Gettin’ it right the first time

01 Feb 2009|Darrel Rhea

This morning I’m painting a landscape in Photoshop, trying to overcome my early training as a technical illustrator to get loose and wet with the ‘paint.’ It is clear that when I tighten up my painting style, it becomes both more technically accurate/realistic — and totally uninteresting. When I use the brush spontaneously, the image still communicates in a believable way but is much more compelling and authentic.

At the same time, I am listening to a draft of a song my friend Gordon Grey is recording and producing with Barry McGuire (California Dreaming, Green Green, etc.). The studio is in Beijing and the song is intended for a Chinese audience (and I’m at a total loss on how to respond to their request for a critique of it). But I am reminded that Barry’s #1 hit “Eve of Destruction” was recorded in one take in the last 30 minutes of a session. It was both spontaneous and authentic, and resonated with a whole generation.

Design and innovation in business is similar. Yes, it is critical to have the intent and strategy clear, but sometimes crafting the expression is best done with an emphasis on spontaneity. When creative design is done by committee and reworked endlessly, the sparkly passionate parts fade away. While the expression might be technically correct, it just isn’t as compelling. It’s the difference between a draftsman and an impressionist painter. Next time you are ready to articulate a solution, try putting your heart into it and “do it in one take.”

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