How well should your creative team know each other?

The Broadway industry tends to be pretty insular . . . and the outside business world rarely pokes their head in our world to see what’s going on.

But when they do, it’s pretty fascinating.

Case in point:

An article appeared in Slate last week discussing the results of a study by social scientists Brian Uzzi and Jarrett Spiro, who jumped into our fray to get a better understanding of “How Creativity Works.”

They studied almost 500 Broadway musicals produced between 1945 and 1989 to try and determine what the optimum relationship should be in order to produce the most success.

Heady, right?

You can read the capsule results in the article here . . . but here’s the upshot:  they determined that if a team knows each other too well, they are more inclined to produce the same ol’ stuff they’ve always produced, and their material will lack innovation.  If they don’t know each other at all, well, it’ll be hard for them to literally get on the same page.

Makes sense, right?

I’m not sure if this article is going to alter how I look for creative teams, but it is a fascinating read (and if this subject interests you, you should buy this heck of a book that teaches lessons on how to be more creative).

And it did remind me of a trend that I’ve seen, that I’ve used and that I believe will continue to develop over the next decade.

We are living in the era of the community.  Every day we witness new ideas of groups of people coming together (in most cases, online) and finding power through the development of a community, whether that community is five people or five million.  Crowd-funding, meetups . . . the Arab Spring . . . are all examples of this new phenomenon.

The next step is to let a community create.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.