Book: Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

Making Ideas Happen - CoverGenerating new ideas is easy, it’s executing that is hard. Whether you are an individual or an organization, perseverance and perspiration are a must to transform vision into reality.

In Making Ideas Happen, the author, Scott Belsky uses his observations and insights behind successful teams at Disney, IDEO, and Google — as well as highly productive and respected individuals like John Maeda, Seth Godin, and Chris Anderson — to present essential principles and a structured set of methods for converting any idea into reality.

TitleMaking Ideas Happen – Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
Author(s)Scott Belsky
Initially Published In2010
Formats AvailableHardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio


“A Swiss army knife for Ideas”

Ji Lee, Director at Google Creative Lab 


Ideas for new businesses, improving productivity or capabilities and solutions to the world’s problems  are common. So are ideas for artistic breakthroughs. However, great execution is rare. Ideas don’t happen by accident or because they are unique or great. Ideas are taken to fruition with passion, focus, and hard work.

According to Making Ideas Happen, the three essential elements behind successful implementation of ideas are:

  1. Organization and Execution
  2. Leveraging the Forces of Community
  3. Leadership

‘Organization and Execution’ includes details of the ‘Action Method’, which covers management of lists (e.g., action steps, back-burner items, and references), prioritization, managing constraints, tolerance for change, with a focus on ‘always moving forward.’

Harnessing the forces of the community through sharing of ideas, processing feedback, transparency, commitment to others, and using the power of the network is the second essential element of success. The book also covers the benefit of physical shared space and self-marketing.

The third essential element is leadership that one needs to drive a team. Motivation, rewards, weeding out of ideas, engagement, decision making (e.g., ‘don’t be burdened by consensus’, ‘leaders talk last’) are some of the aspects covered. Self-leadership is also covered in detail – this includes aspects of handling ambiguity, failures, and conflicts and also being a deviant.

The essence of the book is depicted in this equation reproduced from the book:



Worth Reading (More than Once)

The book is extremely well-written and easy to read and fast to absorb. It is around 240 pages, including the Appendices. The structuring of the book is also done very well, with three major sections and chapters within them. Once you have read the book, it is easy to refresh the concepts by just going through the table of contents.

There are diagrams and tables used to explain or reinforce concepts, wherever needed.

The book was on the bestseller lists for a long time. I recommend this book for entrepreneurs, managers, and anyone unable to start on his/ her pet ideas.


“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. This book helps you with the hard part.”

— Guy Kawasaki, former Apple guru and author of
The Art of the Start

Making Ideas Happen  by Scott Belsky is available at:

Check out sample pages of the book by using the “Look Inside” feature in Amazon, here. You will get a feel of the book, and you can decide whether it suits you.

About the author

Scott Belsky is a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur with a focus on the creative industries. As the founder and CEO of Behance (, he oversees the Behance Network, the world’s leading platform for creative professionals with millions of visitors every month. He also looks after ‘The 99%’ (, a think tank and annual conference devoted to execution in creative teams and Action Method, a popular online/mobile productivity application and line of organizational paper products.

Here is a TEDx video featuring Scott Belsky talking about the concepts in the book.

If the video does not open, use the link

The book is available at:

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2 thoughts on “Book: Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky”

  1. “Generating new ideas is easy, it is executing that is hard”. So very true.

    There are many organizations where generating ideas tends to be a goal unto itself. Innovation campaigns become the flavor of a month or an annual event; lots of motivational banners and blog posts urge people to ideate, carrots are held out in terms of potential rewards, extending deadline for idea submission and follow up mails becomes the norm. Till the D-day arrives and the rolls of honor are called out for the top 3 ideas.

    An year down the line, another idea campaign is launched with similar fanfare. No accountability for what happens to ideas collected. Tons of energy is spent on idea generation but nothing in execution.

    “Forces of community” and ” leadership capability” as mentioned in the book could be the key ingredients required to translate ideas into action. And possibly creating that culture of instant and continuous recognition.

    Does the book provide insights on the HOW part of creating “forces of community”? Is “top down leadership” required (other than for resource commitments) or can the “community take leadership within a defined framework” and “share the gains”?

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