Management

Manage Innovation the Pixar Way

The real creativity leader during the late 1990s and early 2000s was Pixar.

August 18, 2010
KEYWORDS disney , leadership , pixar
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During the late 1990s, a new company emerged that redefined innovation: Pixar Animation Studios.

Author and consultant Bill Capodagli took notice and researched how the company provides a working environment that encourages imagination, inventiveness, and collaboration.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineThe result was “Innovate the Pixar Way: Business Lessons From the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground.”

Capodagli tells Credit Union Magazine how Pixar’s approach to innovation may apply to credit unions.

CU Mag: What inspired you to study Pixar and its approach to managing employees?

Capodagli: Pixar came on our radar screen around 1995 when we were researching our book, “The Disney Way."

We watched this rather obscure boutique studio that first appeared to be just a technical subcontractor to The Walt Disney Co. but, in the late '90s and early 2000s seemed to virtually replace Disney Animation. It was ultimately purchased by Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion.

As we looked at this company, we found that many of its principles were more like the original principles of Walt Disney than [Disney's] had become.

CU Mag: So you think Disney lost its way?

Capodagli: Michael Eisner, Disney CEO, did a lot of creative things for the first half of his tenure. But during the second half of his tenure he lost his way, looking at new creative outlets and long-term vision.

Walt Disney created an organization based on mutual respect and trust. These concepts were lost during the late '90s, and Disney started making formulaic movies: Cinderella II, The Lion King II, The Lion King 1½. What was that all about?

As we started looking at where real creativity was coming from during the late ‘90s and early 2000s, it was coming from Pixar.

Next: Pixar's approach to managing employees

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