but there is a more specific application here than the value of groups. I think there is significant value in having a creative partner or two in your life. Someone to bounce ideas off of, run things by, or get honest feedback from. I think great innovators often have great people around them that amplify their work, help them clarify ideas, and help provide unique perspectives and data.

If you don't have a creative partner or two in your life, I'd encourage you to seek them out. Here are a few things to look for in these people:

Trustworthy :: The only way this works is if you feel comfortable sharing your greatest ideas and plans with these partners. They must be trustworthy people that will hold your information in strict confidence. You must also be able to trust that they won't withhold their own information or opinions.

Creative :: It may sound obvious when you read it, but don't let this one slide. Our temptation may be to seek out friends or people we already know that we feel we can trust. This may be fine but they must be, at a minimum, creative on a similar level as you are. Without this piece you'll end up feeling like they don't understand or simply aren't very helpful. For this relationship, you need creative innovators.

Knowledgeable :: Information is the fuel for creativity. Seek out creative partners that are knowledgeable and well connected. Look for people that are experts in certain fields or have a lot of triable knowledge about a particular company, issue, or program. For example, if you're new to a company, find a creative partner with a long history that knows the politics and backstory. This information and perspective will compliment your own well.

Creativity needs diverse perspective. History shows that great creatives continuously work at expanding their own view or seeking new viewpoints. Having a few trustworthy and knowledgeable people in your life to speak into your creativity is a significant advantage to working alone. It provides the diverse input and data that can spring a project forward or help us blow through a creative block.

They key to creativity and innovation is new perspectives. Find people to help you expand your horizons. As authors Dan and Chip Heath write in their book, "Made to Stick", "The world will always produce more great ideas than any single individual, even the most creative one."

Who are the key creative partners in your life? Do you find it helpful to have people like this around? I'd love to have your feedback in the comments bellow.

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