Creativity, Inc.

Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull...




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Moitta 18/09/2014

Pixar

Tendo como modelos Albert Einstein e Walt Disney diz muito sobre Ed Catmull. Fez faculdade de física e depois se especializou em computação na década de 60 e 70. Trabalhou com George Lucas, pois este queria trazer o que havia de mais novo para o cinema, acreditava, diferentemente da norma, que a tecnologia poderia fazer a diferença na produção cinematográfica.
Antes disso, ainda na faculdade, teve a oportunidade de ser financiado pela agência militar americana (ARPA), que adotou uma postura com bastante liberdade. Acreditando que boas pessoas com bons recursos gerariam bons resultados, nem ao menos exigiram que as pesquisas tivessem uso militar. Esse ambiente de liberdade, muita colaboração e incrível fertilidade foi o que Ed tentou recriar mais tarde, com sucesso.


Sua busca por franqueza e honestidade se mostra em sua entrevista para gerir um grupo de pesquisa (NYIT), quando ele (e somente ele dentre os entrevistados) da uma lista dos melhores nomes para o cargo ao qual estava concorrendo. Essa franqueza, palavra que ele acha melhor do que honestidade, é fundamental para um trabalho criativo, para enfrentar os problemas que sempre existirão. Aliada a noção de que a solução, e boas ideias, vem de todos os lugares e que qualquer um deve poder parar a linha de produção, a busca pela franqueza ajudou a gerar o braintrust.
Ed está sempre consciente do oculto, do que não pode ser visto, e a forma de se preparar pra isso é aceitar as mudanças. Aceitar o que vier e confiar nas pessoas, nas equipes para lidar com o que for. Aceitar a nossa parcialidade, nossas falhas em não ver o que outros vêem. Que como líderes, muitas ações são deliberadamente escondidas pelos funcionários e o que se vê não é a realidade. Que ser bem sucedido não significa que fizemos TUDO corretamente.
A humildade constante é fundamental.


A base da criatividade é aceitar o erro. O novo precisa de um ambiente que o proteja, que proteja, e não puna, o erro. As viagens de pesquisa antes de cada filme mostram um respeito pelo detalhe, por buscar o que não sabemos, por não controlar a criatividade, mas estimulá-la.


Ed fala sobre modelos mentais. Os de diretores costumam incluir o incerto, navegar e chegar em algum lugar com uma equipe. Já de alguns gerentes eram algo como equilibrar forças opostas. O modelo, as analogias, que as pessoas usam sobre seus trabalhos diz muito sobre como pensam os problemas.






"ARPA's mandate - to support smart people in a variety of areas - was carried out based on the unwavering presumption that researches would try to do the right thing and, in ARPA's view, overmanaging them was counterproductive."


"The lesson of ARPA had lodged in my brain: When faced with a challenge, get smarter."


"By the time I moved into the two-story building in San Anselmo that would serve as the temporary headquarters of Lucasfilm's new computer division, I had given myself an assignment: to rethink how I managed people. What George wanted to create was a far more ambitious enterprise than the one I oversaw as NYIT, with a higher profile, a bigger budget, and, given his ambitions in Hollywood, the promise of much greater impact. I wanted to make sure that i was enabling my team to make the most of that. At NYIT, i'd created a flat structure much like i'd seen at the University of Utah, giving my colleagues a lot of running room and little oversight, and I'd been relatively pleased with the results. But now I had to admit that our team there behaved a lot like a collection of grad students - independent thinkers with individual projects - rather than a team with a common goal. A research lab is not a university, and the structure didn't scale well. At Lucasfilm, then, I decided to hire managers to run the graphics, video, and audio groups; they would then report to me. I knew I had to put some sort of hierarchy in place, but I also worried that hierarchy would lead to problems. So I edged in slowly, feeling suspicious of it at first, yet knowing that some part of it was necessary."


"We had succeeded by holding true to our ideals; nothing could be better than that."


"up with the parts of the job came to resent. This was a revelation to me: The good stuf was hiding the bad stuff. I realised that this was something I needed to look out for: When downsides coexist with upsides, as they often do, people are reluctant to explore what's bugging them, for the fear of being labeled complainers."


"Figuring out how to build a sustainable creative culture - one that didn't just pay lip service to the importance of things like honesty, excellence, communication, originality, and self-assessment but really committed to them, no matter how uncomfortable that became - wasn't a singular assignment. It was a day-in-day-out, full time job. And one that I wanted to do."


"How could we enable the talents of these people, keep them happy, and not let the inevitable complexities that come with any collaborative endeavour undo us along the way?"


"Story is king."


"Trust the process."


"If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better."


"Even the smartest people can form an ineffective team if they are mismatched. That means it is better to focus on how a team is performing, not on the talents of the individuals within it."


"Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea."


"Merely repeating ideas means nothing. You must act- and think - accordingly."


"To ensure quality, then, excellence must be an earned word, attributed by others to us, not proclaimed by us about ourselves. It is the responsibility of good leaders to make sure that words remain attached to the meanings and ideals they represent."


"idea- without the critical ingredient that is candor, there can be no trust. And without trust, creative collaboration is not possible."


"To understand what the Braintrust does and why it is so central to Pixar, you have to start with a basic truth: People who take on complicated creative projects become lost at some point in the process."


"Frank talk, spirited debate, laughter, and love. If I could distill a Braintrust meeting down to its most essential ingredients"


"The key is to look at the viewpoints being offered, in any successful feedback group, as addictive, not competitive.'


"A good note is offered at a timely moment, not too late to fix the problem. A good note doesn't even have to include a proposed fix. But if it does, that fix is offered only to illustrate a potential solution, not to prescribe an answer. Most of all, though, a good note is specific."


As Andrew Stanton says, Theres a difference between criticism and constructive criticism. With the latter, youre constructing at the same time that youre criticizing. Youre building as youre breaking down


First, it takes a while for any group to develop the level of trust necessary to be truly candid, to express reservations and criticisms without fear of reprisal, and to learn the language of good notes. Second, even the most experienced Braintrust cant help people who dont understand its philosophies, who refuses to hear criticism without getting defensive, or who dont have the talent to digest feedback, reset, and start again. Third, as Ill discuss in later chapters, the Braintrust is something that evolves over time. Creating a Braintrust is not something you do once and then check off your to-do list. Even when populated with talented and generous people, there is plenty that can go wrong. Dynamics change - between departments - and so the only way to ensure that your Braintrust is doing its job is to watch and protect it continually, making adaptations as needed.


fail early and fail fast.


'Monsters are real, and they scare kids for a living'. But what was the strongest manifestation of that idea? He couldnt know until hed tried a few options.


However, theres always a guiding principle that leads you as you go down the various roads. In Monsters, Inc., all of our very different plots shared a common feeling - the bittersweet goodbye you feel once a problem - in this case, Sulleys quest to return Boo to her own world - has been solved.


I knew I wanted to express that, and I was eventually able to get it in the film.


Pete and his crew never believed that a failed approach meant that they had failed. Instead, they saw that each idea led them a bit closer to finding a better option.


For all of this talk about accepting failure, if a movie - or any creative endeavour - isnt improving at a reasonable rate, there is a problem. If a director devises a series of solutions that are not making a movie better, one could come to the conclusion that he or she isnt right for the job. Which is sometimes precisely the right conclusion to reach.


The criteria we use is that we step in if a director loses the confidence of his or her crew. They are the most reliable barometer. If the crew is confused, then their leader is, too.


Be patient. Be authentic. And be consistent. The trust will come.


Making the process better, easier, and cheaper is an important aspiration, something we continually work on - but it is not the goal. Making something great is the goal.


In an unhealthy culture, each group believes that if their objectives trump the goals of the other groups, the company will be better off. In a healthy culture, all constituencies recognise the importance of balancing competing desires - they want to be heard, but they dont have to win,


Negative feedback may be fun, but it is far less brave than endorsing something unproved and providing room for it to grow.


(Remember: People are more important than ideas.)


In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new need friends.


consequences- and are therefore, big problems in the making. Whats needed, in my view, is to approach big and small problems with the same set of values and emotions, because they are, in fact, self-similar.


If you dont try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead. We all know people we would describe as not being self-aware. Usually we conclude this because they dont see things about themselves that seem obvious to us - and, just as important, they have no clue that they are missing them.


To what extent do hierarchies and structured environments, which have been designed to help large groups of people work together, contribute to the hiding of information?


By not thinking about how and why we value people, we can fall into this trap almost by default.


We are meaning-making creatures who read other peoples subtle clues just as they read ours.


Candor, safety, research, self-assessment, and protecting the new are all mechanisms we can use to confront the unknown and to keep the chaos and fear to a minimum.


Even though copying whats come before is a guaranteed path to mediocrity, it appears to be a safe choice, and the desire to be safe - to succeed with minimal risk - can infect not just individuals but also entire companies.


Limits force us to rethink how w e are working and push us to new heights of creativity.


oversight group had been put in place without anyone asking a fundamental question: How do we enable our people to solve problems? Instead, they asked: How do we prevent our people from screwing up? That approach never encourages a creative response.


Our specialised skills and mental models are challenged when we integrate with people who are different. If we can constantly change and improve our models by using technology in the pursuit of art, we keep ourselves fresh.


Just as looking at what is not the chair helps bring it into relief, pulling focus away from a particular problem (and, instead, looking at the environment around it) can lead to better solutions.


The time we spend getting ready for a postmortem meeting is as valid as the meeting itself."


Measure what you can, evaluate what you measure, and appreciate that you cannot measure the vast majority of what you do. And at least every once in a while, make time to take a step back and think about what you are doing.


This is where the real confidence comes in. Not the confidence that we know exactly what to do at all times but the confidence that, together, we will figure it out.


People want decisiveness, but they also want honesty about when youve effed up, as Andrew says. Its a huge lesson: Include people in your problems, not just your solutions."


Ive com to respect that the most important thing about a mental model is that it enables whoever relies on it to get their job - whatever it is - done.


Whats important, I think, as you construct the mental model that works best for you, is to be thoughtful about the problems you are trying to solve.


culture of candor and freedom and the kind of constructive self-criticism that allowed our people, and the movies they made, to evolve into their best selves.


I wanted Ann to be open to readjusting along the way, to remaining flexible, to accepting that we would be making it up as we go.


Managers of creative companies must never forget to ask themselves: How do we tap the brainpower of our people?


Notes Day was a reminder that collaboration, determination, and candor never fail to lift us up.


He believed, as I do, that is precisely by acting on our intentions, and staying true to our values that we change the world.


Similarly, it is not the managers job to prevent risks. It is the managers job to make it safe to take them.


The healthiest organisations are made up of departments whose agendas differ but whose goals are interdependent. If one agenda wins, we all lose.


New crisis are not alway lamentable 0 they test and demonstrate a companys values. The process of problem-solving often bonds people together and keeps the culture in the present."
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