Ed Catmull, Founder of Pixar, when giving talks, always asks audiences whether they agree that a business’s “central problem was not finding good people – it was finding good ideas”. As a business school student, what is your view?
Catmull’s stance is not in favor of this assumption. Instead, he believes that it is good people that are most important and the good ideas will follow if everyone is fostered in the right environment.
It’s hard to disagree, his company PIXAR is a highly successful company in a competitive market that doesn’t always generate hit films – however – 100% of his animation films have proven successful. He attributes that to his team. (It’s important to note that he has never bought scripts or movie ideas from the outside and instead it’s been all created by his team).
Here are his principles for managing a creative organization (which I personally believe are guidelines that all organizations could use):
1. Empower your creatives. Give people control over every stage of idea development.
2. Create a peer culture. Encourage people to help each other produce their best work.
3. Free up communication. Give people freedom to communicate with anyone in any department at any level
4. Craft a learning environment. We’re all learning – and let’s learn together.
5. Get more out of post-mortems. Structure post-mortems to stimulate discussion – top five things we’d do again and top five things we wouldn’t do again.
To read more on Catmull’s style read his piece from the Harvard Business Review “How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity.
Created by Tara Atwood, Executive Committee Member