Where Did the Creativity Go?

Consider the talents of the following two groups who were asked these three questions:

  • How many of you are good singers?
  • How many of you are good dancers?
  • How many of you are good artists?

About 2 percent of the first group responded positively to each of these three questions. That’s a typical response of most business teams. But it’s possible to find a second group in almost any community who would give nearly 100 percent positive responses. Surprised?

Ask any group of first graders these three questions, and the children will respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!” to each one.

All children are creative – they’re born that way!

What happened to the creative gene that was so alive in our childhoods?

Authors and consultants Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson have answered that question in their book Innovate the Pixar Way. Subtitled “Business lessons from the world’s most creative corporate playground,” the book details how Pixar provides a working environment that encourages imagination, inventiveness, and joyful collaboration.

The book asks, and then answers, these questions:

  • How do you build an organization that embraces change and delivers an innovative, high-quality service or product?
  • How do you establish a culture of creativity in which the talents and abilities of all are nurtured and honed with great care?
  • How do you unleash the creative genius within your team and still meet budgets and deadlines?
  • How do you establish an environment that awakens dreams?

Going behind the screen at Pixar, Capodagli and Jackson answer these questions and more. Here’s a sample:

Pixar goes to great lengths to hire people who are interested in working together as a network in solving problems, building and supporting each other. Four common proficiencies are vital to making art a team sport.

  • Depth – demonstrating mastery in a subject or a principal skill such as drawing or programming; having the discipline to chase dreams all the way to the finish line
  • Breadth – possessing a vast array of experiences and interests; having the ability to explore insights from many different perspectives; being able to effectively generate new ideas by collaborating with an entire team
  • Communication – focusing on the receiver; receiving feedback to ascertain whether the message sent was truly understood; only the listener can say, “I understand”
  • Collaboration – bringing together the skills, ideas, and personality styles of an entire team to achieve a shared vision; fostering collective creativity and keeping the vibe and energy in the room upbeat and alive

Wouldn’t you want to work on a team in an environment like that?

Maybe the better question is,  Wouldn’t you want to lead your team in an environment like that?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Director

Other Posts You Might Be Interested In:

The Creative Process at Pixar

The Secret of Disney World

My Top Ten Takeaways From Disney World

The Disney Job Description


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