Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Creativity, Inc.

Written By: Ed Catmull
Available on Amazon

I'm less interested in the whimsical creative side of Pixar, and more into how Pixar has structured themselves to allow and keep that creativity.

That's an important aspect for anyone in a creative field. There's nothing particularly special about being creative, as we have been creative countless times in the past. The issue with creativity is how to keep the momentum after the initial excitement or time of excitement.

Creativity, Inc is more of a manager's view of Pixar. It will lack the details of specific ideas and concepts, and it will focus on the day-to-day challenges of bringing a project to completion.

The book goes into Pixar's very beginnings, when there was no company or foundation, but just a dream of technology. As the book continues on, the subject of creativity comes up in countless ways.
 Pixar found itself contrasting itself with Disney on the subject of desks, where they visited Disney and found all the desks to be clean and sterile, and they realized they wanted their own employees to have freedom of expression. Conference meetings no longer had assigned seating or a type of table that assumed hierarchical order.

One of the final chapters does its best to condense its themes and advice of the book, but it truly is difficult summarize how much work and effort has taken place for Pixar to stay Pixar. Whether its the clash of office responsibilities, fear of being absorbed and losing their workplace personality, to cancelling a nearly finished project, it goes to show there is nothing without some sacrifice.

The final chapter is dedicated to a review of Steve Job's involvement in Pixar that is a phenomenal piece to read. It is personal, introspective, emotional, and by the time you finish you feel you were in the building with the rest of the company.

Five Stars