Exploring creative balance
What are we really balancing? Is it creative synergy?
A few days ago I wrote a post called “Modelling Creative Balance” and stated that to be creative one had to balance between creative tension and creative freedom. Yesterday, I finally found the courage to share my Substack with a small circle of people whom I meet up each week to discuss various aspects of complex systems. If you are looking to join the public portion of this group, look up the NYC Complexity & Cynefin Group
Bou from that forum had an interesting question about this post (which is extracted below):
Why do you see a creative balance? Is not balance a linear concept and a leftover of the industrial mechanical thinking era? Is not balance a linear concept - one goes at the expense of the other? Could it be a nonlinear relationship? And is it not about dynamic interactions rather than 'balance?'
Now that is a very valid question and point of view. So, I am expanding further on what I see as one balances in a creative process. There are four elements that I have identified so far and they are:
Creative humans (we need someone to cognitively create)
Creative Leadership (to set a direction to the creation process)
Creative Tension (to bound or channel the creation to create something of utility)
Creative Freedom (the freedom to experiment, learn and do things in order to create)
All four of these need to stay in balance. When I mean balance, I mean it from the perspective of the picture above from one of my favorite daily reads @Andertoons. When Mark was clearing his attic of old framed cartoons, I jumped at the opportunity to buy the one shown above and it has been in my prized possession.
I wrote a post yesterday about my overall metamodel, but yet to post it as I am still evolving the thinking. But, just consider the two elements ignoring the other two - Freedom and Tension, I don’t think of them in a balanced state in a dichotomous either-or spectrum as below:
Instead, I think of them as “two” levers to pull at the same time, together in various combinations as shown below:
Well, I am not sure whether “balance” is the right word for it. But, these four elements do vary in different contexts and there is a needed to keep them continuously rebalanced. Since this balancing is continuous, only could use the word “dynamic” to describe it. Then, I closed my eyes and pondered about the word “balance” for an hour or so - what was I trying to achieve with this word, in my context - then finally it struck me, triggered by the word “dynamic” from Bou. The word I was looking for was “synergy” in a Buckminster Fuller kind of way. He called it “Synergetic collaborative” and that was what I was going for in a creative sense. Especially with the way my brain is structured, I am often looking to simplify things to do “More with less” in design - and all creative work is “design”
The modeling continues… so perhaps what I call “Creative Balance” is “Creative synergy”. I am not sure whether I have answered your question or understood your perspective Bo, but it certainly helped to continue to evolve my thinking…