Study in Courage: the "Done Manifesto"

Study in Courage - the Done ManifestoMaybe you’ve seen it because it came out in 2009. But I hadn’t… until Cliff Huang at Fast Company’s brought it to the attention of one of our agencies’ designers.   Suddenly we were all voting on which of the 13 rules for realizing your creative vision resonated with each of us and the truth is that in our design firm,  just about all of them did.

It’s not often that you stumble across something so resonant, so authentic, as the Done Manifesto,  If you’re just coming to the Prototyping Life it may stop you in your tracks.  Or it may have in 2009 when Maker Bot founder Bre Pettis, in collaboration with Kio Stark, wrote The Cult of Done Manifesto in 20 minutes. Here it is:

Dear Members of the Cult of Done.

“I present to you a manifesto of done. This was written in collaboration with Kio Stark in 20 minutes because we only had 20 minutes to get it done.”

Cult of Done

This got it done for me.  Because it is the most visceral description of  “doing the work,” and the emotional/psychological nature of fast prototyping, iterating and working in the discipline of innovation that I’ve seen anywhere. This is not what just ‘creative vision’ feels like.  This is what it feels like to create.  “Create” and “Innovate” share the same root: “ate” — which essentially means to consume, to preoccupy and engross.

A prediction: in 2012 more of us will refuse to be stifled and will insist on ever greater levels of consuming experimentation, inquiry, tire-kicking, making stuff fast aka rapid prototyping and then discarding it, and generally walking that fine line between the perfectionistic nature of “professionalism” and the messy, organic, alive-ness of “creative” work.  Work is creative!  But sadly, for many people, it should be more creative. To strike that balance on a daily basis between presentable and push requires many things: discipline, the ability to communicate the context, intention, ideas worth messing around with, a place to mess around, and a couple of willing colleagues, emotional resilience — just to name a few. And it requires courage.

I am hooked  on exploring the role of courage in innovation, and the role of innovation in what I believe for far too many companies is a “PTSD economic climate.”  More real world examples will be coming soon.  Done.

Image by James Provost.  License via Creative Commons
“Innovate” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 17 Dec. 2011. “Create.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 17 Dec. 2011. .

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Julie Anixter is Chief Innovation Officer at Maga Design and the managing editor and co-founder of Innovation Excellence.  She worked with Tom Peters for five years on bringing big ideas to big audiences. Now she works with the rest of the US Military and other high test innovation cultures.

Julie Anixter




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