The Introverts Dilemma In A Co-Creation World

  • Adapt  Create
  • Avatar The Envisionary
  • Adapt  Create
  • Avatar  by The Envisionary

  • Co-creation helps us collaborate in much more effective ways than before at work, but the introvert might well have a dilemma in this very extroverted co-creative environment.

    More and more work environments today have adopted a collaborative co-creation setup.

    It’s certainly much more effective in sprinting and iterating ideas to workable solutions than it was through lifeless target meetings, but it’s still in early adoption stages in many ways and we might well not be utilizing a certain type of thinker the best we could.

    Co-Creation Favors The Extrovert

    Some of the most creative thinkers are introverts, yet the world has consistently rewarded those who shout the loudest or who have better outward communication skills.

    Show me a CV/Resume that doesn’t include ‘good communication skills’ in some form on it. It would be hard to find such is our bias towards thinking communication is a vital skill set to possess.

    When you have a creative world, which is increasingly becoming the case these days as even corporations put design and collaboration at the heart of their daily meeting agendas, you would think that all creative types would flourish, but actually, this is usually not the case.

    Individually creatives tend to flourish, but collectively they can often be drowned out by their (sometimes) less creative talkers.

    How The Creative Was Thought Of Before

    There’s this long-standing notion that a creative is just meant to be the one who gets on with their job on screen at their desk individually until their ‘acting semi-boss’ account manager (whose job is meant to be to liaise and not dictate) comes along and demands something.

    I know of a lot of stifled creative people over the years who knew they had so much more to give in them than simply being a screen jerky and performing monkey.

    ‘We need this to look like this’, or ‘no change it to that’ etc, as the creative feels a bit dead inside and moves buttons about whilst their potential inner Steve Jobs is being stifled by those around (some of which have no creative vision at all). Unfortunately, many creatives don’t possess the stronger communication skills to say, ‘no, wait a minute, this solution would benefit the client more’.

    Co-Creation Has Forced Creative Collaboration, But Also Left Their Greatest Asset Behind

    Of course, this is old design 1.0 thinking and companies have changed to make the environments more empathetic and collaborative based since, but does that mean the creative individuals are now at the head of the collaboration process?

    User experience and design thinking methods would have you think so, and some of the more outgoing creative types arguably will be, but what about the more introverted creative types, who often possess so many wonderful solutions within them if only they were heard?

    The introverted creative sometimes lives in a different world, away from the distraction and noise of the water coolers. They are world-class novelists in the making because they have an abundance of imagination that isn’t damaged by real-world bias or logical routine. They like to drift off and daydream.

    But what about their productive value within a company?

    Surely they can’t just drift off and daydream at work?

    Well, what’s funny is we talk a lot about the need for the ability to story-tell in today’s creative industry, and yet we assume the best storytellers are the ones again with the loudest voices, primarily because there the ones who we end up hearing over the others, but the best storytellers are actually those introspective types as they can craft imagination with no warm-up, it’s just there to be tapped into, should they be allowed.

    We are losing a lot of value from a potentially golden, albeit introverted, workforce through only listening to the more extroverted types.

    Co-Creation Is Not About Getting Your Idea Heard But Hearing Everyone’s Ideas

    We’ve often been (subconsciously) taught that we must shout up and be heard to make it in this world, but we forget that this is just one skill set, and deeper introspection can often lead to problem-solving and solutions far greater than slanted co-creation.

    Sure, co-creation is vitally important too in order to bring a more holistic and human togetherness to problem-solving, but we would be so much better served to wonderful solutions if the introvert was able to express their inner wonder easier.

    In a world environment that is changing by the year, and even day, faster and faster, we need to be more in tune with our inner-creative side.

    It’s not escapism from reality but a source of creative wisdom, or even unconventional wisdom, that helps us navigate change so much easier than when stuck in outwardly thinking that just can’t keep up with the change around us (and which tries to do so through just being louder and louder to try and stay relevant).

    The Ambivert Solution

    I would say that while people are generally more introverted or extroverted we can actually be both in different situations and in different relationships in different ways (the ideal ambivert).

    It’s this versatile nature of human emotion that should be embraced within the workplace more.

    We need to recognize how people might be more introverted or extroverted in a particular setting, but most people have some environment they feel the most relaxed or creative.

    It won’t be the same for everyone, so we need to create an environment that is as flexible as its workers are varied, and not assume co-creation is about getting your idea heard only through potentially having to act unnaturally extroverted.

    This means creating preferred adaptable environments that suit different workers differently and ensure people can co-create in a way that helps bring out their best qualities and ideas, and the ideal way to do that is to find their ambivert centre, which we all have.

    This is especially true for introverted people, who really need to have a conductive environment that helps bring out their best skills, as they are far more than keyboard-performing monkeys.

    They can arguably solve much more intricate problems that businesses possess than their extrovert counterparts can when given the chance.

    Just ask Einstein.