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Influx interview- scott belsky- behance

April 2, 2010

Scott Belsky has been blazing a trail with Behance; developing whole new systems and methods for creative thinking and a network dedicated to creative professionals.

I caught up with Scott via email and fired across a few questions about Behance and his latest book, “Making Ideas Happen”.

1. Please tells us what Behance is?

Our mission at Behance is to organize the creative world.

Our attention is focused on three main projects at Behance: (1) The Behance Network – A robust online platform that organizes and promotes the work of top creative professionals (behance.net), (2) Action Method – an ecosystem of products and services designed to boost productivity for creative teams (actionmethod.com), and (3) The 99% – A think tank and annual conference on execution and organization in the creative world (the99percent.com).

Each of these projects plays a critical role in helping organize the creative world. So, we’ve divided up leadership and development responsibilities to give them all a lot of love.

2. What inspired you to put your new book book together?   Who did you talk to and learn from?

For over five years I have been obsessed with execution and organization in the creative world. It is frustrating that the people with the most ideas often suffer the greatest obstacles to making them happen.

And of course, the truth is that most ideas never happen.

But I also found exceptions – people and teams that somehow defy the odds and execute their ideas, time and time again. During the research, my team and I spoke with people like author Chris Anderson, designer Stefan Sagmeister, RISD president John Maeda, and Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh – as well as leaders at companies like Google, IDEO, and Disney.

I realized that the forces behind great execution are accessible to all of us. It turns out that we should focus less energy on searching for the best ideas and more on organization and leading ideas to fruition.

The book summarizes the methods, insights, and best practices that I observed among the most productive creative people and teams across industries.

I hope that the book prompts some serious discussion and introspection around execution and how creative people and teams should operate to make ideas happen. You can see more info about the book at http://the99percent.com/book

3. What most surprised you?

I found many of the methods and insights counterintuitive. For example, the benefits of fighting in a team, the positive impact of nagging when it comes to prioritization, and how important competition is in the creative process. But I was most surprised by the lack of correlation between great ideas and great execution. It turns out that ideas don’t happen because they’re great. In fact, the quality of idea has no impact on whether or not it happens.

For better or for worse, it is all about the execution.

4. Do you think idea development is different today compared to 10 years ago, if so, how?

Absolutely. One of the biggest differences is the power of transparency and the role that community plays in idea development.

The rapid iteration that takes through real-time feedback and watching people engage with your idea is invaluable. Rather than develop ideas in isolation, we are seeing more and more product designers, authors, and other creative minds sharing their ideas liberally, quickly, and broadly. In exchange for this level of transparency, they are gaining a new level of accountability and transparency that can become the catalyst for all sorts of possibilities.

Social tools and mobile devices are enabling us to tap a highly curated collective wisdom. This is awesome, and bold ideas are the beneficiaries.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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