I’ve just finished reading Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. This book is chock full of thought-provoking ideas for educational leaders at all levels interested in leading their organization toward increased creativity and innovation. This book was so good that I plan to give it a closer read over the course of the summer. I suspect there are ideas here to improve my own practice. I just need to make more sense of them and determine thoughtful applications to my current leadership context.
School leaders may find the final section, Starting Points, of particular interest. In this section, the author distills the leadership principles peppered with stories throughout the book into a bulleted list. These ideas provide fuel for those interested in inquiring into their own practice – uncovering what’s working and what can be improved. Several principles that caught my attention:
- Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better. If you get the team right, chances are that they’ll get the ideas right.
- If there is more truth in the hallways than in meetings, you have a problem.
- Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
The Afterword is a rather touching tribute to Steve Jobs – The Steve We Knew. Certainly paints a different picture from the major media. And Catmull should know as he worked with Jobs for over two decades.
I highly recommend Creativity, Inc. for school leaders interested in improving their practice. Commit the time to thinking about the ideas in this book and how they can improve your practice!