Walking through Phoenix (my exercise in both aerobics and in paying attention to details), I saw something deeply interesting. At first, I thought it was a sculpture, but when I got closer, I saw it was decorative painting on an apartment house. I’ve seen a lot of murals, but this was purely decorative. And well done.
The overall view was intriguing. It looked like a pyramid, because it made use of the building’s corner as a focal point. It also looked as if there were clouds reflecting in the surface, because of the painting technique. Also interesting.
If I had been satisfied with the big picture, I would have lost the detail. I often teach business writers to start with the big picture and work down to details. This image is a good example. Seeing the details explained the success of the big picture.
The details don’t show in the big picture, but the details create the interest and the illusion. Big pictures create understanding. Details show the way to understanding. Both are important. Either one alone can’t handle both concepts.
Art and creative work is important to any business. Creative problem solving involves working with both details and big pictures. And the success of a company often depends on using creative problem-solving to crack an unusual or new problem. The old solutions won’t work on new problems. Creativity isn’t new, it’s ancient. When archeologists discover ancient cultures, they don’t look for spreadsheets. They look for artifacts of problem-solving techniques. They speak the loudest, in any language, through time.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches writing and creative problem solving.