Creativity, Inc. was written by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace. Ed Catmull was key in the development of the company Pixar. Pixar is a well-known computer animation film studio that later merged with the Walt Disney Company.
Pixar must produce creative movies in order to survive. Many businesses do not have to rely on creativity to this level to be successful. However, all businesses regardless of size or purpose, need some degree of creativity and innovation to succeed. Creativity and innovation can be in the form of new internal processes or the development of new products and services.
In the book, we can see where profitable creativity is a combination of creative thinking balanced by the structure of science and business principles. In fact, Mr. Catmull says his two boyhood idols were Albert Einstein and Walt Disney!
The book tells the story of Pixar’s history, development and growth. It is an excellent business story and many lessons for leading and managing organizations are presented. We’ve chosen a few that could be helpful to business and organizational leaders.
Lessons for the Business Leader
People Resist Change
Fear leads to people resisting change. For business leaders, this fear is around the risk of failure in trying a new idea. Failure could result is lost time and money. Failure could also result in a bruised ego. On the other hand, creative ideas can help companies prosper. Risk can be reduced by properly researching and vetting an idea before spending the time and money on full idea implementation. There could also be risk in doing nothing and simply maintaining the status-quo. What are your customers and competition up to?
Team Member Involvement
Pixar used a couple of techniques: A Braintrust and Notes Day. The Braintrust was used to assess each movie that was being made. Candor and honesty were required. The Braintrust was made up of a few smart and passionate people. Notes Day was an opportunity for all Pixar team members to be involved in solving some of Pixar’s problems. The point is the leaders utilized the expertise, creativity and ideas from their team. They did not believe that they had all of the answers. How do you utilize your team?
Team Chemistry Can Make All of the Difference
Mr. Catmull states “getting the team right is a necessary precursor to getting the ideas right”. He adds “getting the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea”. Even the best of ideas will struggle if team chemistry is not right because the idea may never make it to full development and implementation. With excellent team chemistry, a seemingly lessor idea can be made great and taken to profitable implementation. Think about your team of employees and service providers. Do you have good team chemistry?
We would be honored if you read our article that discusses unexpected sources of creative and innovative ideas.
Written by guest-writer Greg Conder of Conder Business Solutions, a business consulting firm offering creative solutions that make sense.