Angoel (angoel) wrote,

Thinking Aloud[1] - Creative Tension

Creative tension can be a powerful force for good. An individual holds a perfectly good view of what the outcome should be in a given endeavour. However, when this is combined with the opinions of others, when people's differences in view can be forged into something that addresses the concerns of all those contributing without diminishing the advantages that made the original viewpoint worthwhile, then it becomes possible to form something far greater.

The key to taking advantage of creative tension is threefold. The first, as with a lot of things, is communication. You need to be clear at communicating the advantages of what you want to achieve; if you don't know what your vision is, then consensus-building for it will be hard. You need to be careful to listen to the point that other people are making, especially where their vision betters something that your vision does - or where they think it betters something your vision does.

The second key is dispassion. Neither of your ideas is likely to be the perfect one, so rather than defending yours or attacking theirs, you should be looking to see how the ideas fit together, why they work better or worse, and seek some third or fourth idea which combines the properties of the two. If the collaboration ends with one idea winning and the other losing, then so be it - but how more powerful it would be if both ideas won. So while an idea is notionally yours, you should be able to step back and replace it with something superior.

The final key is the ability to make a decision at the right point. There will be occasions in which, with all the best will in the world, there are binary choices which have to be made, and someone will be unhappy with the outcome either way. Not being able to make a decision results in creative tension degenerating into anarchy. Making it too late results in frustration as arguments spiral in circles. Making it too soon loses the benefits of the tension in the first place.

I think that where I fail in this sort of thing is primarily point one - in areas I know well, I tend to put my opinion in too forcefully, and when people hold a different view have a tendency to assume they don't really understand what I've been saying, and repeat it again. Conversely, in areas that I don't feel I know, I don't say anything and treat people who tell me things about it as an authority. In addition, I'm not sure how good I am at point three - here, I suspect I make decisions too quickly, preferring a workable answer which can be refined to one which is the best answer.

Possibly also not articulating my thinking processes, but that's something I generally have issues with, since they tend to be deep and inarticulate ;). Not sure.

[1] Musings which are not fully formed and thus probably not correct - but which I'm inflicting on the world incomplete anyway. Feel free to attempt to realign my thoughts.
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