I’m a creative and a designer, but I have always had a fondness for math. There has been much written about how these two are related, the golden ratio and all. But when I came across this article on Fast Company, Create I nearly swooned. I love Nate Silver. I love his statistical analysis of elections and baseball, and pretty much everything! His is one of the only blogs I regularly read on NYTimes. So when I saw the headline “What Nate Silver Can Teach Us About Creativity — And Account Planning,” I was hooked.
What makes Nate Silver such a superstar in my mind is his ability to marry creativity with facts. In fact, the article says, “I think there are two types of creativity,” he says. The first is what he calls “pure expression” — a phrase to describe the work of musicians, poets, actors, dancers, and the like. “The other kind,” he says, “is finding different ways to approach and solve a problem. I’m not sure of the first kind, but I think I have a lot of the problem-solving type of creativity.” Math, as he once put it, “is a different language you can use to think through problems.”
Well thought-out marketing and communication uses the analytical creativity. It solves a problem; and what that problem is changes from client to client and project to project. The author, Tom Hehir, relates this type of creativity to account planning; not just the design that most people think of when they think of ad agencies, or creativity in general. It is so important to take what ever data you can, analyze it, and strategize around it.
There is a reason Nate Silver was named Fast Company’s most creative person in 2013. In this day and age, there are SO many tools for account planners to use to give the creatives the tools to express that creativity in a strategic way. I have never thought of myself as a frustrated artist, like so many of my fellow creatives; instead, I fully embrace being in the ad game. Said in my best Don Draper voice, I sell things you didn’t know you wanted, I sell dreams you didn’t know you had. But I do so based in fact and analytics and yes, math.