Creativity, Inc. is written in the way Pixar’s movies are constructed—with authenticity, unexpected plot twists, insightful revelations, and relevant storylines. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation, pulls you in, informs and surprises you, but never disappoints in his book for managers who want to remove barriers to success and create a sustainable creative culture within their organizations. In fact, it’s described as the first ever “all access pass” to the Pixar brain-trust.
So, what do we learn from this insider’s view? The first four chapters cover the birth of Pixar and reveal what we would never have guessed as we look at Pixar’s seemingly flawless work and the influence it has had on animation, film and popular culture—as a growing company, Pixar had some real challenges. Despite the polished harmony they produced in their movies, their internal environment didn’t feel like a storybook at all. But, the methods and paths used to navigate and overcome those challenges were key ingredients in creating the brilliantly inspiring and creative movies we have all come to admire.
The book isn’t about creating Toy Story or any of their other masterpieces—its real focus is about building and fostering a creative ecosystem that allows for the brilliance of their award-winning films. The latter chapters are a blueprint of Pixar’s success, molded and shaped by continuous introspection—and measured, yet decisive actions that inspire and protect their unique creative culture.
Through its pages, you are not just offered a perspective on Pixar’s challenges and paths to success; additionally, the practicality of the book unearths the opportunities for growth and innovation in your own managerial responsibilities, organizations, and teams.
Woven within the fabric of the book is a tapestry of ideas and delightfully tasty inspirations that can be used in building an innovative and creative culture within your own teams—such as:
- Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
- If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
- It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.
- The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
- A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.
- Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change—it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board.
Creativity Inc. is more than a must read for those aspiring to creative heights. It’s a study guide for those who are serious about reaching beyond the expected heights and creating more than just the next new thing. To infinity and beyond!