Group Trust

Creativity 101, Uncategorized, Understanding Creativity

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking risks. On one hand, I’m not much of a risk-taker: I’m pursuing a college degree, I’m an A student, I avoid legal trouble like the plague, and I make sure my chicken is overcooked because I have no idea yet how to do it right and I fear I’ll poison myself. But one thing that helps me take risks? A group that lets me.

I read an article about how Pixar fosters creativity, and it was surprising to read about how Pixar overcomes creative challenges in order to make innovative films. But at the same time it makes sense, given what I’ve learned in creativity class.

“Our most recent film, WALL·E, is a robot love story set in a post-apocalyptic world full of trash. And our previous movie, Ratatouille, is about a French rat who aspires to be a chef. Talk about unexpected ideas! At the outset of making these movies, we simply didn’t know if they would work. However, since we’re supposed to offer something that isn’t obvious, we bought into somebody’s initial vision and took a chance.” -Ed Catmull

Catmull explains how in the the movie business, you often see executives choose to copy success instead of trying to create something new, because they fear the risk of a flop. This is why we see a lot of movies that are similar. But Pixar bets on their creative people, and as a result, they see creative ideas.

He also explains how, in order to get talented people to work well together and take risks, there is a certain level of group trust involved. And this, I believe, is the central concept of my creativity course: Group trust. Throughout the semester, I’ve felt comfortable being my weird self, while working with my peers in open dialogues and engaging activities. In Pixar, they know that a team won’t always start with good ideas in the beginning- they just make sure the team is working well together. They appreciate all contributions, and everyone is fully invested in helping each other turn out their best possible work.

“First, once people get over the embarrassment of showing work still in progress, they become more creative. Second, the director or creative leads guiding the review process can communicate important points to the entire crew at the same time. Third, people learn from and inspire each other; a highly creative piece of animation will spark others to raise their game.”

Such are the amazing benefits that a positive environment of group trust has on creativity, and this helped me immensely throughout the semester. I learned that in the future, especially in the workplace, I should find an environment that fosters the same kind of group trust that I found in creativity class this semester.

One thought on “Group Trust

  1. Alex, I think you’ve put your finger on something important. I believe that we’re all weird, in our own unique ways. What’s wonderful is being in a group that accepts everybody’s weirdness, which allows each of us to reveal our authentic selves.

    Yes, by all means, find an environment that promotes group trust. But also realize that it’s possible to create such a supportive environment. Think about some of the things we did in class to encourage people to take risks, explore and share weirdness–starting with doing some childlike games but also creating ground rules for the kind of group we wanted to create. You may have the opportunity to help enable group trust in your workplace.

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