As product manager at the 3D graphics technology company Alias|Wavefront, Tom Wujec knows about creativity. He’s part of the team that helped create Maya, a professional 3D animation and effects tool that earlier this year won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement. He’s also an author of several books about creativity and innovation. His latest, “Return on Imagination: Realizing the Power of Creativity,” aims to help companies realize the potential of nurturing and investing in creative, imaginative ideas. To make the most of his own considerable talents, Wujec says the process is deceptively simple: “I get some rest, I exercise, I get out of the work environment. I go to museums or through bookstores and buy books that I normally don’t buy. I travel a lot and ask a lot of questions when I meet with people. Often I’ll look someone up and interview them for something that I am interested in. It might be on a particular project or it might be something that I will tuck away. I think it’s all about the circulation of energy. The moment you think, ‘This is it,’ and you have a fixed image is when it begins to decay and die.”

Information Highways Jul/Aug 2003