Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

by Scott Belsky


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"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. This book helps you with the hard part."
-Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment


According to productivity expert Scott Belsky, no one is born with the ability to drive creative projects to completion. Execution is a skill that must be developed by building your organizational habits and harnessing the support of your colleagues.

As the founder and CEO of Behance, a company on a mission to empower and organize the creative world, Belsky has studied the habits of especially productive individuals and teams across industries. Now he has compiled the principles and techniques they share, and presents a systematic approach to creative organization and productivity.

While many of us focus on generating and searching for great ideas, Belsky shows why it's better to develop the capacity to make ideas happen-a capacity that endures over time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591844112
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/27/2012
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 513,168
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Scott Belsky is a speaker, writer, and an entrepreneur with a focus on the creative industries. As the founder and CEO of Behance, he oversees the Behance Network, the world's leading platform for creative professionals, with millions of visitors every month, and the annual 99% Conference, devoted to execution in creative teams.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Making Ideas Happen 1

Making This Book Happen 4

Why Most Ideas Never Happen 8

The Forces That Make Ideas Happen 14

A Final Note As We Begin 18

1 Organization and Execution 21

The Competitive Advantage of Organization 25

Your Approach to Organization and the Destiny of Your Ideas 26

The Action Method: Work and Life with a Bias Toward Action 30

Reconsider How You Manage Projects 32

Breaking Projects into Primary Elements 34

The Importance of Action Steps 37

Maintaining a Backburner 43

References are Worth Storing, Not Revering 45

Practicing the Action Method 49

Capture and Make Time for Processing 51

Prioritization: Managing Your Energy Across Life's Projects 58

Keep an Eye on Your Energy Line 58

Reconciling Urgent vs. Important 61

Darwinian Prioritization 67

Execution: Always Moving the Ball Forward 70

Act Without Conviction 72

Kill Ideas Liberally 75

Measure Meetings with Action 78

The Biology and Psychology of Completion 81

The Tao of the Follow-up 84

Seek Constraints 86

Have a Tempered Tolerance for Change 89

Progress Begets Progress 91

Visual Organization and Advertising Action to Yourself 93

Mental Loyalty: Maintaining Attention and Resolve 98

Rituals for Perspiration 99

Reconsider Your Work Space 102

Reduce Your Amount of "Insecurity Work" 104

2 The Forces of Community 107

Harnessing the Forces Around You 111

The Dreamers, the Doers, and the Incrementalists 112

Seldom is Anything Accomplished Alone 116

Share Ideas Liberally 120

Capitalize on Feedback 124

Transparency Boosts Communal Forces 128

Communal Forces are Best Channeled in Circles 131

Seek Competition 135

Commit Yourself in Order to Commit Others 138

Create Systems for Accountability 139

The Pressure of the Spotlight 140

The Power of the Network 142

The Benefits of a Shared Work Space 143

Seeking Stimulation from Serendipity 145

Pushing Ideas Out to Your Community 147

Overcome the Stigma of Self-Marketing 148

Effective Self-Marketing Builds Respect 151

Find Your Own Frequency, Then Tune in to Engage Others 155

Ground Your Ideas Outside Your Community 158

Recognize When You are No Longer a Solo Show 159

3 Leadership Capability 163

The Rewards Overhaul 167

Short-Circuiting the Rewards System 168

The Motivational Reward of Play 172

The Reward of Recognition 175

The Chemistry of the Creative Team 177

Engage Initiators in Your Creative Pursuits 178

Cultivate Complementary Skill Sets 179

Provide Flexibility for Productivity 180

Foster an Immune System that Kills Ideas 183

Fight Your Way to Breakthroughs 184

Don't Become Burdened by Consensus 186

Managing the Creative Team 190

Share Ownership of Your Ideas 191

Leaders Should Talk Last 193

Judge and Be Judged Amidst Conflict 194

Develop Others Through the Power of Appreciation 195

Seek the Hot Spots 199

Self-Leadership 202

Find a Path to Self-Awareness 203

Develop a Tolerance for Ambiguity 204

Capture the Benefits of Failure 206

Avoid the Trap of Visionary's Narcissism 207

Combating Conventional Wisdom with Contrarianism 209

Consider Yourself an Entrepreneur 211

Be Willing to Be a Deviant 213

Keep an Eye on the Backward Clock 214

The Love Conundrum 216

Afterword 219

An Opportunity and a Responsibility 223

Acknowledgments 225

Appendix 1 Tips for Practicing the Action Method 228

Appendix 2 The Purple Santa Experiment 230

Appendix 3 Overview of the Behance Network 233

Index 234

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Should you buy a book that will make you uncomfortable?

More questions: Why is it so difficult to ship good ideas out the door? Why do committees show up and wreck the purity of your idea? Why do people avoid doing the hard work of actually bringing their work to the market?

I'll tell you why: Because it's safe. Ideas that never ship are never criticized. Faceless committees accept the blame for tepid products that were probably better off in the warehouse. And managers in search of a place to hide can best hide behind the unshipped product, the unrealized idea and the system gone wrong.

Scott Belsky has your number. He's seen it all before. He knows your excuses, he's seen your shtick and he knows all the ways to avoid doing the work. In this book, Scott's not giving you any place to hide.

There. Do you still want to read his book?

If you care about your art, your job, or your market, you really have no choice. This is strategy and tactics, concepts and how-to, all in one on a topic that's often overlooked."
-Seth Godin, Author, Linchpin

"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. This book helps you with the hard part."
-Guy Kawasaki, Co-founder of Alltop and former chief evangelist of Apple

"Making Ideas Happen is timely and vital to a new generation of creative leaders. Ideas are important, but executing on those ideas is the crucial component that so many of us forget about. Great execution is rare, and Belsky lays out practical principles and a clear plan for getting things done. I highly recommend this book!"
-Brad Lomenick, Executive Director, Catalyst

"From his years spent understanding how the most productive entrepreneurs and creative minds operate, Scott Belsky provides a compendium of the knowledge one needs to turn a great idea into something tangible. This is a book about execution, and when it comes to going from idea to a real business, execution is everything."
-JOHN BATELLE, Co-founder of Wired and Boing Boing, founder of Federated Media

"If your creative team or organization struggles to implement their best ideas, or if you find that your own creative projects languish unfinished, you need Making Ideas Happen.
-TERESA AMABILE, Prof. of Business Administration, Dir. of Research, Harvard Business School

"In just one volume, Belsky shows how to execute simply, boldly, powerfully. He reveals the forces and methods that push projects to completion -and how they are accessible to all of us. Practical and perfect ways to implement your ideas with peace of mind."
-LEO BABAUTA, Author of and The Power of Less

"I hear people talking all the time about great ideas that never come to life. This book is like a Swiss Army knife for ideas. It offers step-by-step tools to turn ideas into action, and is full of wonderful and enlightening stories of those who have made their ideas happen."
-JI LEE, Creative Director at Google Creative Lab and Founder of the Bubble Project

"Scott Belsky has observed how designers think and has created a way to help them make the complex clear -and the actionable achievable- within the rush of creativity that defines their mind's workspace. His ideas provide an effective way to manage ideation, iteration, and execution."

"Belsky's approach has made my life even simpler. Making Ideas Happen demonstrates that ideas of any magnitude are achievable by simply taking one step at a time. Belsky offers an illustrated map to get to the destination of your great ideas."
-SCOTT THOMAS, Design Director, Obama Presidential Campaign

"There are techniques in this book that can turn disorganized creative prima donnas into organized creative prima donnas. It's full of terrific lessons in how to keep great ideas alive."
-CHUCK PORTER, Co-chairman, Crispin Porter + Bogusky

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