During my first day at SXSW Interactive 2012, I decided to attend a session called “The Accidental Creative”. I can’t say that I knew exactly what that meant, but it sounded like something that would be right up my alley. So I made my way over to the location of Todd Henry’s presentation and to my surprise there were tons of people there and there was standing room only… so I stood in the back with a crowd of people that flowed out the door.
At the start of the presentation I found out that Todd Henry would touch on some key points from his book “The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant At A Moments Notice”. To begin the presentation he made a point that creative should be prolific, brilliant, and healthy in order to create consistently great work. Then he gave of three variations of that combination of elements:
- If you are prolific and brilliant but not healthy, you’re just a FRIED creative.
- If you are healthy and brilliant but not prolific, you’re an UNRELIABLE creative.
- If you are prolific and healthy but not brilliant, you’re a FIRED creative.
Then he asked the question, “Is it possible to be prolific, brilliant, AND healthy?” and I’m sure everyone in the crowd took a second to really think about it and I even saw a few puzzled faces. Before Todd answered his question, he said that “the creative process is a mythical, elusive, force”, which I can totally agree with. The creative process of a creative person is unique to them and sometimes it’s hard to explain to people how you do what you do. Todd then went on to say that we live in a create-on-demand world. The traditional creative process was to:
- Define the problem
- Explore options
- Rinse & Repeat
But in a create-on-demand world, the traditional creative process has turned into the Shortcut Process:
- Panic about the problem
- Just pick an option
Creatives can’t live in a create-on-demand world, they need to find the Creative Rhythm. The Creative Rhythm consists of 5 key elements to keep creatives FRESH:
Todd Henry gave a really great presentation and made me want to check out his book. His presentation was short but sweet and made me laugh AND made me wish it were just a little longer. I think two of the most memorable quotes from the presentation were, “Cover bands don’t change the world” and “Innovations a collective grasp for the next”. I think the 5 key elements of his Creative Rhythm could also be applied to people who aren’t creatives, because I think the core idea of staying F.R.E.S.H is to produce your best and most inspiring work on a consistent basis.