Make Your Creativity More Productive Around the Office

You probably have a notebook—as most designers do—where you record your creative ideas. It may contain sketches for that brilliant self-promotion piece you’ve been meaning to create. Ideas for your friend’s wedding invitation—that you haven’t quite gotten around to just yet. Imagined logos for future projects. And ideas for that T-shirt design that’s going to sell like gangbusters.

You’re in good company if your notebook is brimming with ideas that have never seen the light of day. For most designers, coming up with creative ideas isn’t the problem. Rather, the problem is that the skills that come with a creative mind are often at odds with productivity. And that’s where Behance comes in. Behance is a company whose mission is to empower creative professionals to make their ideas happen through what it calls “Productive Creativity.”

“All too often, great ideas never materialize due to lack of productivity, inefficient networks and poor accountability,” says Scott Belsky, one of Behance’s founders. The founders spent more than six months interviewing hundreds of successful creative individuals, asking them how they made their ideas happen.

In our June 2008 “Creativity issue,” we lay out 8 principles  from Scott and his team about how to make your creativity be more productive. Here’s a peek into how the Behance team takes their own advice and applies it, day-to-day in the office.

(1) Founder Scott Belsky believes that business planning is only effective when it is “visual.” As he explains, “if you can’t see it, it won’t happen. Business plans gather dust and become immediately outdated unless they are visual. We keep our business plan on the wall for everyone to see, discuss, and change.”

(2) Chief of Design Matias Corea at work. He tends to keep his wall full and his desk clear, what he describes as a “proper balance of chaos and clarity.”

(3) Chief of Design Matias Corea’s desk, with his “Action Pile” to the far left.

(4) An Action Pile, waiting to be processed.

(5) Chief Designer Matias Corea still uses a Moleskine, pared with Action Pad Mini sheets (and stickers) to keep the action steps separate from the ideas.

(6) The famous “Done Wall” that is a testimony to ideas happening as a result of action steps being captured, processed, and completed.

(7) The leaders of the Behance Team still gather around a circular marble table, but never without an Action Pad. As one team member explains, “brainstorms become frustrating unless you can capture the ideas behind action steps as soon as they come up.”

(8) The Action Steps captured and completed in the process of building Behance’s first site, now known as

(9) The Action Area in the Behance Office, a space for collective action from the team. Anything placed in this space can be completed by anyone on the team…the first person who has a free moment.

(10) The Behance Team developed a little “Team Temperature” tool to make sure that issues are detected whenever they come up. The concept is that “anyone can change it, and everyone can see it.”

(11) Our office sculpture, “Killing Action Steps to Make Ideas Happen.”

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