Allen Gannett is living proof that you can be highly creative and analytical at the same time, and that the creative vs. analytical distinction is a fallacy. Not only is he the founder of TrackMaven, a marketing analytics software company, he’s also the author of The Creative Curve, a book about how creativity can actually be learned or developed – the science of creativity.
The book’s central argument is that especially in Western society, creativity is seen as some kind of natural gift: you’re either born with it, or you’re not. Gannett breaks down this myth with a series of examples from successful creative geniuses, including Paul McCartney and the creators of Dear Evan Hanson.
Gannett shows that creativity, far from being an innate quality, is a skill honed over time, while stories of sudden bursts of creativity, muses speaking directly to the artist, can be explained better by understanding how steeped the artist was in their chosen medium (conscious consumption increases creativity).
As the title of the book implies, there are even charts. The titular “creative curve” shows how creative geniuses are able to produce hit after hit by combining the novel and the familiar and producing work that is just slightly ahead of its time:
Creative geniuses are able to hit the ‘sweet spot’ producing work as its popularity is on the upswing, rather than too cliche or ahead of its time.
As the chart shows, even if we consider ourselves more creative than analytical, we can still be analytical in our creative thinking. As we’re writing, drawing, making etc., we can consider where our work lies along the curve – is it extremely experimental, or too cliche? Of course, if you’re not striving for mainstream acclaim and monetary success, that’s fine too, but the simple act of measurement, of awareness, is useful to help you better reach your creative goals.
Not only is it a myth that you have to be born creative, it’s a myth that you have to be analytical or creative – that you can’t be both. Allen Gannett is living proof that distinction is a myth: successful CEO, author, and video blogger (if you missed his recent video with Pete Buttigieg, you can check it out here). And if anyone can be creative, anyone can be analytical too.