GLS15: Session 2b Ed Catmull

Global Leadership Summit 2015
Session 2b
Ed Catmull
Creativity, Inc: One on One with Ed Catmull

  • One of the great misconceptions of our time is not understanding that creativity is in both science and art
  • Art is about learning how to see. Wouldn’t we want this in all areas of business.
  • It all comes down to the power of a great story.
  • Stories are the way we communicate with each other at every level.
  • “The good stories are the ones that connect with emotions.”
  • When presenting ideas to people and it doesn’t look good the measure of progress is how the team is working together and not the idea. If there is laughter in the room, they will solve it.
  • Brain trust (a group to help with problems) team foundations: - (1) Peers talking to peers (not boss to employee)
  • (2) In that room for that time there is no power structure
  • (3) Have a vested interest in each others’ success
  • (4) Give and listen to good notes
  • magic happens when people are not attached to their ideas so they can be worked on
  • it is inevitable that the team will go astray during the work and lose objectivity. Your peers or a powerful outside force/audience, can help pull you out.
  • “Creativity is about solving problems.”
  • “Coming up with solutions is a creative act. In that creative act you want other people to help you.”
  • Failure has 2 meanings: - Intellectual – something to learn from
  • Danger – deep emotional feelings in working about being hurt or attacked by others
  • Address the thing that brings about the fear by being honest.
  • Fail early and fail fast. We will fail and it needs to be safe to do it. If you can do it fast you will progress more quickly.
  • Don’t punish or embarrass people when they fail.
  • “All good artists know they need to operate within constraints.”
  • The problem with being unbounded with no budget means you will have too many options. A budget helps bring constraint.
  • It gives greater energy to have a constraint.
  • post mortem: take time at the end of a project to maximize learning by looking at the good and the bad (introspection) – the introspection needs to be done differently each time because people will game the system
  • “Trust is something you have to earn and not just be something you agree to do.”
  • Stating values is easy. It is hard to find out why you aren’t living up to them.
  • Changing office layouts: “With open spaces you have accidental encounters.”
  • Don’t have many rules and people need to go on field trips to research. You have to go there and find something you don’t know. “People sense things are real even when they don’t know why.”
  • “Education is storytelling.” “Marketing is storytelling.” “Our job is to use our storytelling for good.”
  • Silent retreat – the chattering in your mind is not you…it takes 4 days for the chattering to wind down

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