Creativity

The past couple weeks have been weird

The past couple weeks have been… weird. I started blogging again this Summer like I always do, with renewed energy, but also — this time seemed different. I have been intermittent writing over the years for a myriad of reasons, from keeping quiet while in certain jobs to not having an interesting life.

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Specialize in the Mission, Not the Medium


Photo: Scott Belsky

You probably know Scott Belsky from his bestseller Making Ideas Happen. But before the book, there was Behance, the company that led him to the book. What follows are the best parts from our recent interview.

By the way, at the end of the interview, Scott mentioned these were some of the best and most thought-provoking questions he’s received. Oh Scott, I bet you say that to all the girls.

1. I read that your business model is unlike anything you learned in business school. Can you elaborate?
Well, technically we are a technology and social media [company] that develops a paper product line, runs a think tank, and produces an annual conference.

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3 Ways to Design Your Career

John Besmer confirms our meeting with “Word,” and signs off with, “Yup!” like he’s in the middle of a Jay-Z video. At the corner of corporate and hipster, I arrive to his office to discover him in a plaid button-down shirt, designer-rimmed glasses and a whole lot of Midwestern charm.

I first saw Besmer in a similar uniform on stage. Ten designers shared twenty inspiration slides for twenty seconds each, but Besmer’s stood out; he was the only person to play electric guitar, read from a book and live-tweet during his – he later told me – “horribly lashed-together” presentation.

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How to innovate your career

When careers were based more on hierarchy, and work was more about getting a paycheck than knowledge, it didn’t really matter what you did. But today’s worker no longer desires swanky salaries or titles (although those don’t hurt, certainly), but instead searches for work experiences that can contribute to their lives.

Today, experience is the product. And smart workers are building their careers in the same way innovators build businesses. For example, trendy Barcelona shoe company Camper diversified it’s offerings by plunging into the hotel business. People rightfully asked, “Why?” To which Camper replied, “You misunderstood what we’re all about.

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Is Gen Y teamwork killing creativity?

Generation Y is a kind generation. Our conservative lifestyles and penchants for quiet opinions have led us to work together happily with healthy doses of idealism. We are a teamwork generation, fully in line with each other.

Top-down management and the clutch of hierarchal authority no longer illustrate the strokes of success, but instead lead to siloed rows of depressed employees and opportunistic managers.

Gen Y, in contrast, is all about the team, preferring conformity inside the lines over pushing boundaries or ourselves. “In many respects,” psychology expert Jeremy Dean argues, “[these] norms have a beneficial effect, bolstering society’s foundations and keeping it from falling into chaos.”

We’re the soothing wall fountain over a fire of greed, instability and unethical behavior.

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Purge first. Creativity second.

For creativity, you need to get rid of the crap. Your surroundings are a reflection of who you are, and the state of your environment is a reflection of the state of your mind.

I work best when everything is in its proper place. At this point, I should make a disclaimer. Everyone works differently. You might work well in crap. I cannot. The piles and dust and general disorder weigh on my mind. Like a big stinky dump truck with tin cans tied to the bumper that clang against the sides of my brain. No, I do not work well with disorder.

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