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Buying Creativity the Right Way


Here’s how the conversation normally goes:

Them: “So, you need some creativity in your business, right? Well you’ve come to the right place… look at all these shiny, pretty things.”

You: “SO SHINY! AND PRETTY! I’ll buy one…”

Also you: “Hmm… It doesn’t do anything I need it to?”

Them: “But I was creative when I made it. It’s okay… I’ll start again and make you a new one…”

Rinse/repeat until patience/budget runs out.

The problem here is twofold: Firstly, there’s a common misunderstanding about what creativity is. Creativity isn’t the solution; it’s a thing that happens on the way to the solution.

Secondly creativity without a clearly defined problem isn’t creativity at all. It’s expression. It’s art. When you’re buying “creativity” you’re really asking for a novel solution to your unique problem.

Own the problem. Define it. Then let your chosen Creative Problem Solver go to work.

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Web design it’s broken. That’s so satisfying to say I think everyone should try out just once. I know you want to try it out.

So today we’re gonna be talking about the problem with buying creativity. Now this is really important for you if you are looking to buy a website, if you’re looking to improve your current website and if you’re not entirely used to dealing with people that work in a kind of creative industry.

Now there’s one person that’s really really pushing hard on this subject. That guys Blair Enns and he wrote the book ‘The Win Without Pitching Manifesto’. Now he’s trying to tackle it from the perspective of people that are in creative businesses and one of the things that he identifies is that creative people can sometimes not be the best people to make business decisions or to run businesses and part of that is tied in to the fact that a lot of people that have the creative skill start business as a result of working in that industry or something like that.

The thing is that, a lot of people that have a creative skill, often have what Michael Gerber calls the ‘Entrepreneurial seizure’. This is that thing that makes them go, hey I’m sitting here for being paid 10 pounds an hour doing this, when I could be doing it for myself and I could make 40 pounds an hour. And so they take that bold step and they go out into the world of business but they’re driven by this kind of creative urge, the ability for them to implement their creative skills.

Now the problem with creativity, is that the creative application isn’t always the solution and where these two don’t align you get frustration, you get miscommunication, you get breakdowns in relationships.

Now as a web designer, our business is considered to be a digital creative business. I’ve long kind of held some kind of a, have long held a bit of exception to this because although there is a lot of creativity and what we do. We’re a lot, we’re not, we don’t exist for the sole purpose of being creative you know, we exist to solve problems. A lot of people that start web design businesses do so because they love making websites but okay not entirely true a lot of people do it because they think they can make a fast buck or they think they’ve got related skills but that’s neither here nor there.

The love of making websites is not sufficient to be able to create a website that is fit for purpose and that solves the challenges that you face as a business. This is the problem with buying creativity and it is for you as the consumer of creative businesses to make sure that you’re focusing and identifying the problems that you’re facing, the challenges that you want to overcome and you’ve got own that space when you’re dealing with creative businesses because it’s their job to solve those problems creatively.

You own the problem, they own the creative solution for that problem and if you can both agree on that as a working relationship then hey you’re gonna get on fine and do great things.

My name is Aaron Taylor, I’m helping you to have better conversations and make better decisions when you’re buying a website. Until next time.

This is episode 12 of Web Design is Broken, a series where our CEO Aaron explores the issues with our industry and helps you to make better informed decisions when it comes to your website. Our company, Six Two, specialises in web design in Ashford Kent.

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