Summary of Creativity, Inc.

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Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, has won five Academy Awards. His creativity, management ability and strategic thinking skills remade animated film and generated billions in box office receipts. Catmull weaves reminiscence, production tales and studio politics around a functional, bare-bones history of the rise and reign of computer-animated narrative. The filmmaking war stories are good, but he’s even better as a management philosopher. His tales set the context for his overriding lesson, which is how to develop and sustain a creative work environment. Catmull shows remarkable insight, self-knowledge and humility as he describes the traps, pitfalls and routine errors that plague every creative endeavor, large or small. His descriptions of how he and his colleagues dealt with these issues provide rare, valuable guidance. Few people of Catmull’s level of power or success are so determined to remind you that they don’t have all the answers. His insistence that he always makes mistakes – and usually can’t identify them as such – is especially inspirational. getAbstract recommends his fascinating ideas to anyone working creatively or managing creative people.

About the Authors

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, holds a PhD in computer science and has won five Academy Awards. Amy Wallace is editor at large for Los Angeles magazine.



“The Unseen”

Pixar – the animation studio responsible for Toy Story, Monsters University, The Incredibles and many more hits – values self-expression as every creative endeavor must. A relentless search for “unseen” or hidden problems further distinguishes Pixar and fuels its co-founder and president Ed Catmull. He is always on the lookout for glitches up and down the command chain that undermine candid expression or the creative process. Catmull is not afraid of making himself or others uncomfortable to unearth problems, since denying errors or protecting people’s feelings at the expense of open communication harms an organization and stifles creativity.

To create and sustain a creative culture, acknowledge the blocks that hinder creativity, and take prompt action to “protect the creative process.” Pixar used to hold vital meetings around a long, rectangular table. Catmull gradually noticed that most of the conversation took place near the center, where the most powerful people sat. People on either end felt excluded. Catmull tried to remain aware of issues that might interfere with “good discussion,” but at first he was blind to the effect of the...

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    O. A. 5 years ago
    Ed Catmull explains how vital creativity is, not just to creativity in general, but how it shapes business, and everyday thinking. Great information in this abstract.