Disney. Pixar. Two names that are synonymous with success, imagination, creativity, and quality. Growing up as a young artist I cannot deny the luster that these companies bolstered. Watching Toy Story on repeat as a child and reliving it through the eyes of my nephew, the story was relatable --a tale that transcended the face value plot (toys come to life when the owner is gone) and peaking as a coming of age tale of growing up, change, love, and hope. While Disney and Pixar may have been the dream.. the will to bring it to fruition were lacking. While being raised in a home that applauded education, my know how on to follow through on talent was not developed, along with the belief that I had any. I recognize this time and time again in my students (young and old) who have the gift, but lack the vision how of how to apply it, why, and most importantly KNOW that they can reach success IF they are willing to put it to use. Cue the Disney theme, "When you wish upon a star makes no difference who you are anything your heart desires will come to you."
Creativity Inc. elaborates many business development topics centered around the creative process but for sake of this review I will touch on the one which I find most enthralling. I am finding that many creative companies are forming a CULTURE that incubates creativity earlier on and strives to nurture it throughout development.
"The company seemed so focussed on the competition that they never developed any deep introspection about other destructive forces that were at work"
"I would devote myself to learning how to build not just a successful company, but a sustainable CREATIVE CULTURE."
In the first Chapter alone Catmull poses a question all companies will ask themselves at one time or another.
What is going wrong?
All to often the issues that are cited and put into production for rectification are just the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath is the behemoth question that some may sweep under the rug for years. All to often it doesn't get acknowledged at an early stage and like any development needs to be addressed with integrity and perseverance. The big, Who are we? What do we stand for? Without knowing this answer poses to stifle any development and as numbers melt away and quick replacements are made to stop the bleeding, not addressing the root problem can open the door to all sorts of unnoticed problems. In forming a culture that helps to address these problems and putting it in the companies highest priorities can help to ensure success throughout. Like a mission statement or alma mater that doesn't just boast flowery language, but strikes at the core of the employees hearts and minds.
"Our purpose was not merely to build a studio that made hit films, but to foster a creative culture that would continually ask questions."
Step two after defining the proper culture is hiring a set of pioneers to defend its honor. These initial hires are pivotal and set the tone for what is to come next. These folks need to not only be savvy, but work well with one another and ultimately must believe in the companies core mission.
"Ideas come from people, therefore people are more important than ideas."
"Getting the team right is the necessary precursor to getting the ideas right... Even the smartest people can form an ineffective team if the are mismatched. That means it is better to focus on how a team is performing, not only the talent of the individuals within it. A good team is made up of people who compliment each other. Getting the right people and right chemistry is MORE important than getting the right idea."
In the formation of a creative team culture and team is pivotal for success and allows for innovation and collaboration. It can often be an overlooked asset to the business development plan because it starts with some soul searching and may not give an instantaneous immediate return (which in my opinion is probably something to watch out for) Building it takes hard work and a group that is willing to put in the effort necessary for success. But once it is identified and put into play just imagine the impact on what comes next. Don't believe me. Ask Disney and Pixar, or for that matter Google and Apple. Seems like the recipe is already being cooked up.