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The Alchemy of Creativity utilizes tools sourced from historic ateliers of artists and creators with an eye toward its application for innovation. Refined by the artists collectively attracted to the 20th century film and animation industry, this methodology is about creativity and innovation and thus is both art and science. It has been used to develop innovative attributes in the training of creative people. This process, utilized by the animation industry, is compared with the rigorous six sigma approach to innovation used by many corporations. This methodology was codified by former Disney Animator and arts scholar, Dave Zaboski, who witnessed the rise and eventual undoing of a powerful culture of collaboration: “When I was at Disney Feature Animation collaborating in service of an idea over one’s own ego was mission critical. Educating talented artists as to how to create powerfully, under intense pressure and collaborate generously was a core tenet. Every few months we'd reserve a room and one of the Senior Animators would give us "The Spiral Lecture." That lecture on the creative process contained everything we needed to know about working together and succeeding on complex, multidisciplinary, high-stakes projects. We were given methods and systems developed by master creators over the past 70 years designed to get our work done on time, in alignment with mutually established goals and up to the legacy standards of those giants who came before us. Eventually, I was the one giving the younger artists the same lecture. Over time I came to see how the core concepts of the lecture intermingle with a universal natural law of innovation. In the reconnecting of these founding ideas with the nearly flawless execution of the animations industry’s processes and culture, I believe I have found a method to describe and apply the keys to creative mastery (Zaboski, 2015).


Final version published in:

David Zaboski, George F Dierberger, & Ryan Douglas. (2016). The alchemy of creativity: An operating system for innovation, collaboration and enhanced creativity. American Journal of Management, 16(3), 66.