To Infinity And Beyond - Overcoming the dark forces that hold ideas back

I saw the premier of ToyStory at a theatre in London's Leicester Square in the mid 90s. My girlfriend worked for Disney, so - as ever - I was the imposter, sitting a couple of rows away from Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman - I'm not sure what their connection with the film was.

I hadn't been primed about the film. I knew little about it and would have probably given it a miss. My days were filled with running around London completing freelance assignments I had stacked on top of one another - the English had a way of booking me for a week at time but I had a way of nailing the problem in the first couple of days. But a week booking was a week booking and the ad agencies who hired me never thought to reassign me to another task - it would never happen here. So I was tired and would have simply stayed at home - the up side was that I thought I could 'rest my eyes' in the darkness. It didn't happen. From the short before the film to when the lights came up I couldn't believe my eyes. It felt like being at the beginning of something - which, of course it was.

The Pixar story has been told and retold. I have art books like To Infinity and Beyond and The Art of the Incredibles and all the others…but this book has captured my imagination because it is about just that - capturing imagination within an organisation without killing its essence - like seeing Orca in pools and aquariums. Whether you are a manager in creative industry business or just want your business to unlock its potential - I recommend this book.

"The thesis of this book is that there are many blocks to creativity, but there are active steps we can take to protect the creative process.

In the coming pages, I will discuss many of the steps we follow at Pixar, but the most compelling mechanisms to me are those that deal with uncertainty, instability, lack of candor, and the things we cannot see.

I believe the best managers acknowledge and make room for what they do not know—not just because humility is a virtue but because until one adopts that mindset, the most striking breakthroughs cannot occur.

I believe that managers must loosen the controls, not tighten them. They must accept risk; they must trust the people they work with and strive to clear the path for them; and always, they must pay attention to and engage with anything that creates fear.

Moreover, successful leaders embrace the reality that their models may be wrong or incomplete. Only when we admit what we don’t know can we ever hope to learn it."

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