Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Collaboration ain’t Creative

A Personal Note
Jerry Fletcher

It happened again. Some twit that never had an idea of her own was espousing the wonders wrought by the “new normal of collaboration.”

She had the audacity to think her dispassionate embrace of teamwork should be not only taught in every school but made the criteria for judgement of all valuation from grades up to and including salaries.

I exploded. This miserable excuse of a concept has gained a foothold in a world that previously observed the inescapable fact that individuals are creative not groups. Yes, there are complementary pairs. But most truly creative people go it alone.

Her argument was, “The more good minds we put on solving a problem, the quicker we get an answer, it is only rational.”

I gave her Einstein’s response:

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”
Albert Einstein

“But,” she said, “He was brilliant and would have made a great team member even if he could not lead it.’ She went on, “He was always going off and thinking alone, imagining who knows what so he didn’t have the skills to lead a team because he couldn’t stay on task.”

Again, I gave her Einstein’s Response:

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”
Albert Einstein

She retorted, “That’s why only men or women of great emotional intelligence should lead teams.”

I gave her Albert’s take on that notion:

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
Albert Einstein

She said, “That’s why it is critical to train children to work in teams. They need to understand that we know the team is the only way to confront the huge problems we face. They will be the ones solving the problems of the world and will have to work together to be effective.”

Dr. Einstein did not agree:

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.”
Albert Einstein

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

Each time someone embraces the collaboration idea that phrase comes to mind.

I don’t know where I learned it or why it holds me in its spell. I believe a life of being trained as an artist and working on ways to convince and persuade folks to look at an alternative may have something to do with it.

It seems to me that forcing young people to step away from the natural act of using their imagination does nothing except make the teacher’s job less risky. The whole idea of smooth functioning teams comes out of the need to turn humans into part of a machine a sort of 19th century viewpoint being forced on us by a system set up to change imaginative youngsters into compliant cogs.

The worst part of this repugnant concept is that the bright, articulate and inventive are not given the credit they deserve in school or out when their thinking puts a target on a possible solution. They get only limited credit at best.

The imagination-driven creative types we need the most get shunted aside.

Some practice their differential way of thinking becoming consultants known for their contrarian but effective ways. Those left are linked to other lesser minds and we get the results held down by the weakest link.

In my view, collaboration ain’t creative. It is, in fact, calamitous.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher


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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

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Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago #6

Jim, The one thing guaranteed to jerk my chain is stupidity. This particular form is so invasive it makes Agent Orange in the White house look like a piker! And so it goes.

Jim Murray

2 years ago #5

Whoa Jerry...another great end of the week rant. You are right on the money, brother. I had fun in advertising, because for the most part I worked with an art director who knew that this job was to make the ideas look and feel great. But when I went on my own and was in charge of the whole magilla, that's when I really started to think creatively in the broader sense. There are a lot of twits out there, espousing a lot of bullshit methodologies. But anything that's done by committee usually ends up looking that way and not doing the job. It's a sad fucking world where creative individualism is subverted.

Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago #4

Dr. Ali I figured that a great mind like Einstein might have something to say about the subject of creativity. I found all those quotes in a matter of moments. He was not one who continually thought up these Twitter like quips. These comments came over years and were always spur of the moment as he was being interviewed. Strung together they give us a rare glimpse into a consistent viewpoint. And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher- great buzz. I love all the quotes specially this one “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” ― Albert Einstein

Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago #2

Harvey, And so it should go.

Harvey Lloyd

2 years ago #1

Hold on ah minute are you thinking outside the box again! These errant thoughts of creativity should be contained. You must wait for the team to catch up then you can have a shared idea. Enjoyed the perspective. My little brother was to paint a picture of a tulip in kindergarten. He painted his upside down and convinced the rest of the class theirs was wrong. The teacher was quite upset and called mom. She stewed on little brother awhile. But was told later in life mom had told the teacher we needed to focus on little brothers excellent communication skills, and let the tulip whining go. Yep soft spoken mom didn't get along with established guidelines and boxes when it came to the kids.

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