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What is the relationship between structure and creativity?

Our clients expect us to be creative, sometimes with all of it’s stereotypes. So, when their project is complete, why do many of those same clients express their surprise at just how organized and structured the process was? What does structure have to do with creativity?

How Creatives Create

Sometimes we think of creatives as care-free, unconventional beings who do not fit societal norms. But there is something that all creatives have to use in order to create.

For example, Michelangelo didn’t carve David out of thin air.

And, Picasso didn’t paint with his mind.

And, Philip Glass didn’t compose with nothing.

What is that “something” that they used? All of their creative expressions were confined to a medium, a framework or a structure. Whether it was:

  • marble and mallets

  • pigment and pallets

  • pianos and piccolos

Each of these great artists used their own medium, framework and structure as an expression of their creativity.

The Secret: The Relationship Between Structure and Creativity

Over the years, I’ve learned something very interesting.

Structure affords creativity.

In fact, as a business, that’s one of our distinctives. We are creatives but we don’t see structure as an evil to overcome.

We see structure as a means to be more creative.

Let me give you an example. Right now our server is hosting about 300,000 assets. If that server had no structure we would never be able to find anything. Which means, we would waste our finite energies being frustrated because we couldn’t find that 1 file in 300,000 that was needed.

The Truth: creativity can only be creative when it has structure or form.
  1. People

  2. Product

  3. Process

In other words — great people, with a strong product, who follow a clear process, create the fourth P – Profit.

One of the best ways in which we can be creative is to follow those processes, or structure, that allows us to focus our energies and frees us to be creative.

Are We Creative or Structured?

We’re NOT either/or. We’re both/and. We are creative because we’re structured.

What Do You Think?

Do you agree that structure empowers greater creativity? Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below or send an email to

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