Bridging the Analytical and Creative Culture Clash
The business world has never been more unpredictable. New competition and technological disruption can appear anywhere—not just disruption in products and services but also in communications, marketing and business development.
To better adapt to disruption, forward thinking corporations are working hard at turning Siloed, or isolated, business cultures into collaborative environments focused on innovating solutions. Yet I have experienced firsthand, especially at science and technology companies, a blindspot when it comes to integrating creative teams into these new collaborative cultures. The result is that creative divisions (and even some outside agencies) end up feeling like order takers as opposed to true collaborators.
Even under ideal circumstances it is hard to integrate analytical cultures with creative ones. The reason being analytical cultures focus first on a problem and then break it down into its component parts–the content, while creative cultures start with a question and then look at the problem holistically–the context. When a creative division remains Siloed the problem only intensifies. The symptoms of this problem are frustration, miscommunication, and the attitude that the other culture just doesn’t “get it.” The outcome is inefficiency and watered down communications that leave all stakeholders feeling disappointed.
The fix is to integrate your creative team early and often, and to see creative communications as a core competency of your project and corporate structure. When creative is involved in the design and development phase of a project they gain technical fluency and can develop a holistic understanding of the project. Just as in a fine dining establishment, the presentation of the meal is planned long before the chefs fire up the stoves and ovens, early involvement also allows for the creation of a common language between the analytical and creative cultures that will enable a functional and efficient working relationship. The results will allow the creative team to bring fresh perspectives and anticipate and properly prepare for important communication opportunities – rather than rush to respond to last minute orders.
When talented people come together to build upon each other’s work and drive toward a greater goal, both the analytical and creative teams can gain traction on much bigger challenges — creating internal cohesion and outward success.