Sep 3, 2014

How to Be a Creative Team... 25 Thoughts from Pixar Studios

The team at Pixar Studios is a creative machine.  They produce many of the feature films that grace the big screen and captivate the hearts of kids world-wide.

So how do they do it?  What's the secret behind the finished product?  Well, now you can get an inside look at this super creative company thanks to a new book called "Creativity, Inc."

It was written by Ed Catmull, who is the President of Pixar Animation.  Here are 25 thoughts from the book that will help you and your team be more creative.
 
Acknowledge that you will always have problems when you are creating.  The goal is to look for those problems and uncover them, even if it means making yourself uncomfortable.

When it comes to creative inspiration, job titles and hierarchy are meaningless.

The way talented people interact with one another is key.

It is better to focus on how a team is performing than the talents of the individuals in it.

Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.

Ideas are not singular.  They are forged through tens of thousands of decisions.

Inspiring managers push their people to excel.

Excellence must be an earned word.  It is contributed to us by others, not proclaimed by us about ourselves.

You are not your idea.  If you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.

A creative debate must not be waged in the hopes of one person winning the day.  Instead, it seeks only to excavate the truth.

The antidote to fear on a team is trust.

The most creative people are willing to work in the shadow of uncertainty.

You'll never stumble upon the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar.

After completing a project, have the team make a list of five things they would do again and five things they wouldn't do again.

Creativity involves missteps and imperfections.  You have to be comfortable with that.

Include people in your problems, not just in your solution.

While everyone appreciates cash bonuses, they value something else almost as much: being looked in the eye by someone they respect and being told, "Thank you."

Give a good idea to a mediocre team and they will screw it up.  Give a mediocre idea to a great team and they'll either fix it or come up with something even better.

Always try to hire people who are smarter than you.

If there is more truth in the hallways than in meetings, you have a problem.

Trust doesn't mean that you trust someone won't screw up - it means you trust them even when they do screw up.

A company's communication structure should not mirror it's organizational structure.  Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

Protect the future, not the past.

If someone disagrees with you, there is a reason.  Our first job is to understand the reasoning behind their conclusions.

Let go of things that don't work.

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