Good Day all, after that very intense brain workout I had yesterday from doing that podcast analysis with Todd Henry and Chris Ducker. I had to check out Todd’s podcast which to my surprise has been going on for a while now, it has so many podcasts to choose from that I was not sure which one to listen to. Then I saw one where it was on making Ideas Happen, an interview with Scott Belsky the CEO of Behance. This is a website where creatives in the form of art can showcase their work and people who are looking for creatives to do projects for them or just their to admire great work can go. I heard about this site some years back through an audiobook that I can’t quite recall at the moment but it had some information on the practices he prefers to have when working. Today in the interview he would be talking about his book Making Ideas Happen and hopefully sharing some insightful tips on how to execute.

Here is a link to the podcast

  • Scott’s Frustration lead to Making Ideas Happen – 1:55
  • 3 Common Characteristics idea makers – 3:35
  • Defeating Apathy – 6:21
  • Competition as a force that’s gets us to act – 8:21
  • Things that surprise Scott while researching – 10:02
  • Working by yourself vs a team in terms of creative work – 13:10
  • How Has behance applied these learnings – 15:09
  • Reward issues – 16:59
  • Scott’s advice on how to execute – 18:33

Key Points Taken


Scott’s Frustration lead to Making Ideas Happen – 1:55
So many creative people have ideas or businesses they want to start or new things they want to implement in their existing business. Then they would move on to another idea then another idea but no action was ever taken on any of them, (I’m like that, all talk but hesitation on following through). Scott felt that there were so many seminars and books on how to be inspired and generate good ideas but not much on how to execute them, especially when it relates to creative mind. He also so saw groups that continually defied the odds again and again in making their ideas happen, for example creating book after book after book or business after business after business. Scott seek answers as to what forces were at play that allowed this to happen with this crowd so effortlessly, through interviewing them.

3 Common Characteristics idea makers – 3:35
Scott sorted it into 3 categories
1) How these team keep organized – How they manage projects, how they manage information, how they approach meetings.
2) Forces of Community – How people leverage their customers, their online community of friends and family etc to get the feedback you need and to be held accountable. The role of competition which is a positive force to seeing your ideas through to fruition.
3) How they approach leadership – Sharing ownership and promoting fighting in the creative process.

Defeating Apathy – 6:21
Best leaders prevent apathy, for example there is a group of people in the decision-making process where everyone is passionate of the outcome, this will cause clashes and disagreements. As each person advocates for their suggestion, eventually it comes a time where one person gives up and says he doesn’t care what decision is made. This is a problem because then their opinion is given up on and the customer suffers in the end. Leaders have to ensure to reduce the levels of apathy in their team so that all possibilities can be explored.

Competition as a force that’s gets us to act – 8:21
Noah Kalina who took a photo of himself everyday for 6 years. He just had it as a thing he did everyday, a simple project for himself till a day he went to another photographers blog and saw that this girl took a photo of herself everyday for three years and she was wondering what to do with it. This sparked something in him because he was the originator she couldn’t be taking his shine so he decided to take the pictures make a collage and upload it to youtube. It went viral and became the pillar for his success as a photographer. If you don’t have competition you have to seek it rather than shying away from it.

Things that surprise Scott while researching – 10:02
Companies hiring policies were based on initiative than experience, despite not having a lot of qualifications if the person had shown interest and then taking tremendous amount of initiative in making it happen. For example a person fresh out of college had an interest in sailing then took the initiative to start a sailing club, a sailing website and newsletter. That shows you this person in a team will take the initiative on what matters most to them.
Reduction of new ideas, businesses had less sessions where they seek new ideas, they thought if they arrived at a new idea that it meant they were getting off track and a risk.

Working by yourself vs a team in terms of creative work – 13:10
Interviews with writers and freelancers as to what were their daily routines and there was no surprise perspiration was a huge part of it. Also there is a new trend going on called co-working environments where freelancers work together in a space occasionally to maintain accountability. It also breeds pressure and competition to be productive makes a huge contribution to someone’s output. Companies are now allowing employees to work elsewhere once they are in a co-working environment.

How Has behance applied these learnings – 15:09
If a meeting ends with no action steps, then it should not have been a meeting in the first place, should have been a voice note or an email. Having standing meetings where no one sits all conversation is spent standing up, when you see people start getting weak in the knees its time to end the meeting, which ends up to be very productive none the less. Hanging up of old projects and action steps the person has done as a sort of testament progress they’ve made, accountability in their project management process so much so there is a picture of face of the person in charge of each project and the deadline.

Reward issues – 16:59
We all have rewards that keep us moving when we achieving our goals for example, promotions, salaries, bonus at the end of the year etc. But when you have a bold goal you don’t usually have any short-term rewards there and you may get off course because you don’t know where the end maybe to receive the reward. Well organizations have created ways to short-circuit the reward system to stick with a project despite of uncertainty.

Scott’s advice on how to execute – 18:33
Stop focusing the creativity and inspiration side of the equation and focus on organization, because ultimately the impact you make is a product of creativity times organization.
Share ideas liberally because most ideas born and die in isolation and unless share them liberally with your peers get feedback and have them supporting you and holding you accountable, your ideas wont happen if you don’t have those forces. Leverage you community around you, don’t be afraid to market yourself and your ideas because its your job.
Self Leadership, be aware of your own tendencies that sets up obstacles that prevent our own ideas from happening.

“Execution is the key making ideas happen, not just accumulating a lot of ideas and never having traction.”

That Quote above was quite fitting to end off this podcast, the need for ideas is not as great if you don’t put them into action. Scott provided some of the characteristics that we can try to emulate, how in teams taking consideration of everyone’s views is important so that each avenue is explored. Competition is not a bad thing it helps people stay accountable and produce great work, also co-working in spaces presents more benefits than working alone. How you can apply some of these habits around your business or work space, short circuiting your reward system so you don’t lose you way when working on goals and finally Scott’s advice on how to execute. I was not as thrill as I thought I would have been going in to this interview but the last set of tips on executing were worth taking in. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.