“Originality is fragile. And, in its first moments, it’s often far from pretty.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.
Pixar. Oh Pixar. They move so many of us with their emotionally charged stories, beautiful vision, and seemingly limitless creative output. It is astounding how much good material comes from Pixar and it begs the question, how on God’s green Earth do they keep it up? Put simply, as discussed in Ed Catmull’s ‘Creativity Inc.’ Pixar protects creativity.
Here’s some guiding principles for protecting creativity:
· Enable and encourage candid feedback.
· It is the manager’s job to make sure it is safe to take risks, not prevent them.
· Failure isn’t bad. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new..
· Work doesn’t, and shouldn’t need to be perfect before it is shared with others..
· Large problems help us to think differently.y.
· Be wary of making too many rules..
I could go on and on about this book, but here's the crucial point: Creativity is a term that not many fully understand.
To some, creativity may seem like a galaxy far, far away. To others, it flows through their veins like the never-ending water cycle of the Niagara Falls. But creativity isn’t a magic dust filtered into our minds by wizards. It’s a process. A painful process at times but nevertheless something that can, in the right environment, flourish.
Creativity doesn’t just appear and go away. Ideas come from everywhere and shouldn’t be instantly dismissed. We are all creative in some capacity and what Pixar seem to have got right is providing the right environment and systems to create consistent, outstanding creative output. So, are there any processes that can be learned from Pixar? Why yes, there certainly are.
· Braintrust – fosters creativity through candid feedback
· Notes Day – empower your employees by including them in the solution
· Postmortems – a post project analysis, addressing what did and didn’t workork
What can we learn from Pixar?
We learn that it’s not just the round pegs in the square holes that can be creative. We learn that ideas come from everywhere and should be embraced, questioned and regularly reviewed. We learn that through the right environment, allowing your employees freedom and flexibility, and embracing change is key to success and staying ahead of the game.
Pixar will leave a legacy that will last long after we are gone. And for good reason, they have nailed their company culture.