Creativity Inc.

Published: 17 Feb 2015

I read Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc. recently (recommended by @richardkoh).

I like how it is full of practical nuggets of advises from real experiences. The challenges and ideas presented in the book are very relevant to any creative endeavour. Definitely applicable to software production. Personally, I had a bit of a recursive thought reading the book. Ed described how Pixar sends its directors on domain-immersive trips before embarking on a new project. Similarly, organisations looking to be more creative should look towards such immersion as well, i.e. by getting leaders and employees to read such books and increase real-life interaction with such creative companies. While it is clear that creativity may entail changes in approach and thoughts; domain-immersion, alas in the very act of creativity itself, allows us to execute differently via a sincere dissolution of fear brought upon by the normalizing effect of such domain-immersion itself. The book describes how fear will inhibit creativity and thus the potential of a creative organization. But it also describes how "creative" efforts can go out of hand and how to manage it, as an organisation. That is another part of the book I like, the optimistic practice of creativity as a collective rather than an individual and efficient means to maximise benefit from such practice. In all, the book had been rejuvenating.

Here's a few quotes from the book:

Page 59:

"I added a professional presence by donning, at Steve's insistence, a tweed jacket with elbow patches."

Page 64:

"We had made the mistake of confusing the communication structure with the organizational structure."

Page 74:

"Even the smartest people can form an ineffective team if they are mismatched."

Page 108:

"If you aren't experiencing failure, you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it."

Page 114:

"The over planners just take longer to be wrong."

Page 120:

"Any failure at a creative company is a failure of many, not one."

Page 136:

"The Beast requires so much attention that it acquires inordinate power."

Page 141:

"As much as I admire the efficiency of the caterpillar in its cocoon, I do not believe that creative products should be developed in a vacuum."

Page 235:

"I am constantly rethinking my own models for how to deal with uncertainty and change and how to enable people."

Page 273:

"Easy isn't the goal. Quality is the goal."

Page 277:

"There is nothing like a crisis, though, to bring what ails a company to the surface."

Page 277:

"Fixing things is an ongoing, incremental process."

Page 280:

"As at many companies, one if the consequences of wild success is the pernicious distortion of reality."

Page 298:

"He became fairer and wider, and his understanding of partnership deepened- in large part because of his marriage to Laurene and his relationship with the children he loved so much."

Page 310:

"A characteristic of creative people is that they imagine making the impossible possible."

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