The trick to fostering collective creativity, Catmull says, is threefold: Place the creative authority for product development firmly in the hands of the project leaders (as opposed to corporate executives); build a culture and processes that encourage people to share their work-in-progress and support one another as peers; and dismantle the natural barriers that divide disciplines.
I'm not sure if you're as connected addicted to the waterhose of news as I am. I'm reading my feeds or browsing through my Twitter stream almost every free second. When I have to wait in line, out comes my iPhone. When I'm in public transport, the same. When a conversation gets interrupted and I'm idle, likewise.
It's great, because it gives me a quick fix of something new and wonderful that someone at the other end of the world has thought of. It's horrible, because it prevents me from being as creative, as productive as that other person.
So I stop in mid-motion and put the iPhone back into my pocket. I feel bored. Boredom is something I avoid, and it's gotten so easy. Yet, boredom is really important for being creative. It would be easier to accept if this boredom felt like the old boredom. The "I don't know what I could possibly do with my time" boredom.
But it doesn't. It feels like a terrible void, an emptiness coupled with anxiety. It feels like falling and often results in giving in, using another task or distraction to bend my mind on its cognitive vector—like a handrail for a shaky body.
If, however, I boldly suffer through this feeling, something wonderful happens. My mind takes a breath, and I start to see my surroundings differently. I notice things I ignored before. My own thoughts—too long held back—come rushing into my consciousness with chaotic force.
After that, I reconnect with myself. My thoughts play with each other and reach new heights. Instead of taking in, I transform and digest the things I know and start to have original ideas. This is the place I want to be at, this is what I need to excel.
And I realize that this is a frightening place, exactly because it is so empowering. Who knows what I will think of once I let my mind wander? Who knows what minor thought will lead me to a path where there is no going back?
This might have been what Nelson Mandela meant when he said this:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?