Saturday, May 31, 2008

Brad Bird on Innovation

This is a must-read article clipped out of the McKinsey Quarterly, an interview with Brad Bird on "fostering innovation" in the workplace. One feels the pain of recognition in every one of Mr. Bird's points:

When I entered Disney, it was like a classic Cadillac Phaeton that had been left out in the rain… The company’s thought process was not, “We have all this amazing machinery—how do we use it to make exciting things? We could go to Mars in this rocket ship!” It was, “We don’t understand Walt Disney at all. We don’t understand what he did. Let’s not screw it up. Let’s just preserve this rocket ship; going somewhere new in it might damage it.”

"Innovation" seems to be the way in which capitalism can understand and harness creativity, which makes it a
buzzword with a future.

You can tell the idea of innovation has arrived because The New Yorker this year added a themed issue around it, right between the fashion issue and the fiction issue...


aditya said...

i am not really a great supporter of capitalism but i agree that innovation as we know it does actually represent it.

davejohnsonart said...

John and I work together at the same company, and he passed me this article a while ago. It's quickly made the rounds with a select few who share similar observations. Many venerable companies try to use
"innovation" as a point of difference from their competition, but in the long run it's just a buzz word. True innovation is a revolution; an assessment of what works and what does not. To innovate, you have to sincerely break from past formulas and create something truly unique that gets you someplace you've never been before.