Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Creativity needs contraints

Way back when I had hair and was a musician, the goal for any rock and roll songwriter was to write a hit song.

A hit song had its constraints:
It had to be approximately three minutes long
It needed a "hook" or a catchy chorus
It needed an instrumental introduction (so the radio deejay could speak over it when introducing the song)

If you didn't do the above, you weren't going to have a hit. For example, there have only been a handful of hit songs that were longer than three and a half minutes (Hey Jude, Roundabout and Bohemian Rhapsody come to mind).

You'd think that these constraints would hamper creativity. The opposite is true. Those guidelines allowed songwriters to focus in on their songs and they forced the creative ideas to conform to a structure while at the same time still retaining their originality. That's not easy, but it is inspiring when it happens.

That's what we have to do in our business lives: work within a system while still creating breakthrough ideas and concepts. Beethoven had to create symphonies that had four "movements" and Bob Dylan had to keep "Blowin' in the Wind" to three minutes long.

We have to realize the same in our businesses and not stop until we create something great.

Barry LaBov
LaBov and Beyond

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