Innovation lessons from Pixar:
An interview with Oscar-winning director Brad Bird from The McKinsey Quarterly
The Quarterly asked: Engagement, morale—what else is critical for stimulating innovative thinking?
Brad Bird: “The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the impossible can be achieved. There was a point during the making of The Incredibles where we had a company meeting. We have them about twice a year, and anybody can bring up concerns. Somebody raised their hand and said, “Is The Incredibles too ambitious?”
Ed Catmull said, “I don’t know” and looked over at me. I just said, “No! If there’s one studio that needs to be doing stuff that is ‘too ambitious,’ it’s this one. You guys have had nothing but success. What do you do with it? You don’t play it safe—you do something that scares you, that’s at the edge of your capabilities, where you might fail. That’s what gets you up in the morning.”
What About Making Money?
Brad Bird: “Speaking personally, I want my films to make money, but money is just fuel for the rocket. What I really want to do is to go somewhere. I don’t want to just collect more fuel”
Where do we want the social web to go? Currently it is our playground on the edge of our collective capabilities. Dare to fail? Think big and beyond today’s experiences. Don’t get caught in the twit of the moment, if you know what I mean.
Uniting Relations and aiming over the edge is where our fuel will takes us.
What Say You?
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