Can you teach people how to be “creative?” I’m not so sure. I keep going back and forth on this thought and I’m struggling with it on a weekly basis because I recently started teaching an advertising course through the SVA and as I get to know my students I wonder how much I can help them along.
An old boss of mine once told me he came from the school of thought where…There are people who get it. And people who don’t. And never the twain shall meet. He felt it was his job to look at the creative department and separate the wheat from the chaff. He wanted to make sure his best people were given the best chance to do their best work and as for the others…well, they should get out of the business.
But on the other side of the argument we have things like ad school, where the whole premise of the enterprise is…you pay us tuition and we will teach you how to be an advertising creative. Thousands of kids go to these schools and flood the job fairs and portfolio reviews every year showing off their thinking in the hopes of landing a job. And I have to say that, in my opinion, there are more bad books out there than good.
We’ve all seen a LOT of bad books. Books where you don’t even know what to say because your mom’s voice pops up telling you if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
Is this business being fair to these students by taking their money if the very premise of “teaching creativity” isn’t sound?
What I’m wondering is basically this: Is creative, strategic thinking nature or nurture? I really want to know since, right now, I trying hard to nurture it as best I can.