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The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea at the Right Time by Allen Gannett

Book Review

· Book Review

Allen Garnett’s background in marketing and with big data lead him to think about the patterns that creative’s display. He begins by re-examining many of the common case studies we’re familiar with … JK Rowling, Paul McCartney and Mozart who’s success was attributed to a gift from a higher order or a flash of insight. He debunks this myth of creativity and the common misconception that successful creatives don’t need to work that hard for their success.

Anyone who has read my blog would be familiar with this so called 'theory of creativity', and Gannett goes on to outline that anyone can be creative, you don't need to be a genius, you just need to follow a set of rules. In this case these laws are the basis of the Creative Curve.

The creative curve is a bell-shaped curve that examines the relationship between preference and familiarity. He uses the example of a song, where the more we hear it, the more popular it becomes until it reaches a peak, followed by a saturation that leads to a drop in popularity.

Gannett’s twist on this theme is to focus on both the novelty and value that creative ideas must provide to achieve creative commercial success.

The mechanics of the Creative Curve considers four laws:

1. The law of consumption where we must become a subject expert, pouring ourselves into the subject, over consuming to digest as much as we can. The rule is to spend least 20 percent of your time consuming content in surrounding and related fields. If you’re a blogger, read. If you’re a singer, listen to music.

2. The law of imitation has a focus on analysis of what others are doing in the field, thinking about what’s missing and learning from successful predecessors.

3.The law of creative communities is to find a series of collaborators: a Master Teacher to teach you the craft of your industry and hone your skills with deliberate practice; a Conflicting Collaborator comes from surrounding yourself with people who can compensate for your areas of weakness; a Modern Muse/s are people who inspire and motivate, provide fresh ideas and push for your best work. Finally a Prominent Promoter has recognised credibility who’ll enable your success in the market through connections and opportunities to be in the right place at the right time.

4. The law of iterations enables you to progressively elaborate an idea going through a funnel: conceptualization, reduction, curation, and feedback.

I feel like much of this has been said before but the fresh take is the simplicity of the process and the emphasis on following the template laws to reverse engineer creative success so that anyone can potentially be creatively successful.

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