I’ve been reading Creativity Inc. by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull. It’s full of amazing advice and stories. I was about to post a couple of quotes where he talks about a methodology very similar to how we work at MxM, but it’s so damn good I’m just going to paste the whole lot. Over to Ed...
“To be wrong as fast as you can is to sign up for aggressive, rapid learning.
“If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy—trying to avoid failure by outthinking it—dooms you to fail.
“[In a scientific context] experiments are fact-finding missions that, over time, inch scientists toward greater understanding. That means any outcome is a good outcome, because it yields new information. If your experiment proved your initial theory wrong, better to know it sooner rather than later. Armed with new facts, you can then reframe whatever question you’re asking.
“There is an alternative approach to being wrong as fast as you can. It is the notion that if you carefully think everything through, if you are meticulous and plan well and consider all possible outcomes, you are more likely to create a lasting product. But I should caution that if you seek to plot out all your moves before you make them—if you put your faith in slow, deliberative planning in the hopes it will spare you failure down the line—well, you’re deluding yourself.
“It’s easier to plan derivative work—things that copy or repeat something already out there. So if your primary goal is to have a fully worked out, set-in-stone plan, you are only upping your chances of being unoriginal. Moreover, you cannot plan your way out of problems. While planning is very important, and we do a lot of it, there is only so much you can control.”
“There’s a corollary to this, as well: The more time you spend mapping out an approach, the more likely you are to get attached to it.
“We try to make it less expensive to fail.”