Johnnie Moore

Relationships before ideas

Why creativity is often fostered by focussing on relationships rather than driving for ideas
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Music producer Rick Rubin inspires some thinking about putting relationships first when aiming for creativity

Transcript of this video:

In his fantastic book, the Creative Act, Rick Rubin opens with a quote from Robert Henri, which goes something like “the object isn’t to make art, but to be in that wonderful state where art becomes inevitable.”

Even reciting it to you. I have a certain amount of the feels and it reminds me that. I used to have a mantra in my work as a facilitator which was “relationships before ideas” which points to the same thing.

I think that if we try too hard in our meetings to be productive and generate ideas we often actually get in the way of relationship-forming and tuning into each other in a way that actually makes those ideas much more likely to happen.

The conversation analyst, Elizabeth Stokoe points out that in many conversations between friends they begin with the repetition of, hi, how are you? Fine, fine. How are you? Hi, hi, hi.

In which no new information is being exchanged after a while but people are actually tuning into each other.

So at a mundane level relationship forming is a good prelude to the the purpose of the meeting if the purpose of the meeting is to produce ideas.

But I also think there’s a slightly deeper point here for us as a species, which is that, what Henri in that quote talks about as art doesn’t necessarily have to be Picasso or fantastic painting.

It can be the satisfaction of feeling in relationship to one’s fellow man which I think we need a great deal more of and if we get more of it, we might need to rush about the planet consuming things a good deal less.

Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

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