Perhaps due to my particular quirks, no book in recent years has been more helpful than Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen. We all have ideas, even good ideas. What sets the people with lots of ideas apart from successful ideas is turning them to reality. That’s the rub.
Belsky, the founder/CEO of Behance. They’re the ones behind two other great books published by 99U. Making Ideas Happen expands out from Thomas Edison’s quote, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” It’s not so much coming up with the idea, but the follow-up that leads to success. Here’s Belsky’s Quick Primer:
- You have ideas that you want to make happen.
- You can develop the capacity to make ideas happen.
- Making ideas happen = Ideas + Organization + Communal forces + Leadership capability.
- Organization enables you to manage and ultimately execute your ideas.
- The forces of community are invaluable and readily available.
- Fruitful innovation requires a unique capacity to lead.
Here are a few quotes:
Traditional practices such as writing a business plan—ultimately a static document that will inevitably be changed on the fly as unforeseen opportunities arise—must be weighed against the benefit of just starting to take incremental action on our idea, even if such early actions feel reckless. Taking action helps expose whether we are on the right or wrong path more quickly and more definitively than pure contemplation ever could.
Belsky quotes Roy Spence on competing to get accounts for his ad agency: “The one thing that will out-trump everything is just to out-work the bastards. You’ve got to out-work them, out-think them, and out-passion them. But what a thrill.”
It is not naïve or a cliché to say that the creative mind holds the answers to all the world’s problems. It is merely a fact. And so you should balance your desire to use your creativity with a sense of responsibility.