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Any creative endeavour is affected by the process. Change the process and you change the results.

When painter Jackson Pollock started to use a dripped paint technique he stole from some Mexican artists, his results were far different than anything seen before – freed from the confines of the borders of a canvas and capturing the energies of free jazz, the Heisenberg principles of physics and the post-war boom of the 50’s.

When a young NYU film student started applying editing room thinking to the recording studio – the modern day version of “post-production” rap was born with classics from Run DMC, LL Cool J and The Beastie Boys still selling today.

When the young American revolutionaries stood up to the British redcoats by figthing from the brush and not standing in clear formation (with the color red and a white cross on their chests!) the small ragtag army of General Washington defeated the mighty British Empire.

Change the process and you change the results.

I’m always interested in process of creation. For it’s in the process that you can see the genius and perhaps borrow a little.

Last Sunday’s NY Times (Business section) had a great article about Pixar’s process.

“The problem with the Hollywood model is that it’s generally the day you wrap production that you realize you’ve finally figured out how to work together,” Mr. Nelson said. “We’ve made the leap from an idea-centered business to a people-centered business. Instead of developing ideas, we develop people. Instead of investing in ideas, we invest in people. We’re trying to create a culture of learning, filled with lifelong learners. It’s no trick for talented people to be interesting, but it’s a gift to be interested. We want an organization filled with interested people.”

The article goes on to say how all Pixar employees are expected to take 4 hours of classes every week at “Pixar University.” How cool is that?!

In my time as a VP, Creative Director at a major advertising agency, I pushed for this kind of bonding, unity and creative fueling for my team. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the clear-eyed vision of leaders like Steve Jobs and John Lasseter.
…And…their stock price shows it.

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