Creativity is a commendable quality. Good ideas are very valuable, and a person with repeated sparks of genius is priceless. But, even the most creative ideas amount to nothing if they’re not organized, established and executed. That’s where Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen can empower you with the follow-through needed to bring your intangible ideas into reality.
Belsky believes that “creative professionals — defined as those who generate (and sometimes execute) ideas for a living — constitute what is likely the most disorganized community on the planet.” It’s a bitter pill to swallow but also a difficult point to refute: Many of us are in the habit of forming great concepts, but few of us can say that we’ve gotten the most out of our ideas. Often, before our ideas come to full fruition, we interrupt ourselves with the next great idea. Scott considers creativity the “catalyst for brilliant accomplishments, but also the greatest obstacle.” The good sides of creativity are obvious, but few of us have considered – or addressed – the self-sabotage that can occur with idea schizophrenia.
Scott’s book and his newly-launched website, Behance, offer the tools and methods needed to recognize your best ideas and execute them to full fruition. Rather than offering lofty, fortune-cookie advice or old, tired adages, Belsky provides what’s really needed, a game plan to make the most of what’s in our minds.
Belsky’s execution philosophy is centered around ” The Action Method,” which helps those of us with creative tendencies live and work with a bias toward action.” Few of us have perfect organization, but Belsky contends that nobody is doomed to be permanently disorganized:
“Far from being some stroke of creative genius, this capacity to make ideas happen can be developed by anyone. You just need to modify your organizational habits, engage a broader community, and develop your leadership capability.”
Disorganization or self-interruption can often happen when faced with a new idea that seems better than the last. The choice presents itself – continue with your current idea, or start developing your newer, seemingly better one. Whether or not your newest idea is truly your best, continuing to shift from one plan to another will leave you with nothing but unfinished projects and unrealized potential. This could leave even the most brilliant thinkers with scatterbrained, piecemeal projects, none of which have flourished to their true potential.
To prevent a long trail of unfinished projects, Belsky teaches us to transition smoothly between creative conceptualization and executable logistics. He suggests that “any successful creative entity must be comfortable alternating between these two creative phases: ideation and execution.”
I had an opportunity to discuss Making Ideas Happen one-on-one with the author. Scott shed some light on how to implement these strategies in our typical, imperfect working conditions:
The methods and ideas in Making Ideas Happen are a unique asset to those looking to make the most of their efforts. Possibly thousands of great ideas per day are distorted into mediocrity or forgotten altogether due to ineffective follow-through. According to Belsky, the initial epiphany is only the first step in a much longer effort towards true idea fulfillment:
“Creative people are known for winging it: Improvising and acting on intuition is, in some way, the haloed essence of what we do and who we are. However, when we closely analyze how the most successful and productive creatives, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople truly make ideas happen, it turns out that ‘having the idea’ is just a small part of the process, perhaps only 1% of the journey.”
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