For my birthday, Kyle got me a copy of “Creativity, Inc.” Written by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, the book is ultimately about the role of creativity in business; how to foster it and how, by doing so, you will make way for great work and be better able to navigate unforeseen challenges. To do this, Catmull needed to tell the story of how he learned and implemented these lessons himself, which means that the book also covers the history of Pixar itself. As an animation junkie and creative professional, everything about this is fascinating. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve caught myself exclaiming things like, “No way!” and “What??” out loud while reading.

I’m only a few chapters in so far but I’ve already picked up on an interesting trend. As pioneers in computer animation, Catmull and his peers shared an impressive dream at a time when the technology hadn’t caught up with their ambition. He notes a number of instances when he or his colleagues literally had to invent a process or technology just to get them closer to creating a world where computer animated feature films would be possible.

Think about that: They wanted to do something but there was no existing way to do it, so they created one. And not just once, but again and again. Many of those processes and advances are even still in use today.

Catmull & co’s gumption is very much like the innovative pioneering that was done by his childhood hero, Walt Disney. Many people don’t realize that Walt and his teams at Disney Studios weren’t just creative and talented animators – these minds were also responsible for the invention and designed many concepts and technologies needed to create their two dimensional animated films in the first place (such as the Multi-Plane Camera used in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.)

I was thinking about this idea while I was getting ready for work this morning. It’s so easy to give up on a dream just because the means of achieving it don’t exist. But if you really want something, what’s stopping you from finding your own way?

If there’s no path to where you want to go, make your own.


Photo: kylejharms