I often hear practitioners in creative fields (such as photography, design, and writing) and engineering fields (such as development, QA, systems, infrastructure) talk about how different they are from the other group. This is sometimes in reference to processes from the other camp that ‘won’t work here’ or in reference to a frustrating experience that leaves people wondering how they could be so different from one another.
In either case, this is a topic that I’ve noticed people get pretty impassioned about. It’s an interesting topic to me because creative and engineering practice areas are so critical to success in the my world of entrepreneurship and technology. So I think it would be fun to explore (out loud) some of the similiarities and differences between to the folks in either practice areas.
I have to warn, of course, that this based on anecdotal evidence only and is in terms of my experiences. I know there is a bigger world out there, and I am not trying to make sweeping generalizations here. Anyway, here goes:
It’s obvious that people in engineering and people in creative are different. But people often draw this conclusion only by outward appearances, which I think is misleading. So let’s dig deeper into the real ways in which the two archetypes are different from one another:
Surprisingly, I think that there are quite a few similarities between folks in engineering and in creative. Here are a few:
After exploring this a little bit more, it has become clear to me that these groups are not as different as everyone builds them up to be. The similarities are more striking to me than the differences, at least to me. At the end of the day, good practitioners in either category are committed to building great stuff. In the end, I suppose thats what matters.
Most businesses seem to lean one way or the other when it comes to these archetypes. That generally has to do with the founders coming from one background or the other. This is something that I think it is very important to avoid. Being out of balance in the direction of creative or engineering often causes more harm then good. I think the degree to which these groups can collaborate together effectively is has a huge impact on the success of your business.