Thursday, February 17, 2011

Creativity Tips: Do You See What I See?

This past Sunday, I went out for brunch with three friends. We walked into the small restaurant and:
  • Laurie noticed new artwork on the walls.
  • Karen was impressed with the daily specials on the whiteboard.
  • I saw the Christian literature nestled among the condiments on our table.
  • Sue pondered what impact the inside waterfall would have on the heating and cooling bills.
It took all of us some time to see the big white cross by that waterfall. And, yes, I was the one who saw it first.

Perspective is an amazing thing. It's so simple to forget, as we go through our days and creative endeavors, that no one sees the world the way we do. We walk in the same door, but we view the room with different eyes and different prejudices.

Laurie had been to the restaurant before and knew the ownership had changed. She was prepared to notice changes -- her favorite waiter was gone, the photos on the walls were different.

Karen was really hungry.

I'm Jewish. I pick up on yellow-highlighted evangelical materials mixed in with the salt and pepper.

And I have no idea why Sue was fascinated by the waterfall's impact on utility billls. Trust me, I could have sat in that restaurant for the rest of my life and NEVER wondered whether the humidity from the waterfall would lower the restaurant's utility bills in the winter and raise them in the summer.

Here's the great thing: By discussing what we saw, we all came away with a new perspective -- a bigger picture. As a diverse creative team, we enjoyed a far more expansive worldview of that little portion of our world.

This week, don't assume the people around you see what you see. Ask questions. Expand your creative vision. Look around familiar rooms with new eyes. Then, be brave enough to share your vision.

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