Meh-diocrity Killed Creativity
Tibor Kalman said it best, “When you make something no one hates, no one loves it.” No innovative work can come from living in constant fear of critics. Those kinds of preoccupations suck the creative energy out of us; energy that could be better spent on exploration and generating ideas. So someone hated our work... So what? Think about it, if people hate our work it means we've hit a nerve, we've moved something inside of them. What's scary is getting no reaction at all. I fear "Meh" more than "This sucks" and for good reason.
"Meh-diocrity" is dangerous. It spreads through conference rooms and offices like wildfire. When pleasing clients (or not upsetting them) is more important than the task itself, we can expect mediocrity. Mediocre work thrives in disengaged environments, in workplaces where putting in the minimum requirements in order to meet deadlines is acceptable. Mediocrity feeds off of fear: fear of losing my job, fear of upsetting the client, fear of sounding stupid, of being rejected, fear of failure.
We cannot expect innovations to arise from the lukewarm comfort zone of "meh." Creativity requires freedom to explore without fear. We need more engaged workplaces that encourage taking the path less traveled; where stupid ideas can be bounced off without judgement. We need more companies that consider error as part of the creative process (and include it in work timelines and budgets). After all, only fearless explorers discover new worlds.
Image Credits: Mario De Meyer for AIGA.