… An Interview with Scott Belsky, the creator of www.behance.net and Action Method

(c) Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance

(c) Behance's Scott Belsky's Book: Making Ideas Happen

Scott Belsky of Behance.net—AIGA’s developer for the new online portfolio—and Action Method, a useful tool for managing projects, productivity and tasks, thanks for taking the time to address Baltimore, namely the design community that AIGA Baltimore represents.

Hey, for some reason, I was surprised to see you had a Behance account with your branded products on your profile. What exactly is Behance and where did the name come from?

The name “Behance” came from the word “enhance” – which means to improve, and the word “be” which suggests that people must take responsibility for themselves and their careers – this is ultimately what we’re trying to do for the creative world.

You’ve spent some time in the business world and the creative world. With respect to developing ideas, what are the similarities and differences? …And what can creatives learn from suits in this regard and vice-versa?

Well, I think the “suits” have an imposed discipline from the status quo that, in some respects, makes it easier to stay organized and loyal to projects over time. In contrast, most creative professionals suffer from “idea-to-idea syndrome” and struggle to stick with ideas long enough to make them scalable and sustainable projects (and businesses).

My team’s efforts to organize the creative world are intended to start more discussion around execution and management in creative industries. We use design to make productivity more seductive; examples being ActionMethod.com and our products at CreativesOutfitter.com. We’re developing online platforms like Behance.net that breed accountability and efficient self-promotion of creative talent. And we’re trying to make the content more accessible through initiatives like The99Percent.com.

Looking into your approach you talk about the discipline of making things happen. I’m curious about the phrasing. In making ideas come to life is there a pattern that is scalable from the single creative to the large company?

Absolutely. During the research for my book, as I met with individuals and teams across creative industries, I noticed themes across the board.

I categorized all of the forces/methods I observed into three areas: (1) organization and relentless execution, (2) engaging peers and leveraging communal forces, and (3) strategies for leading creative pursuits.

The case I make in the book is that, rather than obsess over idea generation, we would be better served by developing the capacity to make ideas happen—a capacity that endures over time. And then I go into specific methods and insights I observed across the board.

Does this approach play out in the development of Action Method?

The research that we did as a company – especially in the early days – involved asking especially productive people and teams in the creative world HOW they managed projects and stayed organized. Many of these findings definitely helped inspire the design and system behind Action Method.

How can we get your book?

You can learn more about the book, read reviews and order your copy at http://the99percent.com/book. Our team at Behance is thrilled to share the insights and years of research in the book with the broader creative world. Our hope is that the book prompts more discussion on organization/execution in the creative professional community and beyond.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Now, Baltimore, no excuses. You have the tools and the drive to accompany the creativity to get’er done.

By AIGA Baltimore
Published March 26, 2010