A while ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with Jennie Willink, Blue Man Group’s Executive Producer, Senior VP of Creative Affairs, and “organizer of creative chaos.” Willink made the case for superior organization in creative teams.
“Making ideas happen,” Jennie Willink proclaims, “is pretty much all I think about.” After more than twelve years with Blue Man Group, Willink leads the company’s creative team - a 30+ person group that generates and executes ideas for new acts, music, advertising, and characters.
Members of the Willink’s creative team have one central responsibility: develop new ideas. Willink runs a tight ship. She’s affectionately referred to as the “Chartmaster.” And, in a “meeting-heavy culture” Willink needs to stay organized and maintain order.
While Willink claimed that Behance had caught her on a particularly “disorganized office” day, she sure had us fooled. “Chartmaster” is fitting, given the charts that grace her walls - and even the door to her office. Willink’s office is flanked with multi-year 4 foot wide calendars. On the outside of Willink’s door, for the entire office to see, is a multi-year chart outlining the tours, events, and marketing campaigns over the coming years (yes, years - plural). This level of accountability helps her stay organized - and keeps everyone else in sync.
When you think of Blue Man Group, you think of rampant creativity. I found it especially interesting that the head of Creative Affairs was such a compulsive organizer (her nickname as “Chartmaster” says it all). Perhaps creativity needs order?