In his book, Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull shares his experience as a manager of Pixar, one of the world’s most famous creative animation studios. More than that, Ed offers a number of starting points to help those that wish to work in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving, to create it.

We’ve collected 37 choice quotes from the book that demonstrate how to develop and maintain a creative company, and paired them with images from Pixar’s award-winning films and two upcoming features (Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur). Do you have a quote you’d like us to feature? Tweet @Bplans, and we’ll add your quote to our list of submissions. 

 

The Pixar Way:

“We believe that ideas only become great when they are challenged and tested.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Lack of candor, if unchecked, ultimately leads to dysfunctional environments.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Seek out people who are willing to level with you, and when you find them, hold them close.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“To be wrong as fast as you can is to sign up for aggressive, rapid learning.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“For leaders especially, this strategy—trying to avoid failure by out-thinking it—dooms you to fail.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“To be a truly creative company, you must start things that might fail.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“There are two parts to any failure: there is the event itself, with all its attendant disappointment, confusion, and shame, and then there is our reaction to it. It is this second part that we control.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“A manager’s default mode should not be secrecy.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Your employees are smart; that’s why you hired them. So treat them that way.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Rather than trying to prevent all errors, we should assume, as is almost always the case, that our people’s intentions are good and that they want to solve problems.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Our job is to protect our [new ideas] from being judged too quickly. Our job is to protect the new.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Part of our job is to protect the new from people who don’t understand that, in order for greatness to emerge, there must be phases of not-so-greatness.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Making something great is the goal.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“The system is tilted to favor the incumbent. The challenger needs support to find its footing. And protection of the new—of the future, not the past— must be a conscious effort.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“It’s folly to think you can avoid change, no matter how much you might want to. But also, to my mind, you shouldn’t want to. There is no growth or success without change.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Randomness is not just inevitable; it is part of the beauty of life. Acknowledging it and appreciating it helps us respond constructively when we are surprised.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“If we make room for it instead of shunning it, the unknown can bring inspiration and originality.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“We must meet unexpected problems with unexpected responses.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Change is inevitable…Working with change is what creativity is about.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“If you don’t try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Acknowledging what you can’t see…helps promote flexibility.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“The most creative people are willing to work in the shadow of uncertainty.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

Pixar Way.025

“I believe that we all have the potential to solve problems and express ourselves creatively. What stands in our way are these hidden barriers—the misconceptions and assumptions that impede us without our knowing it.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

Pixar Way.026

“I believe that you should not be required to justify everything. We must always leave the door open for the unexpected.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“The attempt to avoid failure makes failure more likely.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Driving the train doesn’t set its course. The real job is laying the track.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“In my experience, creative people discover and realize their visions over time and through dedicated, protracted struggle.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Earning trust takes time; there’s no shortcut to understanding that we really do rise and fall together.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Easy isn’t the goal. Quality is the goal.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“What is the point of hiring smart people if you don’t empower them to fix what’s broken?” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“There’s nothing like a crisis to bring what ails a company to the surface.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Managers of creative companies must never forget to ask themselves: ‘how do we tap the brainpower of our people?'” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“It is precisely by acting on our intentions and staying true to our values that we change the world.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“Real improvement comes from consistent rigor and participation.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“It is management’s job to figure out how to help others see conflict as healthy—as a route to balance, which benefits us all in the long run.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

“A better measure of our success is to look at the people on our team and see how they are working together. Can they rally to solve key problems? If the answer is yes, you are managing well.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.; Tweet this!

 

Which quote is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below, or on Slideshare.net

Was this article helpful?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)