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Walker Sands Book Club: Creativity, Inc.

Sarah Erickson

The fusion of creativity and technology is no simple feat.

That’s why Ed Catmull’s "Creativity, Inc." was the perfect addition to the Walker Sands Book Club. As the president of Pixar, Catmull's tale centers on the development of the stories we love most, revealing the company’s creative strategies and dynamic approach to technology.

But as powerful as Pixar is today, it certainly didn’t start that way. For years, the company’s founders worked tirelessly to build the bridge between storytelling and computers. It wasn’t until after the completion of Pixar’s first feature film, "Toy Story," that Catmull realized the company had some serious “Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.”Q3 Book Club

Over oatmeal cookies and refreshments, our latest book club dove into Catmull's tips for fostering a creative company culture:

  • Candid feedback: Catmull argues that a creative culture cannot thrive without candid feedback. Unlike blatantly honest feedback, candid feedback is truthful yet takes into account our human need for self-preservation. It removes the fear of receiving harsh criticism while also allowing team members to openly share their opinions.
  • Quality is earned, not self-prescribed: Too many companies describe their work, people or culture as “quality” without having earned it. When businesses self-prescribe a title of quality, the word loses its meaning. This causes its people to lose direction on their path to creative excellence.
  • Failure is inevitable: Any endeavor, whether it’s creative or not, will inevitably experience failure at some point – and that’s okay. In fact, it’s good. Failure shows us that we are pushing ourselves to do the unthinkable. When we analyze our failures, we enhance our problem-solving abilities and can create something even better.
  • People before ideas: It’s easy for companies to get so wrapped up in ideas that they lose sight of what’s really important – their people. Creative ideas flow from healthy, balanced people. If you support your people, the good ideas will come naturally.

Have a favorite tip from "Creativity, Inc.?" Share it with us @WalkerSands. Stay tuned to see what title we pick for our next book club!