The Humanist Manifesto

We believe in the following pillars of creative work:

  1. Human beings are the most important asset to any creative endeavor.
  2. Subject matter experts should own their areas of expertise..
  3. Work-life balance is critical to maximizing output.

We believe in this system. We believe that the human element is an innovation team’s most valuable asset, that affording experts agency over their work yields optimal results, that maximum output starts with a humane work week. We have seen this system work and we wish to collaborate with teams that share these principles.

What is the Humanist Methodology?

The Humanist Methodology is a holistic leadership philosophy that aims to maximize the output of innovation teams by combining proven best practices with a dedication to work-life balance.

The Humanist Methodology centralizes and codifies best practices that allow leaders to maximize the output of their teams while preserving the livelihood, work-life balance, and quality of life of the leaders and collaborators at hand. It may sound like a pipe dream, but it is the way I have led for the past decade and the way I will lead for the rest of my career. 

While I personally place a great deal of emphasis on peer-reviewed studies and quantitative data, I derive these recommendations primarily from my own experience and present them as such. I have found them incredibly useful in my capacity as a creative leader and I hope you will too.

Sincerely,

Coray Seifert


Lexicon

To avoid ambiguity across these articles, I want to clearly define a few terms, as used throughout The Humanist Methodology:

Innovation Teams - Any team of creative collaborators doing work that is forging new ground. This may be as deep as new technologies, platforms or experiential paradigms, or as familiar as new content, refreshing classical material, or combining experience to create something new. This designation is specifically non-industry specific and intentionally broad.

Collaborators - Members of an innovation team working together towards a common goal. These may be producers or managers who tie teams together, specialists working largely in a vacuum adjacent to a larger team, or anything in between. The principles of the Humanist Methodology are applicable across the spectrum.

Subject Matter Experts - Individuals who have mastered a specific area of innovation work. An art director, physics engineer, or director of photography are all examples of subject matter experts. These are often senior-level individuals who have worked aggressive to hone their craft for many years, though mid and junior-level collaborators can sometimes become subject matter experts through rapid mastery of a craft. 

Leaders - The visionaries at the head of the organization who provide operational, directional and logistical guidance to collaborators on their innovation teams. While the Humanist Methodology encourages subject matter experts to have agency over their work, the Leaders of a project, product or organization are the ones who must provide the creative constraints to keep a project’s vision cohesive. They provide the boundaries within which subject matter experts can exert creative control.

Best-of-Breed Collaborator or World Class Collaborator - An individual who is either already the best at what they do or who has the potential to be the best; a collaborator who is exceptional across every measured vector (talent, potential, attitude, collaboration skills, etc.). Best-of-Breed collaborators come at every level of experience, from seniors who have mastered their craft and are pushing the limits of the artform to juniors who have incredible raw talent waiting to be channeled toward something great.

Creative Agency - The ability for subject matter experts to self-direct and guide their own work, within the creative constraints laid out by an innovation team’s leaders. This specifically means adopting the direction and vision of the project's Leader, determining the creative constraints established by that direction, and exploring the creative space within. Leaders provide high-level, strategic vision, while Subject Matter Experts handle details-level, tactical decision making.

Work-Life Balance - A strategic and tactical operational goal for maximizing innovation team output by encouraging every employee to average 40 hours a week while working 5 days a week. This does not preclude late nights or flexible hours and is an aspirational goal championed by leaders and supported by all collaborators. 


Coray Seifert is a writer and producer at Krakensoft Games. We make awesome indie games and help awesome companies make their games more awesome. It's pretty awesome.