In a wonderful bit of synchronicity, my official career (advertising) and encore career (launching a primary care advocacy organization) came together thanks to a post on the Well blog of the NYT. Written by Dr. Danielle Ofri, it poses the question: what are you doing creatively these days?
Ofri, of course, is talking to doctors who, she believes, are innately creative but stifled by an “algorithmic approach to diagnosis and treatment.” She challenges them to think outside the box of “standardized treatment success” and bring a more creative, nuanced approach to the “every day delivery of health care,” benefitting both patient and practitioner.
What she prescribes is both revolutionary (in traditional medical education) and commonsensical (but occasionally forgotten by those of us in the creative business), specifically:
– Incorporate the arts and humanities in the medical school curricula. Patients (and communicators) are storytellers. What better way to understand what they’re saying than with the tools art, literature and poetry teach us? Read a book, go to a movie, see a show, get out of your head.
– Think different. Consider ideas and relationships that don’t fit established patterns.
– Follow that metaphor. Go beyond the statement to find out what’s really behind the symptom (or the selling proposition).
Ofri recommends that “the next time you see your doctor, you might want to ask what he or she is doing creatively these days.” As creatives, we should ask ourselves the same thing.