How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity

This HBR article is a must read for anyone in the creative industry (or any industry for that matter). It is so good! It’s insight from Dr. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios.

Here are just a few snippets:

Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the capability to recover when failures occur.

The leaders sort through a mass of ideas to find the ones that fit into a coherent whole—that support the story—which is a very difficult task. It’s like an archaeological dig where you don’t know what you’re looking for or whether you will even find anything. The process is downright scary.

We as executives have to resist our natural tendency to avoid or minimize risks, which, of course, is much easier said than done. In the movie business and plenty of others, this instinct leads executives to choose to copy successes rather than try to create something brand-new. That’s why you see so many movies that are so much alike. It also explains why a lot of films aren’t very good. If you want to be original, you have to accept the uncertainty, even when it’s uncomfortable, and have the capability to recover when your organization takes a big risk and fails. What’s the key to being able to recover? Talented people!

Read most of the article here (you have to have an account to read the whole thing):
http://hbr.harvardbusiness.org/2008/09/how-pixar-fosters-collective-creativity/ar/1