Sunday, August 02, 2009

Creator or Observer?

This year the artist community is celebrating the 40th anniversary of John Lennons’ and Yoko Ono’s performance piece “In Bed” which is probably one of the most well known artistic expressions of a particular life philosophy. In a recent discussion about her artistic mindset and drive for this kind of work Yoko Ono simply says: “I am not an observer, I am creator.”

Her statement, strongly implying a clear separation between both activities, contradicts the more common understanding that one most be an observer to be a creator. I rather like her absolute statement because it reflects a truth about most business organizations that splits heavily between functions that are primarily observers and functions that are primarily creators. In the agency world, most markers consider the creative unit the “creators”, more advanced agencies might include the “strategic planners” in this camp of Yoko Ono.

Marketing organizations that will survive and drive will have already understood that the key for true long-term success is in turning every department into “creators”. Observing is important but the value generation resides in creating things, independent if you are a creative, a data analyst or a media planner. In world class marketing organizations, everyone is a creator, just in a different way. The organization’s value resides in commercial creation on as many levels as possible.

While “In Bed” seems at first glance to stress the importance of observing, it ultimately celebrates the power of creation. And not just for Yoko Ono, but for anyone who has seen the piece or has experienced it through different media. Realizing this is a good way to celebrate its 40th anniversary.


Anonymous Scott Johnson said...

I agree with your points about creators and observers wholeheartedly. We shall have to agree to disagree about Ms. Ono, however. If she is an artist whose work merits an anniversary celebration of any kind, I am a giant catfish.

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