Just read the excellent ‘Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality‘ by Scott Belsky, founder of the Behance network. You may know Behance from their excellent Action Method system and series of related notebooks, all of which – along with the book – are aimed towards helping people in creative industries be productive and get things done. Of course these days pretty much all of us work in creative industries if you’re not stuck in a McJob (in which case get out…).
As the book’s title suggests, Belsky wants to help you get the genius creative thought in your head out into the real world where it can either flourish or fail – but at least it will be real. To make this happen he’s gone round asking a number of successful people in the sphere of creative execution as to what they’ve done just to make stuff happen. The book distils this down into easy to understand sections backed up with good real-life examples.
First up is Organisation and Execution – what to do to keep the execution of your idea always moving forward, as like a shark if it doesn’t move it will die. Core to this is Behance’s ‘Action Method’ approach, which is basically to always look for action points out of any meeting as the core output, along with ‘backburner’ items – things which are interesting but not immediately relevant. This bares some similarities to Dave Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ approach, but is more codified around collating action points from creative ideation activities such as brainstorming.
The next section talks about Community – how to get other people fired up and working with you. In the same way that any idea that stays in your head won’t be successful, anything created that doesn’t engage a community around it will also tend to fail. This community isn’t just the people who use your creative product, but also the people who help you make it. Everyone has different skills – and the more we learn how our skills and their skills work together the more effectively we’ll all be.
Finally Belsky addresses the challenge of Leadership. Knowing how to represent a creative vision and drive everything forward is key to creative success. Whether this is engaging and inspiring an already formed creative team, or creating that team from scratch. There is a more mixed bag of suggestions in here, with concepts such as killing off new ideas to ensure the key ideas survive, and making sure that leaders let everyone else talk first.
Although many of the suggestions in the book seem like common sense they are presented clearly and you’re sure to find something new in here that helps you maintain a creative and productive attitude. A must have for every Product Manager and Entrpreneur’s bookshelf or digital reading device.