In the development of ideas, we generally see two types of people: creators and pruners. While people often display both types, usually one is dominant.
Creators birth ideas or develop existing ones further by adding onto them. Pruners take ideas and modify them to fit a situation. Whereas ideation tends to be a growing process with creators (and potentially infinite), it tends to be a cutting back one with pruners (and thus finite). In the extreme, creators never complete ideas because of constantly “perfecting” them while pruners will reduce ideas until they’re nothing or provide no value.
Business contains many examples formalizing these functions. We have “writers” and “editors.” The first creates, the second prunes. Manufacturers create products and retailers select (prune) what they will offer. In media, we have content creators such as newspapers, movie production companies, television producers, etc. and content aggregators such as search engines, cable companies, booksellers, movie renters, etc. who choose (prune) the content they will offer.
In our daily business lives, we will hear creators say something like:
- I’d like to throw this idea out on the table.
- What would happen if we added this to your idea?
- Please expand your idea to include these scenarios.
Conversely, pruners will say something like:
- This is really too much; let’s cut it out.
- Can’t we just leave this out to save money?
- This is overkill; we don’t need these steps.
Pruners’ input often seems like criticism; however, creators often have difficulty pruning their creations for commercial purposes. Yet, pruners wouldn’t have work if creators didn’t create; nothing would need pruning. Yes, the two functions are interdependent, but they help us distinguish personalities for specific business purposes. People tend toward functions that best suit their personalities.