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Does video conferencing kill creativity?

As someone who’s been using video conferencing for some time I know for a fact that Zoom does not kill creativity, especially for financial advisors.  But according to a study, and as reported by Alison Snyder and Erica Pandey of Axios, which you can read here, the cost of Zoom (and other video conferencing methods) is one that essentially kills creativity.

I say “it depends” and “Zoom doesn’t kill creativity, a lack of creativity & infrastructure does.”  So, let’s unpack this further.

How does video conferencing kill creativity?

As per my recent LinkedIn post, which you can read here, I looked at one point and gave my opinion on it. The study states that ‘videoconferencing hampers idea generation because it focuses communicators on a screen, which prompts a narrower cognitive focus.’ However, this could not be further from the truth.

Creativity needs inclusion, and it can be created through interaction. All it needs is the right spark, and infrastructure!

Understandably not to detract, if you’re limiting yourself to infrastructure like engaging on a laptop screen of approximately 15 inches in size (or less), then surely, not only will creativity be hampered, but a wide range of functions.

For instance, a meeting with four or more people will immediately spotlight the speaker or the presentation while hiding the participants. Larger displays, dual screens, or multiple monitor setups change the game here.

What is creativity and how can it be sparked?

Humans are capable of great things. You reading this now are in a position, at this very moment, that you couldn’t possibly imagine five years ago. This broad statement rings true for anyone. The pandemic changed our lives, and technology changed it further still. At the rate that tech evolves, it will be like falling on our own swords if we do not adapt and allow ourselves to evolve with it.

This brings me to my next point: Creativity relies on inclusion, contribution, and emotional connection. All of which can be harnessed with the right tech.

If you can see all the individuals present in a meeting, regardless of what is shared on-screen and are able to interact as you would in an in-person setting, then surely, you will see video conferencing very differently. You can then read body language, as you normally would, pick up on personal cues, and express yourself via your own reactions. And let me tell you this, creativity begins to flow!

My personal experience

As you may well know, I’ve been working remotely as a financial advisor and now fintech CEO for almost a decade, and in this span of time, I’ve closed off my brick and mortar offices and taken my wealth management business entirely online.

I then created two new tech businesses and started a podcast with the incredible Adam Holt, which you can find on Apple Podcasts here.  As most of you probably know, starting and running a podcast takes a ton of creativity.  What’s remarkable about the Rethink – Financial Advisor Podcast Adam and I run is that we have never met in person, heck, we’ve never even been in the same time zone.  Sure this is just one example of how Zoom doesn’t kill creativity, but doesn’t it take just one example (spark) to show others what is possible?

Creativity is crucial to my ability to connect, inspire, and educate the next generation of financial advisors, among my other business pursuits. But, of course, this does open up a whole new conversation: Can the proper infrastructure open up a new world for a new age digital financial advisor?

Infrastructure can make or break your output and performance 

It comes down to one thing. Having the right tools is fundamental to achieving success. Don’t expect a woodsman to cut down a tree without an axe. And while an axe can make all the difference, a chainsaw exponentially improves productivity. See where I’m going with this?

In the same way, conducting your business with a mobile setup is fine for when you’re on the road. But when you find your safe space and want to use a section of your home for office work, then invest in the right equipment. A dual-screen setup can make all the difference, but adding a third screen can exponentially improve your productivity.  In fact I teach advisors all about this in my financial advisor course, Conneqtor.

Similarly, having the right specs for your workstation can cut down start-up times and the time to sort through your various apps and programs and, in all fairness, give you some of your time back for other activities.

In conclusion

I’d like to see this same study conducted with the right tech, and I’ll be open to seeing whether the conversation changes at all.

Feel free to join the conversation on my LinkedIn profile and let me know. Does video conferencing affect your creativity?

I look forward to your response.

Cheers,

Derek

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