Creative Efficiency: Are digital tools crushing your creativity?

First, my guarantee: I guarantee you there are affiliate links in this post. Really. I wouldn’t kid you. The great news is that when you click the link, there is no cost to you, yet my country club membership gets made. Or maybe it’s the condo in Macau. I don’t know, I got bills. (Actually, the only affiliate link is the reference book. Gigi Siton is phenomenal.)

References: Your Body Is a Self-Healing Machine: Understanding How Epigenetics Heals You by Gigi Siton, DPT

Creative efficiency: In the constant pursuit of efficiency, have we stomped the creativity and risk-taking out of business?  Is entrepreneurship getting run over by the drive for better numbers?  Get it?  Drive?  Oh, whatever!

First, let me define what I mean by Creative Efficiency.

This is the corporate definition of creative efficiency:

It’s the process of converting an idea, even a prototype, into a set of resources, procedures, metrics, and marching orders that can enable an organization to effectively replicate, scale, and manage the new venture.

Tactically, not really applicable to our personal lives.  But the “idea” of creative efficiency is.

This is my definition of Creative Efficiency:

Combining the creativity that analog enhances with the efficiency that digital brings to the table.

If this definition makes no sense to you, read on and all will be revealed…

Creative efficiency: In the constant pursuit of efficiency, have we stomped the creativity and risk-taking out of business?  Is entrepreneurship getting run over by the drive for better numbers?  Get it?  Drive?  Oh, whatever!

First, lets define the difference between digital and analog with a few…analogies.

Almost everything in this world can be defined as digital or analog in how it operates or how it interacts with all other things. In fact, our body’s information storage system is a combination of digital and analog.

Your genetic code (DNA) is a digital system.

Your genetic code is kind of like the memory storage on your thumb drive. Get it? “thumb” drive? Sigh. A bit of a stretch, I suppose.

Our genes are encoded in a four-letter system that never changes. It is a flash drive hardwired in our system and the only way it can be changed is through damage or corruption by exposure to

Creative representation of a DNA strand

Creative representation of a DNA strand

radiation, RoundUp, lead…you get the picture.

Of course, scientists can now alter DNA through code-editing technology like CRISPER, (to either cure disease or create human/sloth hybrids – oh wait, I already know a few of those. Dang, I knew it! The CIA is already experimenting on us!)

Sorry, my paranoia kicked in for a moment.

Essentially, our DNA was designed to remain the same throughout our happy-go-lucky lives.

Our epigenetic system, on the other hand, is old-school analog.

It was designed to turn genes on and off so our bodies can adapt to external factors in our environment,

Now that's what I call creativity! (Pop culture reference)

Mr. Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man

such as, you move from St. Paul, Minnesota where 40 degrees Fahrenheit is considered shorts and T-shirt weather, to Phoenix, Arizona, where 40 degrees Fahrenheit is considered Stay Puft Man (pop culture reference) down coat weather.

The human body’s ability to adapt to that insane environment change is the very definition of how our analog system (epigenetics) works.

More analog/digital hybrid systems

Another way to look at hybrid systems is the NEST thermostat. All its internal functions are digital (DNA analogy), yet its user interface (epigenetics analogy) operates like an old-school twist dial thermostat. Why?

Because while digital systems work better for computers and electronics, an analog user interface is simpler and easier for humans to use.

Last analogy, I swear it…it’s just analogies are just so darned much fun! Skip it at your peril!

Back in the Eighties, automotive manufacturers chose to switch from analog to digital dashboards on cars. They thought the coolness factor would “wow” buyers.

They chose…unwisely (another pop culture reference. Yay!).

 Humans are not computers. Digital creativity killer.

Humans are not computers. Digital dashboard creativity killer. Imagine that big zero flickering through numbers, constantly changing, your mind numbing…

It was a complete failure. The constantly changing numbers flashing on the gauges were annoying and almost impossible to read.

Once they came to their senses, the manufacturers continued to use digital electronics for the engine’s computer to read more accurately (yep, you guessed it, DNA analogy) but translated it to simple dials (yah, you betcha, Epigenetics analogy) for the human operator to understand.

Again, a hybrid of digital and analog.

Okay, enough with the analogies. Get on with it! (Yeah, that’s you talking in my head.)

So how can you implement a hybrid lifestyle to enhance your creativity?

Let’s munch a few options:

When I write, whether it’s a blog post, a story, a poem, or an essay, my first draft is always written by hand with a pencil on paper (analog). There will be scratch-outs, erasures, scribbled notes, lines pointing in different directions, drawings, whatever is necessary to get that first draft out into the world (usually with the maximum amount of creativity).

I then type it into the computer (digital). That’s when I do my first real edit.  That’s all technical stuff with pretty much no creativity.

I may rewrite sentences or whole paragraphs, change words, move lines or paragraphs around on the page…all that editing is much easier on a computer (the advantage of digital efficiency) than with an eraser.

Then I print it out and scribble it up with a red pencil (yep, back to analog). By the time I get done editing, the page looks like I butchered a chicken on it.

So, what we have here is an analog and digital system, a hybrid system, I’ve developed for writing. And it lets my left and right brains do what they do best.

Another way you’ve probably used analog and digital to get creative.

Have you ever gone to a meeting where brainstormed ideas get scribbled or drawn on a whiteboard, paper, or smart screen?

Then the drawings are photographed or saved and the scribbled notes are typed up, and the pictures and text are combined in a digital document for the record?

That’s a hybrid presentation.

All digital or all analog are bad news.

All digital blocks access to your child-like creativity and genius. All analog means you’ll finish your project sometime next century and a stray match could ruin your life.

Speaking of ruin, I bet your eyes could use a break right about now.

Put down the computer and go make mud pies or something!

So, if you look around, you’ll probably find you already have created some hybrid systems.

Where else can you apply analog to keep the digital world from crushing your creativity??

PS If you have ideas you’d like to share, we have this nifty ‘comments section’ below for bouts of wisdom or, if you prefer, insanity…I’m not choosy.

PSS Besides, as we all know, the more comments I get, the more “free content” I have, and being basically sloth-like myself (dang you CIA!), it saves me from blathering on for 40 pages and saves you from having to read it. I call that a Win-Win! Comment away!!!

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