Curiosity Matters

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Friday Morning Inspiration - Scott Belsky

I wanted to share with my readers one of the most inspirational, informative talks I saw during Internet Week New York a few weeks ago. Part One:

Scott Belsky, from the creative network Behance and author of "Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming Obstacles Between Vision and Reality" spoke about idea generation and actually working on ones creative endeavors. He studied people who make ideas happen and how they push them to fruition; Google, writers, photographers, etc. And he realized the success of the idea has nothing to do with how great the idea is. Wouldn't it be cool if our society was an "Ideatocracy," he asked. For example, you'd never see a bad movie again. But obviously that's not the case so he spoke of the creative process and how to complete a project.

Most people get a project plateau right after the initial idea realizing they have to actually execute it. The biggest problems is that we're in a "reactionary workflow" constantly inundated with communication. We're constantly reacting to emails, Tweets, status updates, etc. instead of our own work. Ignore the clutter. Set aside time (use a timer) where you're off the internet or can discipline yourself NOT to check it.

Managing projects are key. The more organic the project flow is, the more likely you’re going to stay on top of project. Break projects into arbitrary increments of time. Milestones. Tasks associated with milestones. And adjust milestones to other increments of times – and reconsidered and innovate.

Scott says meetings are usually called by top people who are insecure about where they are in the process. Ha! He advises every meeting to have an "action step." Cancel weekly status meetings. Do meetings while standing up so people are less likely to chit chat. 

Scott believes that when you open your email and Twitter, your whole day is wasted. Stop reacting to what’s coming to you. It won’t make you fall behind. This echoes my dad's process of working first thing in the morning. Think about the big picture. Think about urgent vs. important. 
A common theme running through Internet Week is to get a product or service out there without perfecting it. I agree with this sentiment. It's how Rent the Runway got their website out. And according to Scott, often times IDEO does rapid prototyping - seeing an object materialized so they can refine it. By putting a product out there right away, you realize you’re either horribly wrong or right. It's better to be wrong early so you can fix it.
Use community to gain traction with your ideas and leverage that community. Chris Anderson of Wired puts his idea on his blog first. If it’s so easy to replicate by someone else, then he believes its not worth doing. By seeing how people engage – he’ll judge how good it is. Then his bloggers hold him accountable to complete the idea.
Scott found three types of people while trying to profile successful creatives:
1. Dreamers - They always come up with something new. Think, "maybe we should also do this." They get high off of new ideas.
2. Doers - The Debbie Downers or the world. "Here’s why we can’t do that. Timeline isn’t there. No budget." They poke holes in dreams. They're annoying but important and thrive off of execution.
3. Incrementalists -  They have a weird innate ability to jump from dreamer to doer. Jump from idea to execution. They create too many things but nothing to scale. None had truly been successful. 

So now that you've figured out what category you fall into, how do you get things done? You partner up with a doer. Partner up with a Dreamer! Or an incrementalist. But wait. There's more! Stay tuned for Part Two!