It’s been almost a month since Chicago Ideas Week #CIW 2013 wrapped – after attending 17 different events I’m still absorbing a lot of mind blowing stories and great tools. But the one thing that has persistently occupied my mind is the epic battle of the Perfect vs Imperfect, which at times as haunted me more often than I’d like to admit.
Throughout my CIW experience, I consistently heard from innovators of all walks describe how what they started out pursuing and/or creating ended up being a far cry from what eventually took shape and came to life. In fact, many of them experienced radical setbacks, even a series of disconcerting twists and turns leading to failures before rising from the ashes and ultimately arriving at outcomes better than the original vision.
This point was best illustrated during my lab with Ink Factory – an incredibly talented group of graphic recording artists who are revolutionizing xxx. As the co-founders Ryan and Dusty, were sharing some of their typography techniques, they were asked about making mistakes during their live graphic recording sessions. Without hesitation, Dusty threw up this image on the board:
Her answer was beautifully simple – we misspell stuff all the time. But we don’t allow it to stop our work. Instead, we find a way to build and augment on the situation. Looking at the image of the word “alignment” – the arrows which were put there to ‘correct’ the sequence of the letters actually gave the word more meaning and impact. The end result was actually better than just spelling the word in the expected, normal way. The imperfection made it more compelling and beautiful.
Improv teaches this principle in spades. No matter what happens, it’s “yes, and…” For my generation who largely grew up learning to scribble through, ball up mistakes and start over – it’s incredibly freeing and empowering to view imperfections as delectable starting points to be molded and shaped along the way. Now that’s something to embrace and live by.