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Creating Through a Crisis | SXSW 2021

Scott Belsky
Executive, Author, Investor, & Product Obsessive at Adobe
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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Creating Through a Crisis | SXSW 2021
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About speaker

Scott Belsky
Executive, Author, Investor, & Product Obsessive at Adobe

Scott Belsky is an entrepreneur, author, investor, and currently serves as Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. In 2006, Scott founded Behance, the leading online platform for the creative industry to showcase and discover creative world, and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. After the acquisition, Scott helped reboot Adobe's mobile product and marketplace strategies and leading Behance.Scott actively advises and invests in businesses that cross the intersection of technology and design, and help empower people. He works closely with a number of venture capital firms including Benchmark and Homebrew, and is an early advisor and investor in Pinterest, Uber, sweetgreen, Carta, Cheddar, Flexport, Airtable, and Periscope as well as several others in the early stages.Through his work as a founder and investor, Scott has become an advocate for technology and community initiatives that empower creative people and help businesses leverage the creative potential of their people. He is the author of two national bestselling books - Making Ideas Happen and The Messy Middle, and founded 99U, a publication and annual conference devoted to productivity in the creative world.

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Over the past year, the world has transformed and the role of creativity has transformed with it. People have embraced creativity, especially digital creativity, as a way to connect and collaborate in our strange and otherwise disconnected new world. And the increasing importance of creativity in commerce and the workplace has become clear: Creativity is the new productivity and we must start preparing now for the reality that our ability to thrive will be tied to our ability to create. Join Adobe executive, author and entrepreneur Scott Belsky for an inspiring discussion of the ways creativity will shape our new, post-pandemic world and the exciting ways we can all be a part of the creative revolution.

About SXSW:

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, this year’s online event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities. For more information, please visit sxsw.com.

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Eyebrows key is the founder of behance. The world's largest creative Network for showcasing and discovering creative work. He's currently the chief product officer to do in charge of product development, engineering and design of Creative Cloud. He's also the author of two books, making ideas happen and the messy middle Scott, welcome to this session at South by Southwest. Today, we're going to talk about creating through a crisis and the Myriad ways. Creativity will be shaping our new post pens, I like world,

T-shirt and an podcast hose and Designs Banker in and everything else that are going to probably already know. Thank you. I have now had the honor of introducing Scott numerous times and so I feel like we have a a little bit of a journey that were created the Time Capsule of design over the years that we've been doing this together. So it's fascinating and I think really thrilling for me just got the first thing I want to talk about is your own personal creativity, you've been doing a lot more writing now then you have during the day and you had repented and you started writing your terrific

news letter. Again, you've posted numerous pieces on medium and chords of all the things that you have engaged in. What inspired you to choose writing as your creative medium of lady. Well, first of all I do feel like writing is the best form of self-discovery because it's the accumulation of all these little things that occur to you, handed to overtime and then go and connect the dots, our experiences. What better way is there than writing or something? I'm worried I'm going to forget and I will miss it. Later in the future.

So I know you can identify with this writing it to me as a cross out of Natalie self-expression. But also Discovery, and the time for that, You've seen creativity increase firsthand as Adobe live traffic has doubled as a culture. We're experiencing millions of people subscribing to a variety of new television channels. We've seen a record number of adult coloring books being sold again, who knew that friends would be back so soon and even guitars are selling at a record Pace. I actually have one right behind it.

In, what is your recent articles? You wrote that creativity, is the new productivity? And I'm wondering if you think that this is pandemic inspired, or will you begin to see this pre-pandemic, how do you feel like that has synced together? When is a few different things going on that. I am observing, I'm sure you are as well. And one of them is bigger picture. There is this excitement around artificial intelligence and how how so many forms of increased productivity across all disciplines and tasks. That

are the things that anyone who dies with half their dad are gradually being done by algorithms, by machines by, you know, computer repetitions. And even with that raises a number of concerns, right around the future of Labor. It also raises a number of opportunities around reallocate, you know, our time for it, but can we train ourselves to do instead? If if we used to confine our class two new Fridays and Bernie or twice a week in school or whatever I would say that. Now, as productivity is

being done by computers, we have two uniquely do humans can do, which is to be creative and job requires us to learn the tools of creativity outfit. Their people to be creative with PowerPoint. And maybe in the future, our jobs will be most secure. When we have mastered, the creative expression, when we can create compelling, infographics and presentations with video and multimedia that inspire people to change their minds to get on board to get every every creative tool is used for broad marketing.

Can be also used to help us sell a message to our colleagues and into Inspire other soap. I do believe that in some ways for decades to come creativity. Is the new productivity in the sense that it's how humans will stand out in school and our lives. I don't think I do need to depend on that. I'm wondering because you have been writing so much about artificial intelligence. Are you worried about artificial intelligence taking over? human tasks that are going to take some of the creativity out of the way. Those tasks has had been previously created.

It's the way I think about it. Sometimes, I'm only trying to play both sides of the argument and on the one hand, I seen our customers in my day job, leading creative products are telling us in surveys, said they sent over 50% of their time doing repetitive mundane labor. That is in between all the ideas that they have that they want to try, right? And so if you could reduce that maybe you'd have more time as a designer, or reasonable to try two or three additional pass to a solution and ultimately find even a better one than you may ever use

an unlocked to that extent. However, I would also say a creativity. Often times comes from having to be constrained and resourceful. It comes from sometimes, the mundane repetition that we do that. Yeah. Maybe unlock the part of our brain to just me and her and we come across My goodness has a podcast discussing the origins of creativity, the childhood trauma that everything else that goes on within the brain to the mistakes of the eye cetera. And so I think we have to tune in to the new sources of creativity that unique to each of us and preserve them.

For a lot of us that means getting off of screens, right? We're going for a run traveling or whatever so I think it's a very fair question. We are now at all of the all of the productivity at the Monday and just optimize every will we all be Network created or will there still be something missing that we can't correct score. It was so interesting and thinking about creativity, it seems like so much creativity is combinatorial in that we take from different things. We build, we create something and

Every now and then you get a spark, you get a jolt of electricity that might take you to a new place with those various combined, Notions and ideas and that create something that kind of seems brand new. But it's always sort of standing on the shoulders of giants. And I kind of see that spark that electricity imagination, where you begin to see something that didn't exist before you ever think, that way, I can replicate that spark of Ingenuity and what I kind of called creative Magic Why do I do think so? And

here's here's a case for why? So you like you, I believe that every crate incredible inside is standing on the shoulders, whether you know it or not about the things you've seen. I always like to see the world's greatest recycling program cost of the future you're making something you start going down a path. We are about to do you done five or six things that you've done before? And so the computer kind of knows. You too many other people are likely to the next four things. And so, it's sort of suggest you almost like auto-text suggestion, whatever

you could we see on our mobile devices and you can select a thumbnail for something that is eerily. Six steps ahead of where you are in your design process of correcting a soda or something like that. That's exactly what I wanted to touch it. And then you skip or five steps that you would have had to take with a 99% certainty. Anyways, would I think that allows you to do is then start playing with more possible, pasts that are truly created us, like really off the beaten pencil ways of doing something, or solving a problem as a designer. And since you now get.

You know, it's 30 to 50 per cent more productivity, automatically, you know, if you're able to kind of hop skip and a jump, you know, in 5 pass and posted 2 or 3 And I believe it at finally unlocks more creativity. The other thing I would say is that, maybe You're in some ways algorithms will show us like unexpected things sometimes, right? I mean it will. If you take three colors and watch it on a canvas, you might not think of anything that might say, this looks like waves crashing on the shore. Is that a good thing? Or a bad thing that

you're being sued into something that you didn't see it on your own? It's really. Yeah, I wonder if Will begin to see a. I bring us to new stylistic breakthroughs like could a I create the next Jackson. Pollock or the next Mark, Roscoe or the next time you're or the next Roxane. Gay, you know how how can we invent something that hasn't been there before? What kind of input do you need for that? That's the part. That's so fascinating to me. 1 weird way to think about it is that product I

mean models of data from all of us. So in essence, I always like to, yes, I think of data is a modern oil to some degree, like oil is the residual, you know, Out gross and passed organic matter in the ground. So, early data is the exhaust of all of our activities. Every image we crop every design everypixel we apply and so, is your getting ideas conceivably from, you are striking ideas from the, from all of us, you're, you're taking the activity of the human world, and you are playing

with it, to some degree, you know? And Maybe that's what we do. Anyways, I'm used to you started by saying that every great through his heart upon the shoulders of ones that came before it in some weird way. AI is similar kind of meta and kind of wonderful. I'm going going back to I know I know this happens every time I want to, I want to bring it a little bit bag too. So that our audience feel like they're getting what they came for which was talking about prices and creativity

in your article, really wonderful article called the Great refactoring. How crisis, unless productivity you read about how the pandemic is not only forcing us to reconsider how we were. It's also unlocked games and potential efficiencies that we crewed, but never really fully realized has that productivity. I was at new productivity giving you insights into better Ways to Live. Ridge, professional or personal creativity. It's definitely not reinforce the opportunity around forcing functions

and acceleration of a better term. Is that two people still want to use email as opposed to slack? Every team has a few people that don't feel comfortable and video conferences, insist on meeting in person and even when it's unnecessary cold outside in some ways to prevent it from fully realizing the potential of a new way of working. And what we found in the pandemic was that was instantly, you know, overcome not forcing function, help everyone, that she is your new level of working to end up in

some way in some ways. So I ate it does sort of for the whole workplace to kind of prompted this idea while everything and anything is possible. Like we actually could just not going to the office anymore and not apologize me. You know, we maybe we shouldn't have that meeting every Tuesday, just because it's Tuesday and I think there were three, were some of those realizations and hopefully, hopefully be at me. Learn be learning Terry from that. In the other thing, I was just saying What is, what is, what is, what is creating in

captivity? Know? What is a quitter. Not us. And I'm actually curious to hear your take on this to you and your for me, creating always really was about what I was exposing myself to and so is out. So, if I only see my own family and consistent, right? I struggle, but it did make me suddenly start to read more. I started to make me listen to more podcast. Started to make me a little bit more, taking more initiative to absorb and find new sources of Discovery and has tried to augment to some degree, but I've

lost, but more creative people. I know, like really quickly like what's your creativity and captive? You look like well, it's sort of interesting because I had always considered myself a real Social Animal. And most of the work that I enjoyed doing was collaborative nature, whether it be sitting across from somebody in an interview or teaching a class in front of 20 students or being a conferences. And speaking with people and that all changed it completely changed and I'm

one of those people back a year ago that went into this new sort of text support in communication pass with with great difficulty like projectile crying. I had to master slack and zoom and canvas all the same time and it was terrified. I mean there were moments where I was like I can't do this. My life is over. And so, I've had to write, I had no choice. I had to learn this new technology. I had to try to find a way if not to love it. Certainly embrace it. And now, It's been it's been revelatory I have to say you know I'm one of those

people that goes Kicking and Screaming into any environment that's new and unfamiliar and there's a great book about this, I think that you'd love him for a listeners. I'm going to have no stake in the Game of Throne of this book. It's called think again and it's by Adam Grant and it's really about how important it is to continually be challenging the ways that we rely on our thoughts and our Behavior. It was an article recently in the New York Times that I kind of wish I'd written. It was by a teacher saying how

surprising it was to find that they loved teaching on Zoom. And now I do too and I do because it is entirely democratized, you know, in a regular classroom setting. You have the students that are sitting in the front, the big hand razors and contributors in the people in the bag that hide in the people in the middle behind the people in the front that just started to rely on those people to move the conversation forward and now it is human environment. You see, everybody everybody thinks the same size, literally and

figuratively. And you get in my classes are purposely. I can see everybody on one screen and it changes the dynamic entirely. The intimacy is different in a really powerful way. So we're as I was once very Auntie talking terms of collaborative level that you can achieve in a sort of technological or computerized environment. Very, very different way. And so I would say that my ability to be creative has increased because I'm not relying on proximity in the same way that I used to and I kind of miss some of that. But less than I thought, I was

less than I thought I would because I do feel like the exchanges that I'm having are authentic. And therefore, I don't feel like there's any dilution in, in the sort of quality of what I'm doing, which is huge, surprise. What about you? Because you work with a company that's thousands and thousands and thousands of people, how do you feel? Like the collaborative nature of your work has changed through this crisis. Those are what you said, really resonated. I certainly have found that having all of her meetings, you know, in this new virtual environment, there are a

lot of voices that I didn't hear before is much that now, so comfortable speaking up, which is also a sort of sad to me to think that, wow, we always have these physical meetings, where Senior People sat at the table. When there were too many people stabbed or shot room is sometimes more interesting than the meeting itself. People feel uncomfortable, asking questions that you don't want to say out loud, people, answer each other people and other ideas, facilitator. And I'm the one who sang, oh, you know,

June, like, you just mention, why don't you explain what you were saying? Not everyone like that's really interesting. So you going to go out and eat very comfortable way. Also, employee all-hands meeting used to be like three people. Now, you have this like insatiable stream of commentary and questions and stuff. So, this is a profound change, right in the key of ideas and in helping people feel and unfortunately, for us to realize what we were missing from a lot of the people here at

I I read you cited a talk by Ben Rubin in one of the pieces that you've written who stated that the very notion of meetings maybe an archaic and wasteful Vestige of centralized workspaces. Do you think that when we if we go back to some semblance of the normal workplace you think the nature of those meetings are going to change. Do you have a sense that people want a different way of gathering is Priya? Parker would say, or do you think that will end up going back to many of our bad habits? What's interesting is that

when people are talks fondly about this new age of productivity that we're all living in some people say, oh yeah you know I've cut out all kind of excess you know of work and it's now just down to the down to the bone. I think of that excess in some cases as the social side of the work we do which is an equal part of the snow film that we get from the work. And so I think we maybe that's why we're all somewhat exhausted these days so much. But we're not really having a casual social layer at work in one.

Eye is counterproductive and just move us forward into the waste of time. Put in the other guys, happy. I think it's going to be more intense than it ever has been before it's always been accidental, it's always been the stuff in between the scenes Where is now you know, if I had my way we basically all be a you know as flexible slash remote work for us but we have instead of 1 V, incredible off sites, a year for the team together and we do relationships between

ideas. We brainstormed excetra. And also, you know, I really, really appreciate, you know, the prime elements of work and life with all the I have time for one. Last question. It's actually my favorite questions. I'm very excited to ask this of you after the Spanish pandemic. In 1919, we experienced The Roaring Twenties cultural, anthropologists are beginning to rain about how another round of the world's funniest might be ahead of us. Where pent-up desire is from the pandemic, will be Unleashed in the form of fashion, travel and culture, bending creative

self-expression. For anybody that is watching this interview today, how would you see them being able to be part of this potential creative revolution? Well, I am the world has this supply and demand aspect to it, where Supply tents or tents to address to, man? I think that there is going to be shown to your point for the next decade or so. Around culture experience in fast me to being immersive, no late nights early, we all have his pent-up desire for appreciation, for right now that we had it taken

away from us for so long. And so, did you meet that Demand with Supply? In other words, like, where's all the creativity? Stop, where's all the travel? Where is all the Wisps? What where's it all? Going to come from you? And I see lots of interesting new trends these days. I'm just to pick a random one. This whole kind of non-fungible token, new Digital Arts. Digital artist to express themselves and also make a living and your people want to collect all of this. And there's just this appetite for culturally

significant event as well as the experiences Technologies. Going to help. I guess this is my point, I didn't travel. We're going to travel the world like we've never seen before and I think that my friend, Jen, Hyman runs right there. One Rent, the Runway was talking about her like team's job planning their collection for 2022, a day without your seeing the fashion that's coming, out of all these famous fashion houses and it's it's going to push us, you know, if I think there's in the pent-up hearts

of these fashion designers themselves are also kicking and screaming and I was going to come through in their work, so I I couldn't be more excited. Daddy, I think it's I'm always up. The best days are ahead of us. I really hope so. And I so look forward to sharing those times with you. Those peeps. Thank you. As always for your Illuminating, thoughts on creativity productivity and Technology. Thank you for being such a wonderful conversationalist and thank you for joining me for the session at South by

Southwest. Thank you, Debbie. I appreciate it.

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