Changing how creatives work: Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull
How the Pixar team fosters a creative culture
I’ve been enjoying a flurry of inspiration in the past couple years from a treasure trove of books.
Among the books has been Ed Catmull’s Creativity Inc, written with Amy Wallace.
As readers who have been with us for a while know, I’ve assembled some of the best books I’ve read in the realm of creativity into the “Creative Thinker’s Library.”
Your purchase of any book in this collection, using the affiliate links provided in the library, helps the Spark continue its mission.
Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, is interested in sharing his insights into a productive workspace for creatives.
The book lands at a beautiful crossroads where technological innovation, artistic rigor, and dedicated storytelling take center stage.
I’ve spoken about it a bit before already, and how it inspired my idea of the “Three T’s of Edge”:
Pixar’s infrastructure was built with the intention of focusing on how to bring people together.
The bathroom, for instance, was placed in a spot specifically where people had to meet people from other departments.
The insistence that great ideas come from anyone, anywhere runs throughout Creativity, Inc.
He discusses reducing fear by getting leaders to talk about failure openly.
“If we as leaders can talk about our mistakes and our part in them, then we make it safe for others.”
The creative world must foster a sense of security, which in turn helps great ideas manifest themselves.
“Originality is fragile,” he notes.
He also notes that most new ideas come out looking like “ugly babies.”
It’s important to love them just the same.
“Our job is to protect our babies from being judged too quickly. Our job is to protect the new.“
From there the work begins, allowing the crew to tap into collective creativity just the same — members are encouraged to direct constructive criticism as the process goes along, helping the teams to hone their craft.