Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Pixar Principles

Yesterday, I posed the question that Ed Catmull discusses in the Harvard Business Review article titled: How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity. The question is essentially whether it's tougher to find good people or good ideas. Catmull understands that good people is where good ideas come from and that fostering the type of environment which nurtures and inspires creativity is what separates Pixar from so many other organizations.

As is so often the case, the genius of Pixar's operating principles lay in their simplicity:
  1. Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with everyone.
  2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas.
  3. We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community.
My friends at PROpenMic will be delighted with number 3, but all the principles are applicable to all types of organizations. The lessons from Pixar are not only found in the three principles outlined here and explained further in the article, but also in the fundamental value of looking outside one's particular profession or industry sector for lessons that can make us better.


  1. I think that is absolutely true. With good people there would be no good ideas. Also, without good people others would not be inspired to think of things. People, most of the time, don't come up with idea from just their own experiences, but the experiences they witness and learn from others.

  2. I often look at other industries to see if there are good ideas that can be adapted. The IT industry for example has been driving innovation for years ... some of the approaches that have been successful there are only now being adopted elsewhere.



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