Monday, October 31, 2011

The Difference Between Technical and Creative Thought Processes. And Why It Matters.

Photo credit: dzz from

There are two approaches that technology companies employ in their thinking. They are both technical and creative. But most of these companies lean toward the technical end. Companies like Apple, who lean toward the creative end, are rare. What's interesting is that the more technically motivated companies tend to copy what innovative companies create. They have a harder time creating something the market finds revolutionary.

The reason technically-focused companies have a hard time leading in ground-breaking technology is because it's not the nature of technical thought. Let me explain.

With technical thought processes the question that gets asked is, "What works?" The question gets applied to trends, projected income, product design, and even marketing. Under a strict technically-focused company creative disciplines such as graphic design are required to ask this same question. "Does design meet the current trends and best-practices?"

On the other hand, technology companies that have a mindset that honors creative thought ask the question, "Why not?" They don't worry about what works now. They are concerned with what they can imagine will work tomorrow. They don't look at markets to create features the market wants, but to imagine what that market would want, if that feature or product existed. They honor innovative ideas at all levels of their company, especially their creative departments. In this environment graphic design is viewed as essential for not only communication, but for the company's overall visual style. In fact, design in general permeates everything from products to marketing efforts.

This doesn't mean that there is no room for technical thought. The creative company needs technical folks. Otherwise, they would be unable to realize what can be dreamed up. But what this also means is that there is little room for settling for what is proven to work.

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