How can a company remain creative as it grows?
In 1986, Steve Jobs bought a little-known animation studio.
Ever the visionary, he was betting on the future of computer animated films. Together with Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, it was renamed Pixar Animation Studios.
It eventually became responsible for some of the most successful animated movies of all time including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc.
The company grew fast and, with it, came the challenge of keeping their creative spirit intact.
At its heart, creativity is about challenging conventions and breaking rules and as organisations grow this is often killed by the developing bureaucracy.
Catmull was in charge of making the creative process run smoothly and allowing it to continue to flourish regardless of Pixar’s size.
He wrote an excellent book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration which is an essential guide for any organisation that values the power of creativity and wants it to continue to thrive.
So what are some of the key lessons to be learned from Creativity, Inc.? Below are five we’ve singled out:
1) Hire the best people you can
The ‘best’ people refers not only to talent but also the ability to work with others. Great ideas are seldom spawned from just one person. It’s almost always a group of talented people adding and build on an initial thought.
2) Failure is part of the process
When it comes to creative endeavours, a goal of zero failure is worse than useless. It is counterproductive.
3) Give good notes and feedback
Work hard at giving frequent and specific feedback. Ask what’s working and what’s not working. Be clear about what you like and what doesn’t make sense.
4) Be transparent
Be open about your company’s goals and make people accountable for their objectives. Creative organisations tend to be more openly connected ones.
5) You are not your ideas
First iterations of anything are usually pretty terrible. Don’t let yourself get too attached to your ideas. Sometimes you’ve got to let them go.
Creativity is a vital skill for any company. The ability to solve problems and spot new opportunities is what separates those that survive and prosper from those that fail.
If you’re interested in how creativity can transform your business, check out our ‘Creativity for Business’ course.