If it comes easy, you’re not doing it right...

Great advice from Malcom Gladwell in this AIGA presentation about the process of creative synthesis that results in genius and creativity. He touches on a point that became a bit of revelation for me when I first came across it: that great ideas rarely (if ever) appear fully realized out of thin air but are instead the result of dedication and hard work.

This insight came to me in full force during my last months at Microsoft when I was doing a design firm tour, going from firm to firm to get insight into how different groups approach the creative process. Prior to that, I had underestimated not just the time but also the meticulous process that was required to, eventually, generate the best ideas and best designs.

It’s tempting to see the work of a great designer and think that it was always that way and the better the design, the more effortless it might appear. Great designs, great experiences and even great code are susceptible to a kind of under-estimation. Mr. Gladwell’s welcome point, however, is that great works require great effort.

Phew! There’s hope for the rest of us!