Bringing Good Ideas to Life

You’ve been in this meeting, right? The one where you and your team come up with a brilliant idea (a design solution for a client, or perhaps a new initiative for your department or firm) … and then … wait for it …

Nothing. Nothing happens. That great idea, the one everyone was so excited about, it withers on the vine because you all got too busy to develop it or the client shot it down or whatever other obstacle arose.

As creative pros, sometimes we find that ideation (as difficult as that can be) is easier than execution.

I’m digging Scott Belsky’s brand-new book, Making Ideas Happen, which charts a path from that great idea to its realization. Belsky’s one of the guys behind Behance, which offers a creative community and tools to help creative pros.

Belsky advocates a very disciplined approach to creativity–which seems
paradoxical until you realize that, like with any design project,
having parameters keeps your brain moving in the right direction. A
couple of the takeaways I found interesting:

• We’ve been told
that more is better when we’re generating ideas. Not so. The strongest
ideas often get lost in a flood of mediocre ones; as we push ourselves
to generate more, we’re not generating better.

• It’s important
to have a Back Burner — that place in your organizational system
(either personally or for your team) where you can stash ideas and
tasks that you don’t want to lose track of, but don’t need to address

• Colleagues have to hold each other accountable
for owning and accomplishing each step it takes to bring a great idea
to fruition.

It’s a smart addition to a designer’s bookshelf — and if you’re interested, I’d also recommend Belsky’s DesignCast sesssion on Making Ideas Happen (you can hear him talk about these principles in-depth).

He’ll also be on hand at the HOW Conference
in Denver on Monday, June 7, with a short presentation of tips for how
attendees can take all the ideas they’re gathering at the conference
and, you know, make ’em happen.

Posted by Bryn