Without a doubt, 2015 and 2016 will go down in my history book as one of the most extraordinary periods of self-awareness, risk-taking, and personal and professional development! Last year was about transition, and this year is about transformation.
That last sentence, just 58 characters long, sounds easy to do but you know it’s not, probably from your own personal experiences with challenging pursuits or life changes. There have been many milestones along the way, and they keep coming. As they should – we’re only a handful of months into 2016.
Here’s a bedrock idea you can take to the bank: We are all creators in our own domains of expertise, relationships and passions. Merriam-Webster provides a bit more precision:
creator – a person who makes something new
All of us get up every day, make decisions and bring original ideas and results into being whether we’re talking about a modified recipe for a meal or, on the other end of the creator-spectrum, Elon Musk and team innovating and bringing to market a whole new way to send and receive cash over the internet via PayPal.
You’re a creator to the core at birth. If you collaborate and have meaningful relationships with others at home, school, work and in the world – you’re a co-creator.
A Creator’s Journey and Code
In January 2015, I started to seriously think about taking Creatorbase® to a whole new level given years of dabbling, a recent career shift toward consulting, and an inner voice that kept getting louder by the month. But I wasn’t convinced to take personal and professional risks until after meeting Amy Wilkinson on March 11, 2015 at Stanford; author of ‘The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs.’
“There was something inside us that we couldn’t ignore.” -@JGebbia, co-founder of AirBnB; featured in The Creator’s Code and shared by Wilkinson in March 2015.
After Wilkinson’s Stanford Faculty Club presentation, we talked on camera for about 2 minutes to create a quick overview of her new book:
March 11th was a transitional moment. Wilkinson said it “feels like a homecoming for me. I was a student here and I’m coming back to teach.”
Her presentation about The Creator’s Code was a homecoming for me to a prior commitment I made years earlier to fully pursue an idea that started with the Creator Connection open innovation network in 2002 and later with a simplified business model via Creatorbase. Wilkinson’s well-researched point of view helped to validate earlier ideas and also provided inspiration to finally go all-in on the Creatorbase vision and strategy.
Aside from that nudging, inner-voice we often hear in our heads and hearts about an idea or change of direction, we also need influence from very specific people or life- changing events to help us make big moves. A big aha moment helps!
But you can’t be a successful creator in a vacuum. You must have some level of confidence that what you’re doing will be meaningful to a large community of people or commercial market if you want your idea or movement to scale.
“You must believe that what you’re doing is not only important to you but also important to a lot of other people,” said Wilkinson.
The Creator’s Code Book Summary
Here are some notes from Wilkinson’s Stanford presentation and video interview in March 2015. Easy scanning and social sharing material:
- Find the Gap
“Spot an opportunity that others don’t see,” says Wilkinson. Ask a lot of questions; five year olds ask about 100 questions a day and adults should continue with this level of curiosity as creators. People focused on scale keep asking a lot of questions. According to the characterizations in her book, ‘Sunbirds’ see something in one place and fly it over to another place. ‘Architects’ look for greenfield, build from the ground up. Integrators bring things together.
- Drive for Daylight
“Look for a long horizon view and manage speed like a race car driver,” says Wilkinson. Always look forward. “Scan the edges – you can’t be fixated on a single point, you need to keep scanning.” Another example is when riding a motorcycle at high speeds on back roads, the rider must look far ahead and through turns in order to effectively navigate.
- Fly the OODA Loop
Wilkinson said, “observe, orient, decide and act.” PayPal always stayed ahead of the curve. Find the OODA Loop, you get ahead and that gives you time to study the problem. You buy time to understand the problem – and create solutions – before others do.
- Fail Wisely
“Set a failure ratio and know you’re going to be imperfect; get up one more time,” says Wilkinson. Failing wisely is about setting failure ratio; 10% or 20% of the time. You can’t have 0 because you have to fail to succeed. Kids actually perform better with failure. Engineers and MBA students don’t do as well. Kids roll up their sleeves and go. They don’t have as many filters or hang-ups.
- Network Minds
Wilkinson recommends you “bring brainpower toward you to solve problems in a new way.” We need to talk a lot more about cognitive thinking; things that go on inside our minds. She used the GE MRI example: Doug Dietz, creator of GE MRI product, got a lot of people together (diverse minds) to help create a more enjoyable and successful MRI experience for kids. Hint: Creatorbase is a platform to help attract, organize and share creators’ brainpower. Your space to create.®
- Gift Small Goods
“Exchange favors or kindnesses in the workplace to make everyone more productive, ” says Wilkinson. Help others with something that matters to them. According Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, generosity enhances productivity.
Bringing It All Together
Wilkinson says, “The magic happens when all six of these skills come together.” Successful creators do all six things very well – regardless of the industry, breakthrough business or initiative. After interviewing more than 200 very successful entrepreneurs over several years, Wilkenson organized thousands of pages of research to help her establish the six essentials skills framework.
One thing that struck me about her book was she chose a title that leads with “creator” rather than a successful entrepreneur – why not name the book, “The Entrepreneur’s Code?”
When I asked about this decision, Wilkinson said, “I chose ‘Creator’s Code’ because the Big Aha is we can all create and scale ideas.” This human power is not limited to just successful entrepreneurs or people with a lot of money.
My belief is these same skills apply to us all, creators in our own ways in all aspects of life at home, school, work and out in the world. The Creator’s Code perspective changed my life. What about you?
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