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Scott Belsky @ Behance Network

Behance Creative Network founder and a think-tank Scott Belsky spoke with Designcollector about the network and all that projects around it.

Scott Belsky bio

Scott Belsky believes that the greatest breakthroughs across all industries are a result of creative people and teams that are especially productive. As such, Scott has committed his professional life to help organize creative individuals, teams, and networks. Scott leads Behance, a company that develops products and services that empower creative professionals. Behance oversees the Behance Network (Behance.net), the world’s leading platform for creative professionals; The 99% (The99percent.com), Behance’s think tank for leadership and execution in creative industries, and Action Method (ActionMethod.com), a popular online/mobile productivity application and line of organizational paper products. He is a frequent contributor on MSNBC and has worked with leading companies and organizations including General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, and Proctor & Gamble as well as the United States State Department. In 2010, Scott was also included in Fast Company’s list of “100 Most Creative People in Business.” Scott is also the author of the national bestselling book Making Ideas Happen (Portfolio, Penguin Books).

Please describe the moment when you got an insight to start Behance and how it came out?

There are two things that really inspired me to start Behance:

The stuff that makes our lives interesting – the art, the design, and all of the original content – is all created by the creative professional community. But, unfortunately, creatives struggle with organization and face other obstacles when it comes to building a productive career.
There is SO MUCH discussion in the creative world about inspiration and creativity, but very little discussion about execution. I found this VERY frustrating. It seemed that creative professionals would become more effective – and thus benefit society even more – with assistance on execution, efficient self-promotion, and organization.

I was fortunate enough to meet Matias Corea, Behance’s co-founder and Chief of Design, in the early days of Behance (DC: Matias will speak at OFFF2012 Barcelona). Together, we discussed the role of design in solving these frustrations and founded Behance with a very specific mission: To organize and empower creative professionals. We are not trying to increase creativity. On the contrary, we are trying to help creative leaders harness their own creativity and actually make ideas happen.

How has Behance changed your life?

Almost every part of my life has changed because of Behance. I am inspired and humbled every day by the amazing talent in the Behance Network. I have also learned so much about business and the creative industries.
The opportunity to work with Matias and the broader team of leaders at Behance has been life-changing for me. I am blown away on a daily basis by the potential of a likeminded team of professionals on a mission.

Behance has enabled me to travel the world speaking about Making Ideas Happen and what we are doing as a company. I have met amazing people along the way, some of whom have become great friends.

I have learned about creative fields such as fashion and typography that I never knew before. I’ve also developed better taste. ;-)

What was the most unexpected and inspiring moment when you started business?

I was most surprised by how many different approaches we could take for the same mission. In our pursuit to organize the creative world, we have launched a powerful online multi-media platform (http://www.be.net), a paper product line (http://www.creativesoutfitter.com), an online application for task management (http://www.actionmethod.com), and a think tank and annual conference (http://www.the99percent.com). Some people might think this is crazy, but we believe that these four businesses are essential in our mission to organize the creative world. They all work together, and we have learned so much from the diversity of challenges faced across products.
Our team was also surprised by the growth and QUALITY of the Behance Network membership. The basic element of the Network is a “project,” and users have found very creative ways to build amazing projects that circulate the web and are viewed by millions of people. It’s pretty amazing. When we hear a testimonial about someone’s career changing as a result of Behance, we get renewed energy to keep working hard. User feedback is our greatest source of inspiration.

How Behance is standing out from the industry of user-generated portfolio platforms?

Unlike most other websites that host images or “online portfolios,” we are developing a platform for EFFICIENCY and CAREER MANAGEMENT.

We are developing the Behance Network to be one central platform that provides unparalled presentation, exposure, and reach.

Unlike traditional portfolio sites, the Behance Network is built to provide creative professionals with one place to update their work for maximum efficiency and exposure. Behance.net now receives millions of visitors every month, and simultaneously members’ projects are pushed throughout the web: to partner sites of organizations such as AIGA and MTV, to the industry-specific Served Sites, and to members’ profiles on LinkedIn. With our soon-to-be-released service “ProSite,” users will be able to build completely customized personal portfolio sites that sync with Behance projects. ProSite will boost efficiency for creative professionals that struggle to keep their personal portfolios sites up to date with their work displayed around the web.

One other difference about Behance: You are represented by the quality of your work – not your connections or affiliations. We believe that this is a powerful mechanism that I have come to call “creative meritocracy.” You’ll see more on this in the future.

Why you have released a book “Making Ideas Happen”? What was driving you to share your thoughts about the creative processes organisation?

For over five years I had been obsessed with execution and organization in the creative world. It was frustrating that the people with the most ideas often suffer the greatest obstacles to making them happen.

And of course, the truth is that most ideas never happen.

But I also found exceptions – people and teams that somehow defy the odds and execute their ideas, time and time again. During the research, my team and I spoke with people like author Chris Anderson, designer Stefan Sagmeister, RISD president John Maeda, and Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh – as well as leaders at companies like Google, IDEO, and Disney.
I realized that the forces behind great execution are accessible to all of us. It turns out that we should focus less energy on searching for the best ideas and more on organization and leading ideas to fruition.

The book summarizes the methods, insights, and best practices that I observed among the most productive creative people and teams across industries. My hope is that the book prompts some serious discussion and introspection around execution and how creative people and teams should operate to make ideas happen.

Can you reveal a bit the idea behind Behance Ambassador programs and the World expand?

We are trying to help local networks of Behance members connect with each other. “Community” has many different levels, and our research suggests that building a local network of peers will help boost productivity and access to opportunity for creative professionals. We developed the Ambassador program to help foster local networks.

(DC: You can see Behance Russia activity here)

What are your plans with ProSite? What is this?

Later this month we will launch ProSite, a new service that we have been building for over a year! ProSite will allow Behance members to build their own personal portfolio sites that instantly sync with their Behance projects. ProSite will dramatically increase our productivity as we seek to maintain our own websites while broadcasting our portfolio work around the web.

We are very excited about ProSite. It is much more intuitive and powerful than any other portfolio building tool, and it doesn’t require any programming knowledge. We think it’s revolutionary.

(DC: This interview was made for Designcollector iPad Magazine in April, so ProSite has successfully started and our Designcollector Collective is an example of a site you can build with ProSite+Behance)

Can you please predict the future trends in social creative web?

My biggest prediction is that we will enter an era of “distributed creative production.” In such an era, top talent will be able to work on their own terms and will rely on reputation-building and distributing their portfolio across the web. The creative professionals that embrace this future will thrive in their careers. The companies (and clients) that welcome this future will benefit from better creative output.

I wrote about this and other predictions in a recent article on The 99%: http://the99percent.com/articles/6972/Shaping-the-Future-7-Predictions-for-the-Creative-Community

Thank you Arseny for this interview. I am honored to be involved with the project and it is great to work with you!

Behance Network

Join Behance Network + Russian group

Creativesoutfitter.com

BehanceOffline.com

The99percent

 
 

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