Tuesday 22 June 2021

A scientist, a queen and the devil walk into a bar...to discuss your next idea.

A scientist, an artist, the devil and a queen walk into a bar. Don't be fooled; this is not a start of some joke. It is yet another creativity tool to help you find the most fruitful & implementable idea. Here is how it works. 

Imagine that the scientist, the artist, the queen and the devil get together to discuss an interesting topic. The topic is the problem you are trying to solve—the more specific your problem, the better. 

Let's say that you want to create productivity guided journals, and your challenge is how to make them successful and sell at least 10,000 copies within the first year. 

The four characters are your archetypes that present themselves in many meetings and other group dynamics. You will notice that a person often switches between several roles as the discussion progresses. 

This creativity tool helps you streamline and organize this process for the most efficient, focused and impactful outcome. What's more, you can do this exercise completely alone. 

The four archetypes & what they represent

The scientist

The scientist is your 'nerd', the data-driven archetype. They want to know everything, understand everything and find out answers. The scientists will ask questions such as: How much will the printing cost? Where will it be printed out? How will it be shipped? 

It is that friend (or your aspect) who can kill your creative buzz with practical questions and extremely valuable to make any creative idea achievable. The scientist's role is to ask these questions and do the research to find most of the answers. They are the ones who will make everyone pause for a second and do the necessary research. They will want to base their decision on facts. 

The scientist's genius: The scientists find facts and aim at making informed decisions to ensure the success of your projects. 

The shadow aspects of the scientist: If you do not keep the scientist in check, she may quickly go down the rabbit hole of over-researching and never making the final decision. Every project has an element of the unknown, and the scientist has to be able to let go, take some risks and work with some 'assumptions' and 'educated guesses'. 

The artist

The artist is your creative aspect. It is the one who gets quickly excited and can come up with one hundred ideas no matter how practical or impractical they are. The artists ask questions such as: How can we make it better? How can we make it more interesting, unique, more fun, more valuable, stand out? What would make it cool? Which idea would give the most value? The artist pushes the status quo. In comparison, the scientist would pick the most practical and doable concept, but the artist advocates for an idea that is the most creative and valuable to users. 

The artist's genius: The artist is your creative mind. We are not speaking just about artistic creativity but any creative ideas. For the artist, the opportunities are limitless. 

The shadow aspects of the artist: The artist may come up with lots of ideas, that is also lots of impractical ideas. They may have difficulty choosing one idea. Alternatively, they get too excited about an idea and have an even more challenging time letting go. If others start nitpicking their creative genius, they may get stubborn and overprotective, especially when they feel that others do not share their vision. The artist may not take enough time to think about implementing an idea and may oversimplify the concepts. 

The devil

The devil is a unique archetype. The devil is the so-called 'devil's advocate' and, in other words, your typical 'party-pooper'. In the creative process, the devil has a very critical role. Their task is to find all possible issues with your idea. While often buzz killers, they may be able to prevent your project from failing by identifying all flaws ahead of time. After the devil points out all the issues, your task is to make sure you have a solution to most of them. 

The devil's genius: They can see issues and flaws in ideas where others can't. Foreseeing and forecasting future problems is one of their strengths.


The shadow aspects of the devil: They may discourage you from an idea that could have been successful. If the devil gets to speak too soon in the creative process, they may kill the creative flow early on. 

The devil and the artist are almost the opposite archetypes, yet they need to work closely together to produce creative yet successful ideas and projects. The key here is that both the devil and the artist have a dedicated time and space to speak. If this time is unstructured and they can talk over each other, frustration usually festers. 

When it is a time for the devil to speak, her time needs to be presented as a necessary time in the creative process. Otherwise, the people who are 'using the devil's archetype' are often labelled as 'too negative' and dismissed. As a result, 'the devils' on the team often stop speaking up and pointing up issues with an idea, which leads to more significant disasters later on. If we listen to 'the devils' and truly hear them out, your business will always be more successful. 

The queen

The queen archetype is your leader and decision-maker. She does not speak much, instead listens. She can condense the topics in a few sentences with critical points. 

The queen's genius: The queen's strength is her ability to draw conclusions and summarise critical topics. She can pick which issues are already solved and which need further analysis and decisions. The queen archetype represents a unique mix of mediator and leader. She is the sense of reason when others become too involved in their archetypes. 

The shadow aspects of the queen: The queen is drawn to finding conclusions. If she becomes impatient with the bickering of the others, she may tend to jump into final decisions prematurely. This happens when she wants to ensure that the project is moving quickly enough to meet the timelines and overall goals. 

The queen needs to find the right balance between making quick decisions yet being patient with the process. She has to decide when the idea needs more information and thus entrusting the scientist with further research when is the time for the creative ideas, and when is the time for the devil to speak up. She is the one who can stop others from interrupting and giving equal space for each member. 

How to utilize the four archetypes?

Now, when we understand the four archetypes, we can get their support in our creative process. Instead of finding four people representing all four archetypes, you can switch the roles on your own or with other participants. The process is simple, put yourself in the scientist's shoes, the artist, the queen and the devil. I genuinely feel their role and 'spirit' will come through you on the blank canvas of your next project. 

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