Do you have to know where you are going in order to create something wonderful?


Joshua Prince-Ramus gives an interesting TED talk called: Building a theater that remakes itself. In it, he says the following:

Now, I believe that one really amazing thing will happen if you do this. I’d like to call it the lost art of productively losing control. You do not know what the end result is. But I promise you, with enough brain power and enough passion and enough commitment, you will arrive at conclusions that will transcend convention, and will simply be something that you could not have initially or individually conceived of.

And to remind you that here is an example in which architecture actually did something. But we got to that conclusion without understanding where we were going, what we knew were a series of issues that the company and the client was confronted with. And we took positions with them, and it was through those positions that we began to take architectural manifestations and we arrived at conclusion that none of us, really none of us could ever  have conceived of initially or individually.

Those few of you who regularly follow my blog (thanks by the way) know that lately I have written a lot about creativity and how it is the opposite of productivity as it entails purposeful loss of control. This is due, in part, to research I am conducting these days on the issue of knowledge creating teams.

Prince-Ramus saying resonates with these concepts and highlights an important facet of this. For years, the idea that we must understand the goal and the destination we want to reach before we set on the path. “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” says the Cat to Alice. But as Alice’s amazing journey shows, and Prince-Ramus tries to convey, sometimes, the real creativity comes from not knowing what the final destination is. The creative process by definition is one that requires we reach a destination that we haven’t encountered before and while some people can envision it, the real innovative destinations today come out of a combination of minds that allows synergy.

So, do you always know where you are going or do you allow for some productive loss of control?


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