A creative network of the idea, by the idea, for the idea

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Safe to Fail.

If there is anything the last 6 months have taught me is this: Pixar is the most creative company in the world.

Look at that record: 10 films; 10 hits. An unmatched streak in the history of filmaking.

what is their secret? How can they create original, creative, smart and successful films one after the other?

According to their Chief Creative Officer J. Lasseter their mantra is: "It's safe to fail."
The trick is to make those mistakes as quickly as possible and move on, a philosophy Lasseter picked up from colleague and computer science pioneer Ed Catmull
"When you think about science, it's about experimentation, and 99% of the experiments fail, but you learn from the failures and you move on," Lasseter says. "That's the great thing about Ed. He's always wanting people to keep pushing, keep experimenting, keep trying, and we always learn and keep moving forward."
For all the technical advances that have impressed audiences about Pixar, Lasseter's greatest innovation has been to extend a principle of positive risk-taking to the creative process.

  • He is adamant that teams not be allowed to sequester themselves or work too long without sharing their progress with others. Lasseter doesn't believe in mandatory notes, introducing instead what he calls the "creative brain trust" at Pixar, a peer-support strategy in which all the directors and key story people from around the company get together and selflessly help on one another's films. "It doesn't matter whose idea it is, the best idea gets used," he explains.
  • "Make it great." That's the mantra I've been living with ever since, just do everything we can to make it great," says Lasseter, who found confidence in Jobs' relatively hands-off approach to Pixar over the years, trusting the creative talent to steer the studio in the right direction. Lasseter put into effect was dismissing the suits and shifting the focus from an executive-led operation back to an artist-driven enterprise, where the ideas for feature films "come from the heart" of individual filmmakers.
What I find interesting about Pixar and their "safe to fail" approach is that it is intuitive and insightful about the creative mind and the creative personality.

We creatives need that that door to experimentation always OPEN.

Because once you let go of the fears of judgment and failure, you can truly explore all possibilities, be your self, share your heart.

Its about working in the ultimate creative ecosystem where ideas are grown to become great ideas.