Photograph: Julian Mackler / MACKME.COM

Rilla Alexander: Without the Doing, Dreaming Is Useless

About this presentation

We all have an idea we’ve been meaning to execute on, but how can we really make it happen? In this highly original, all-ages talk, illustrator Rilla Alexander walks us through this classic creative struggle by sharing the story of Sozi – an adorable character who walks us through the arc of an idea. She daydreams, she procrastinates, she sets deadlines, she gets tempted by new ideas, she buckles down and works hard – and finally – she realizes “Her Idea.”

About Rilla Alexander

Rilla Alexander is an Australian-born Berlin-based designer and illustrator. Her cast of creatures dance across Madrid’s Museo del Prado’s ceramics and stationery products, populate Swiss Credit Cards for Cornér Bank and sleep on the walls of Hotel Fox in Copenhagen (where she replaced the bed with a tent). As a member of design collective Rinzen, she has published several books exploring the creative process. The felt-covered book Neighbourhood featured the collaborative efforts of over 30 artists reworking and remaking hand-made toys in a sequence that stretched across the world. Her all-ages picture book, Her Idea, was launched with an exhibition at Colette in Paris — and tells the tale of her alter-ego Sozi and her quest to make ideas happen.


Sozi By Rilla Rinzen

More insights on: Focus, Motivation, Perseverance
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  • Meecho

    Love this talk. It stopped prematurely at 14:35. Is it just me? I want to see the end!

  • Guest

    I had the same problem, the video stopped at 14:35. I want to see the end too, I loved her talk!

  • Roberts In

    Yes, the ending is beeing cut, this means it’s time to buy the book! :P

  • Roberts In

    Oh, no all books have been sold out. :/

  • guest

    She’s so cute

  • Guest

    It’s stopped coz i’ts time to make things happen!

  • 99U

    Sorry about this, guys. I am looking into the issue with the file & should have fixed shortly!

  • 99U

    OK, this is no longer a cliffhanger! The full video is up now. Our apologies for keeping you in suspense.

  • Maria

    Love the topic – Kudos for addressing it so well

  • Reggie

    Seeing through is the hardest thing ever. I realised I needed to so sth about it. Which is why I started the Growing Up Project. http://growingupproject.wordpr
    I almost feel not seeing something truth has to do with not wanting to grow up.

  • Vasudha Chandak

    Awesome talk – so very true for creative people

  • Paul Romejko

    Reminds me of this quote:
    “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • Ronald

    great work! let’s keep dreaming and doing

  • QDev

    I find myself in this story, good ideas all the time, but no time for at least one !

  • Cumulo7

    This was amazing, I think i go through this every day :(
    Thank you :)

  • bill 5onic

    Sooooo right! Almost annoyingly so. You would think that someone who believes in Idea Thought Plan and Action would just do that. But no matter how creative one is the ideas and the mind work overtime to prohibit actually doing anything. Testament to her idea is the book and that book is Hope. I am so creative but am frustrated beyond my vast imagination because I dream of a job. I dream of creating and yet create nothing. As hard as it was to watch the video I now realize that I must do or nothing will be done. Thanks and Blessings of Light and Love to both this Orator/Creative and to all who find this struggle in their lives no matter what path they walk. This is not just a creator’s dilemma. It is everyone’s for we are one.
    Bill 5onic

  • Dyan

    Thank you. I am stuck in my idea. I believe in it but I need some really cool ideas like this one to help me move my ass.

  • MichM

    Hmmh, interesting theme, especially topic but she is stuffy and somewhat contrived.

  • Very well

    This is so good that it made me cry. Thank you.

  • jack

    Still stuck at 14:35 for me!

  • Lalylun

    Until she starts to work on the idea, it feels like its me…. So good, now got to get to work! :)

  • CataM.

    thank you 99U. her presentation was amazing. it really helps to know that i am not the only one who struggles with this issue. it is very refreshing and uplifting to have this kind of posts to get us back on track.

  • Jukire

    Pensé que esto solo me pasaba a mi. Agradezco saber que es muy común en el mundo creativo y también agradezco encontrar una solución tan clara.

  • Dhano McNicol

    Rilla, thanks for taking the time to get your idea done and for sharing it with us. I’m off to make my idea happen.

  • Peter Shergold

    Oh no this a bit close to the bone!! Best I get myself going then

  • Adar Darnov

    I could relate to this so much. Especially the point about reducing monstrous expectations to realistic ones so a project can actually be completed.

  • Franck V.

    Thank you so much Rilla for this presentation, it was very inspiring. I could really relate to your experience. The “my other ideas are better” and the “one day to one week, and one week to one month” parts and even the moving to Germany and the chocolate consumption parts. After so many common points I guess the only think I need to do to be on par with your journey is to finish mine!

  • ahmer farooqui


  • radicaltp

    good work , very nice book and very inspirational , another way to work around it maybe to just fu**ing start off and improvise or think along the way . at least get the low hanging fruit on the plate

  • Chris Javier

    Omg I needed this so bad. Thank you :’)

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