This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 21, 2004

Whither Creativity?

Creativity has been highly valued for centuries. The ability of artists, musicians, writers, explorers, scientists, pioneers, and business leaders to create new ideas, approaches, processes, and ways of thinking have been admired and honored. The results of these treasured creative people have contributed to the development of new products, art forms, countries, and Mankind's reaching into the mysteries of space beyond our planet.

With the advent of computers, a significant portion of creativity has become digitized. We've listened to synthetic music for years, often without realizing it. Moog synthesizers have supplanted composers, arrangers, musicians and even voices. Computer programs that enable anyone to create marketing materials, architectural designs, and decorative art have reduced opportunities for talented artists/designers to generate unique original work.

It is easier now for people to copy from each other, developing mere extensions to what competitors are doing. The expectation---demand for--- innovation is declining. Compared to earlier times, today we see less divergent expansion of ideas, techniques, and media, thus reducing the value of creative talent that used to be held in such high esteem.

The lower value placed on highly creative people and their work serves as a disincentive for those with high potential to enter creative fields. The resulting reduction of people choosing these careers may dampen research and development.

Even after considering the forces that have reduced various aspects of creativity over the past decade or two, we observe that there is still a lot of work being done in the development of new ideas, systems, products, and ways that things are done. Even with less funding support for the arts, artists persist in all fields throughout the world. A backlash is emerging, placing more value on the work of individual artists and craftsmen. Zimbabwean art, for an example, has taken on greater importance and higher pricing in recent years.

Even though some creative people will use the technology that has been developed in the design fields, a resurgence of individual art will inspire more attention and support of the arts in colleges and universities, in developing countries, and in the business community.

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