Ed Catmull, founder of Pixar Animation who today leads it and Disney Animation, shared his experiences how companies can harness people’s creativity to execute corporate strategies effectively in Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. A winner of 5 academy awards, he shares many key lessons; here are a few:
- Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better
- If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead
- It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks; her/his job is to make it safe for other to take them
- The cost of preventing errors if often far greater than the cost of casing them
- A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure; everyone should be able to talk to anybody.
- Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change; it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when they are all on board.
It’s all about openness. “What makes Pixar special is that we acknowledge that we will always have problems, many of them hidden from our view; then, we work hard to cover these problems, even if doing so makes ourselves uncomfortable; when we come across a problem, we marshal all of our energies to solve it. This, more than any party or workstation, is why I love coming to work in the morning. It is what motivates me and gives me a definite sense of mission. “