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Creativity —
is not a sudden flash of inspiration that comes to some ideal mind and ideal hands but results from purposeful person's painstaking work.
 

We are a team of creative and enthusiastic people. We know a lot about computer graphics, keep up with events, and distribute the very latest information. Computer graphics artist, modeller, visualiser - these are professions of the future. We look to the future with optimism and hope that by sharing information we can attract new people and new fans to a field like computer graphics.
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21.08.2007
How the companies manage employees with creative specialisations
     

"Vedomosti"

People from the so-called creative professions require a particular approach and create many problems for an employer. It’s these people, by the way, who are in greatest demand on the labour market. According to data from the recruiting agency Head Hunter, these specialisations are editors, journalists, copywriters, art directors and creative directors. The salary levels of these specialisations grew for 7% to 15% last year.
 
Geniuses and rubbish
“The theoretical value of geniuses is high, because they produce masterpieces,” argues the Vice President of the ALS Group (3D graphics and animation), Stanislav Svarichevsky, scathingly. “But in practice geniuses usually try to convince the client about the lack of artistic merit of what they are asked to do until the client starts to “boil”. Then the genius modestly refuses the work, asserting that he will not “do rubbish”. Therefore in ALS we try to get rid of geniuses at the discussion stage. It’s difficult to imagine Pushkin composing an advertising slogan, or Vrubel creating a label for chocolates in the art nouveau style.” “Reflecting on corporate risks, its better to deal not with geniuses but with talents,” considers Svarichevsky.
 
A carpet plus ideas
It’s even better to develop talents which follow the company’s needs. “We consider that it’s possible to teach and to learn creativity,” states the commercial director of the R&I Group, Veselina Kukhta. The main way of not only teaching creativity but of incorporating the creative mechanism in the R&I Group is brainstorming. “ In brainstorming sessions, all seniority is dispensed with and the ideas of the general director and of a simple manager are discussed on the same level. And tea, coffee and even cigarettes are allowed, “ says Kukhta. In such a relaxed atmosphere serious intellectual work can be accomplished. The person leading the brainstorming session, gives the floor to the participants and they shouldn’t be afraid to express even the craziest ideas. Criticising them is forbidden under the rules of the brainstorm.” “Not many creative people can work fruitfully in an office with a grey carpet,” adds Olga Brukovskaya, Marketing Director of Head Hunter. “In our marketing department we have a fluffy white carpet with multicoloured cushions , soft toys and hedgehog sofas. We sit on them in meetings. Free time and comfortable surroundings – that’s the only way of helping creative people have inspiration.”
 
An exponent of freedom
Concerning free time - The Begin Group asked visitors to its website the following question: “Is it necessary for representatives of the creative professions to have a free timetable?” 19% of those who replied said that it was necessary and 34% that it wasn’t, and 47% said that it depended on the work and the person. Olga Brukovskaya considers that it’s pointless constraining creative people within a strict framework and making them come to work at 9 a.m. “ Failure to meet deadlines is one of the serious problems working with creative people,” admits Brukovskaya, “therefore you have to give them a time limit and warn them of the approach of the deadline.” You can’t create between 10 the morning and 8 o’clock in the evening, and inspiration comes to some people in the night,” remarks Kukhta. “We found that people were working creatively at night and then were not in a state to come to work in the morning. We tried to fine them, but that didn’t help. Therefore now we allow colleagues to come in when they think it is necessary, but under the condition that the work will be completed on time and that the person is reachable by the client and the management.”
Art Director of the Artemia Lebedev Studia, Oleg Pashchenko simply doesn’t want to think in terms of “office discipline”, “motivation” and “work timetable”. “In the phrase “creative potential” there’s nothing urological. My work timetable is a flaming display soaring in the pre-dawn skies,” declares Pashchenko. In spite of the “display”, or perhaps because of it, colleagues in the Lebedev Studio are allowed a free timetable, evocative dress code and even to daydream.
 
A fine for anyone late
Far from all creative workers are allowed such freedom and far from all employers allow it. So, in the early days of the ALS Group, the management tried to be understanding about the freedom of their team. “We increased salaries and required just one thing of our employees – that they completed the work on time. As long as they did that they could come and go when they liked,” recalls Stanislav Svarichesky. “As a result the first project was handed over ahead of schedule, the second only just on time, and the next was delayed by several months. Therefore we re-examined our relationship with creative people. Now, all employees of the ALS Group, regardless of their level of genius, arrive at 10 a.m. and for every minute late they lose part of their bonus. And that’s it. “We got a close-knit, hard working team,” argues Svarichevsky.
Many representatives of creative professions admit the practicability of such restrictions. “ In my case a strict timetable promotes self-discipline,” considers the creative producer of the design studio “Pro-Obraz”, Olga Prokhorova, “the regularity of the office brings stability to our work.”
 
Authority and profit
Speaking about creative employees, we often have in mind designers and copywriters, forgetting artists, ceramicists , and script writers and the like, who also pose problems for the management. Probably the main one sounds like: how can we make people work to a high standard and get the jobs done on time? In fact we are talking about motivation, and not always financial. The creative groups with whom we work earn money in other places, and for us they are willing to work free of charge, relates the director of the project “Theatre.doc.”, Elena Gremina With us the motivation is artistic fulfilment. And the main thing here is delegation of authority. If everything is controlled, people stop feeling a sense of responsibility and are transformed simply into facilitators. Gremina was given a commercial television project to manage and applied those very principles. “ It was important to me that the artists didn’t feel like people just being used, but understood that the work and the result depended on them.
The general Director of the company Lumi (designer furniture), Olga Vereshkina also talks about delegation of authority. “We don’t keep artists who work in our Company on a lead. We are in partnership with them. We supply the materials, place to work, advertising; then the profit from a sale we divide in half.” Vereshkina states that Lumi has practically no problems with artists because the interests of both parties coincide. The agency R&I Group work along similar principles. “ All our managers are partners in the agency and receive a percentage from the orders, “ explains Veselina Kukhta. “Their motivation is not only financial. For creative people recognition within the team is important – when your idea is valued by your colleagues, and beyond that, when the name of a designer of a successful project appears in the newspaper.”
 
Outside all limits
“People should not be classified as creative or non-creative but as good or bad workers.” Stanislav Svarichevsky is convinced. He also admits that a “poor” worker for one company could turn out to be a “very good” one in another. Everything depends on the corporate culture and the internal rules of the company.
Some people with serious creative potential completely drop out of this nice picture of the corporate world. They are totally unable to play by corporate rules, even by the most liberal. “What sort of corporate rules can you have?” asks puppet maker, Pavel Yarilovets with surprise, “Companies for me simply don’t exist. I won’t go and work as an official for “Gazprom”. I tried but they threw me out.”
 
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Alexei Federovsky:
The still famous Russian poet Alexander Segeyevitch Pushkin said of us artists, We are born for inspiration, for the sounds of the sweet and the harsh!

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