At the SALT Conference in 2014, I first heard of Stephen Brewster’s creative personality types, so I want to give credit where credit is due. Our lists are slightly different, but his process made me think about the creative brainstorming process and the various personalities you need in order to refine your ideas and improve your meetings. Here are the people needed in every creative meeting.
This is the dreamer, the thinker and the one who sparks a new idea. They seem to have an infinite source of ideas, and never stop asking questions. They are the wonderers and the people who beg “what if” in almost every situation. They’re inquisitive, but often have the ability to create out of nothing. Blank canvases, and starting from scratch isn’t anywhere near scary to them, yet the most comfortable medium. They’re craftsman, and find success in the original, the unknown and the never-before-tried. They will push for 100% custom, almost every time. An artist is one of the 5 people needed in every creative meeting.
This is the planner, the designer and the architect of ideas once they’re sparked. They solve the problems (often they create by finding holes in the idea). They bring in trusted sources and plans to add or merge with the artist’ ideas. They engineer and create paths for the team to begin to see how the idea is possible, and they create method from the chaos. An analyzer is one of the 5 people needed in every creative meeting.
These are the do-ers, and the people who get stuff done. They get frustrated with too much dreaming and are always itching to make the to-do lists. They’re the writers, editors, or task oriented people who will actually do the creating. They take the analyzer’s plans, and create activity from them. They’re the running backs of your team, taking the ball and never looking back until they’re down or done running. An activator is one of the 5 people needed in every creative meeting.
These are the ones who push back, question everything and challenge the status quo. They’re never fully satisfied, and the antagonist plus the artist are a dangerous pairing. They are iron in sharpening iron, and one of the most critical roles in the creative process. People often avoid asking the antagonist to the meeting, however they’re the ones who will push the idea from mediocre to excellence. They’re artists, who need an idea, and make art out of taking an idea further along in it’s process. They’re craftsman of other’s work and never accept no for an answer. An antagonist is one of the 5 people needed in every creative meeting.
This is the encourager on your team, the shepherd to make sure that the entire team doesn’t abandon a person in the process of forging great ideas. These people help provide balance to the tension caused by artists and antagonists… They cover ideas in heart, love, compassion and meaning. They’re often the most underrepresented but possibly the most important in keeping peace in the group during war-room-like brainstorming meetings. I find it’s the advocate that keeps deadlines in sight, and helps make sure everyone’s voice is heard, even at the cost of their own. An advocate is the last of the 5 people needed in every creative meeting.
All five are vital, and all five play a role at different times in the ideation process. This christmas, what does it look like for you to include more of these personalities in your meetings.
Which of these people needed in every creative meeting are you missing? Which personalities are too apparent?
And finally, which of these personalities do you embody?