Next book on my list, I think! And this column/review in Forbes is a good read:

Finally: A Business Memoir That Owes More To Nassim Taleb Than To Jack Welch

Forbes contributor David Shaywitz generally writes about innovation in medicine, but it is his overview here of Pixar President Ed Catmull’s book, Creativity, Inc, that is interesting to new work and potential innovation within any industry.

It provides an opportunity for us to recognize that the uncertainty, tensions, and at times, frustration in collaboration, we feel as we innovate and develop new products, and the importance + challenge of just getting started, feedback and iteration, is not only to be expected but also critical to the creative process.

CreativityInc_©Disney_Pixar-674x1024A few good excerpts:

“Great projects aren’t born, but develop over time, and are inevitably associated with a vast number of false steps and dead-ends.”

“Getting from sucking to not sucking is the essence of film development, and requires candid feedback and the willingness to iterate.”

“… Catmull views the need to ensure emerging projects receive engaged, constructive feedback represents a vital ongoing challenge requiring constant vigilance and attention, rather than a problem a committee has solved.”

“Catmull isn’t looking for certitude, and would profoundly (and appropriately) distrust it if he saw it. But the alternative is finding a way to function and achieve balance – a very dynamic and ever-changing balance – in a world that’s constantly shifting.”

‘… He also observes that “the antidote to fear is trust,” and “trust is the best tool for driving out fear,” and getting people “to reframe the way they think about the process and the risks.” ‘

‘ … Not only does Catmull recognize the futility of trying to domesticate uncertainty, he also astutely perceives its value. “The most creative people are willing to work in the shadow of uncertainty,” he suggests. “The Hidden – and our acknowledgement of it – is an absolutely essential part of rooting out what impedes our progress: clinging to what works, fearing change, and deluding ourselves about our roles in our own success.” ‘

Some good quotes that stood out to one of my colleagues:

Re: the dev process:

The dynamic tensions between the various stakeholders within an organization can be healthy, a “route to balance, which benefits us all in the long run.”

Perhaps a refutation of “good enough” thinking?

Making the process better, easier and cheaper is an important aspiration, something we continually work on,” Catmull writes, “but it is not the goal. Making something great is the goal.”

This focus on techniques intrigues me…What are the techniques that could help us combine the different viewpoints w/in the company and among our stakeholders?

Catmull deeply believes we must “accept that we can’t understand every facet of a complex environment,” and should instead focus “on techniques to deal with combining different viewpoints.”

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