Creativity, Inc. Book Summary: Unleash Team Creativity

by Accessory To Success December 23, 2020

Creativity, Inc. Book Summary: Unleash Team Creativity

Listen To This Article

How To Inspire Team Creativity

Many in business yearn to be creative. In a world filled with annual reports, spreadsheets, analysis and negotiations, many relish the opportunity to add a little artistic flair wherever possible, even giving untrained input into other departments’ work, such as marketing or public relations, where there are usually professionally accredited artists and/or designers already making those decisions.

What many don’t realize is that even in organizations where creativity is a business standard, much more than individual creative whims go into the work. In Ed Catmull’s business book (co-written with Amy Wallace) Creativity, Inc., chronicles both the process and the history of one of the most profitable entertainment companies in history, Pixar, are recounted by one of the four founders of the company (the others being financier Steve Jobs, fellow computer scientist and inventor Alvy Ray Smith, and former lead animator and creative officer John Lasseter).


Key To Creativity In Teamwork

  • The overall history of the digital revolution of arts and entertainment in academia and its further evolution under George Lucas
  • The ability of creative thinking to solve complex problems in the workplace
  • The importance of protecting the creative process in the workplace
  • The most effective managerial style in implementing a creative-minded organization
  • The melding of traditional creative thinking and the scientific/technological standards of testing, observing and recording new attempts at problem-solving
Creativity, Inc.

Featured In This Review

Creativity, Inc.

$13.29

A book that teaches how to leverage the creativity in your team to your advantage. What is takes to build an engaged workforce and world class work environment. Written by the former president of Disney & Pixar.

SHOP NOW

Creativity, Inc. Book Summary

Catmull starts out discussing the need to solve problems in everyday situations, starting with the example of a traditional, long meeting table with people’s names arranged in a hierarchical manner. He makes the point that having a hierarchical setup for a creative project that involves dozens of people is not a good thing, as everyone’s brain power is equally needed to solve problems with a project. As a result, the company removed the old table and set up a new square-based seating arrangement, without a seating chart. Contrasting, but somehow supportive opinions on this can be found in the book The Messy Middle.

From here, Catmull segues into a mini-biographical and historical lesson, describing growing up in the late 1950s in Utah, being transfixed both on the stories and showmanship of Walt Disney’s weekly television shows and growing up in the prosperous post-World War II era.

Creativity, Inc. Book Summary Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Quote 1

He singles out the announcement of the Sputnik satellite launch and the American response of starting its own research agency (ARPA) to advance scientific progress locally. He speaks of his early artistic ambitions (without the requisite ability to make it) and his academic push into computer science in the late 1960s.

Most importantly, Catmull speaks of the foundations of his own managerial and project leadership taking place at his alma mater, University of Utah, where ARPA-funded programs were worked on for graduate-level college credit and the inspiration to animate using a computer took hold. This portion of the book is much like the story of Bill Gates told in the book Outliers.


Want to buy a book review like this?
Click here to learn how to get your book reviewed!

LEARN MORE


Moving onto his start at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), Catmull recounts hiring people like Alvy Ray Smith. It is here that Catmull makes it a point that he firmly believes in hiring people smarter than he is, which allows for a greater learning experience and a richer collaboration in the workplace. After NYIT, he began working for George Lucas in a new division at Lucasfilm Ltd.

Creativity, Inc. Book Summary Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Quote 2

This division’s primary goal was to create a revolutionary film editing system using digital media. It was here where Catmull found a managerial mentor in Lucas, a future partner in hiring Disney’s John Lasseter and both a mentor and partner in future financier Steve Jobs.

The story of Pixar as a company is a well-documented one; its initial business was selling Pixar computers to companies, it added commercial animation production and took its final form as the most successful independent animated film company since Walt Disney, Inc. Catmull continues on with that story, again with side trips into his own journey as a business manager, learning how to deal with Steve Jobs on a regular basis, and the historic lessons of a quality control expert by the name of W. Edwards Deming.

Creativity, Inc. Book Summary Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Quote 3

Where Creativity Inc. shines is in the details that seldom get shared with the general public.Catmull speaks of needing to deal with way more internal strife with production employees and the need to be receptive to the internal office environment in order to ensure a steady and reliable workflow, as well as the need to keep a peak employee morale. He also makes a point that management’s open-door policies do not mean that issues aren’t still being addressed.

At the core of the book, Catmull insists upon the guiding principles of creating a culture of candor and the need for respect and equality amongst all employees, not only in terms of basic interaction, but also in terms of suggestions and opinions. It is this which is the foundation for a creative company to thrive. The topic of company culture and building a place where people are heard and encouraged is discussed in great detail in the book Small Giants.

About The Author Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull is a successful retired computer scientist and business executive. He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT, and a proud graduate of that state’s flagship university. His short film featuring a digitally animated hand was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. He co-founded and ran Pixar, Inc., and retired as president of both Pixar and the Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Amy Wallace is a successful writer who spends her time writing mostly magazines, but also books. Her magazine work has been featured in The New Yorker, Wired and many others. Wallace is a freelancer, editor, and writes a column on creativity and innovation for the New York Times. In her past she has been a reporter on politics, education and entertainment. A two time Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling author, Wallace’s impressive track record of success and awards is something any writer would aspire to.



Want to buy a book review like this?
Click here to learn how to get your book reviewed!

LEARN MORE


Accessory To Success
Accessory To Success


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Books

Driven Book Summary by Stephen Fisher
Driven Book Summary by Stephen Fisher

by Jack Thomas January 14, 2023

Learning to work hard, have a good relationship with people you do not particularly like, develop skills, and recognize how to turn those skills into opportunities to earn money are just some life lessons that Stephen Fisher shares.
Read More
Climbing the Corporate Ladder with Speed Book Summary
Climbing the Corporate Ladder with Speed Book Summary

by Jack Thomas January 09, 2023

People find their careers are confined by organizational structure and may not realize it. They think they are doing what is required to advance and are discouraged when their career does not go where it was envisioned.
Read More
12 Books For Keeping Your Small Business, Small
12 Books For Keeping Your Small Business, Small

by Jack Thomas December 28, 2022

There are several reasons why someone might choose to keep their small business small, and reading books on the subject can provide valuable insights and advice. Some people may prefer the personal connections and sense of community that a small, local business provides, or they may start a small business with the intention of keeping it small in order to avoid the added responsibility and stress of growing a business.
Read More