If we imagine a continuum of creative people, at the one end are those who just “happen” to be creative. They see, hear, feel, experience something and express it in a work of art, either immediately or later. For example, many photographers, poets, painters, dancers, or certain musicians. For them(3), organization might appear like a gray-dull curtain, standing in the way they deal with their creativity, or chains, unnecessarily constraining them. However, the kind of organization addressed in this book deals with aspect that allow these creative individuals to have more opportunities to have these “creative moments” — and to make more out of them. They will be less at the mercy of their sudden insights and can use more of the insights they had. While there is the risk of a caterpillar effect — thinking about how you do something can interfere with doing it the risk should be minimal. If you do not fret over it, you should forget it over time — it goes into the back of your head. You can focus on improving the infrastructure, establishing a workflow, so that no ideas get lost, and enjoy the creative moments that come. You can prepare — and then let it happen.
At the other end of the continuum are creative people who go by making notes, building structure, careful planning, analysis, aggregation, and synthesis, who build up their works over time. For example, many writers, architects, programmers, and almost all scientists. They(4) might already have a structure, but I doubt that many have carefully reflected upon it. Of course, there is also a risk here, the risk that organization takes up too much time. Organization is easier than creativity and it might be nice to spend time on organizing, yet creating nothing. You see a similar effect in productivity in general, it is much easier to spend time on organizing the tasks than to actually do them.
(3) You could call them sorcerers, tapping into magical powers by feeling the magic in their blood.
(4) You could call them wizards, doing magic by studying spells.
“Organizing Creativity” (2012)
One distinction in many RPGs is the difference between sorcerers and wizards. Sorcerers are born with magic, they feel it in their blood, they do spells via their charisma. They just make it happen. Wizard, on the other hand, use their intelligence. They painstakingly study the intricacies of spells. The actually understand what happens in magic. They might lack the raw power, but more than make up that difference in versatility.
I think something similar is at work when it comes to technology.
Some people see what is possible, and make it happen. They know that something can work, and they find a way to do it. They experiment, they improvise, they find the loopholes and the creative solutions.
Others are the wizards. They can perfectly predict what will happen when you do something. They understand the mechanics, the fine print. These are the ones you need when you design anything that might decide about life or death.
But in many cases, you need both. You need the sorcerers, and you often need them first. To open up paths. To imagine. To use what is available and find strangely new uses for it. And then, you need the wizards. To formalize the solutions. To make them fool-proof (until the universe create a better fool). To make them replicable. To make them easily applicable.
In the end, both have their uses.