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Summary:

This week The McKinsey Quaterly asks: what does stimulating the creativity of animators have in common with developing new product ideas or technology breakthroughs? Apparently, a lot. In Innovation lessons from Pixar, McKinsey writes: Brad Bird makes his living fostering creativity. Academy Award-winning director (The Incredibles […]

This week The McKinsey Quaterly asks: what does stimulating the creativity of animators have in common with developing new product ideas or technology breakthroughs? Apparently, a lot.

In Innovation lessons from Pixar, McKinsey writes:

Brad Bird makes his living fostering creativity. Academy Award-winning director (The Incredibles and Ratatouille) talks about the importance, in his work, of pushing teams beyond their comfort zones, encouraging dissent, and building morale. He also explained the value of “black sheep”—restless contributors with unconventional ideas.

Steve Jobs hired him, says Bird, because after three successes (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2) he was worried Pixar might struggle to stay innovative. Jobs told him: “The only thing we’re afraid of is complacency—feeling like we have it all figured out,” Bird quotes his boss as saying “…We want you to come shake things up.” Bird explains to McKinsey how he did it — and why, for “imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.”

The piece is behind McKinsey’s pay wall, but we extract its 9 key lessons below.

Lesson One: Herd Your Black Sheep

The Quarterly: How did your first project at Pixar—The Incredibles—shake things up?

Brad Bird: I said, “Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door.” A lot of them were malcontents because they saw different ways of doing things, but there was little opportunity to try them, since the established way was working very, very well. We gave the black sheep a chance to prove their theories, and we changed the way a number of things are done here.

Lesson Two: Perfect is the Enemy of Innovation

The Quarterly: What sorts of things did you do differently?

Brad Bird: I had to shake the purist out of them—essentially frighten them into realizing I was ready to use quick and dirty “cheats” to get something on screen… I’d say, “Look, I don’t have to do the water through a computer simulation program… I’m perfectly content to film a splash in a swimming pool and just composite the water in.” I never did film the pool splash [but] talking this way helped everyone understand that we didn’t have to make something that would work from every angle. Not all shots are created equal. Certain shots need to be perfect, others need to be very good, and there are some that only need to be good enough to not break the spell.

Lesson Three: Look for Intensity

The Quarterly: Do angry people—malcontents, in your words—make for better innovation?

Brad Bird: Involved people make for better innovation… Involved people can be quiet, loud, or anything in-between—what they have in common is a restless, probing nature: “I want to get to the problem. There’s something I want to do.” If you had thermal glasses, you could see heat coming off them.

Lesson Four: Innovation Doesn’t happen in a Vacuum

The Quarterly: How do you build and lead a team?

Brad Bird: I got everybody in a room. This was different from what the previous guy had done; he had reviewed the work in private, generated notes, and sent them to the person…. I said, “Look, this is a young team. As individual animators, we all have different strengths and weaknesses, but if we can interconnect all our strengths, we are collectively the greatest animator on earth. So I want you guys to speak up and drop your drawers. We’re going to look at your scenes in front of everybody. Everyone will get humiliated and encouraged together…

Lesson Five: High Morale Makes Creativity Cheap

The Quarterly: It sounds like you spend a fair amount of time thinking about the morale of your teams.

Brad Bird: In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget—but never shows up in a budget—is morale. [what's true for a movie is true for a startup!] If you have low morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about 25 cents of value. If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value. Companies should pay much more attention to morale.

Lesson Six: Dont Try To “Protect your success”

The Quarterly: Engagement, morale—what else is critical for stimulating innovative thinking?

Brad Bird: The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the impossible can be achieved. … “You don’t play it safe—you do something that scares you, that’s at the edge of your capabilities, where you might fail. That’s what gets you up in the morning.”

Lesson Six: Steve Jobs Says ‘Interaction = Innovation’

The Quarterly: What does Pixar do to stimulate a creative culture?

Brad Bird: If you walk around downstairs in the animation area, you’ll see that it is unhinged. People are allowed to create whatever front to their office they want. One guy might build a front that’s like a Western town. Someone else might do something that looks like Hawaii…John [Lasseter] believes that if you have a loose, free kind of atmosphere, it helps creativity.

Then there’s our building. Steve Jobs basically designed this building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center—which initially drove us crazy—so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.

Lesson Seven: Encourage Inter-disciplinary Learning

The Quarterly: Is there anything else you’d highlight that contributes to creativity around here?

Brad Bird: One thing Pixar does [is] “PU,” or Pixar University. If you work in lighting but you want to learn how to animate, there’s a class to show you animation. There are classes in story structure, in Photoshop, even in Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense system. Pixar basically encourages people to learn outside of their areas, which makes them more complete. [and more creative].

Lesson Eight: Get Rid of Weak Links

The Quarterly: What undermines Innovation?

Brad Bird: Passive-aggressive people—people who don’t show their colors in the group but then get behind the scenes and peck away—are poisonous. I can usually spot those people fairly soon and I weed them out.

Lesson Nine: Making $$ Can’t Be Your Focus

The Quarterly: How would you compare the Disney of your early career with Pixar today?

Brad Bird: 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.”

Walt Disney’s mantra was, “I don’t make movies to make money—I make money to make movies.” That’s a good way to sum up the difference between Disney at its height and Disney when it was lost. It’s also true of Pixar and a lot of other companies. It seems counterintuitive, but for imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.

  1. Actually, the article is not behind a paywall, you just need to register to be able to read it, which is free.

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  2. [...] — Brad Bird [...]

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  3. there are two items there labeled “lesson six.”

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  4. [...] Lessons from a master on creativity and innovation. [...]

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  5. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation (tags: creativity innovation inspiration business management leadership) [...]

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  6. [...] Qui trovi il link al blog che riporta l’intervista (McKinsey richiede la registrazione per leggere il suo articolo) [...]

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  7. This is great stuff! I like the fact that Brad seeks out those on the fringes of the bellcurve, works for honest critique of work and builds morale with a firm hand. More businesses should be run like Pixar if they want to be as successful in their pursuits as Bird is in his.

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  8. Great article. This is a great interview with some great insight into the business of creativity.

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  9. [...] Fostering Innovation at Pixar Added on 04/18/2008 at 09:45AM [...]

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  10. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird of Fostering Innovation – a wonderful summation of an interview conducted with Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles) which concludes with a statement that, I believe, applies well to the mission of Outstanding Club It seems counterintuitive, but for imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus. [...]

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  11. [...] Written by Carleen Hawn at FoundRead.com [...]

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  12. ” Passive-aggressive people—people who don’t show their colors in the group but then get behind the scenes and peck away—are poisonous.”

    He just described almost all of the upper and middle managment at Disney Feature Animation in the late 90′s to the present day. Will John Lasseter and Ed Catmull be able bring the “Pixar culture” to present day Disney and have it take root and flourish there ? Let’s hope so .

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  13. I love love love that Brad Bird said that not all shots are created equal, they don’t all have to be perfect. That sort of insight is what makes him successful. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. [...] Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation [...]

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  15. [...] many of the things I’ve said. Of course, Bird says them so much better than I ever have so read his interview here. For those too lazy, here is a list of his Ten Lessons, all of which are nothing short of [...]

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  16. [...] Um dos craques da animação, Brad Bird, fala de como incentivar a criatividade. [...]

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  17. [...] mal das ganze Zitat von Brad Bird bei kottke.org geklaut: In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a [...]

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  18. GREAT POST! Perfect Friday Reading Material!!

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  19. Point nine is the truest of them all.

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  20. “If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value.”

    Too true. A job without good morale isn’t a mission, it’s just a paycheck.

    Bad morale makes the best people with the best prospects quit first. Then the death spiral sets in.

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  21. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM [...]

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  22. [...] Lessons from Pixar’s Brad Bird on fostering innovation in the workplace. In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget — [...]

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  23. [...] 10 key lessons from Pixar’s Brad bird on Innovation. Full article available here. [...]

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  24. [...] last blogged about innovation. Here’s another excellent interview of Pixar’s Brad Bird on innovation. It pretty much explains what’s needed to develop [...]

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  25. Pecky peckster Saturday, May 3, 2008

    its hard not to be passive aggressive in animation because it takes premeditation to show your colors. I assume he means that animators should work together, which I done think I’m too bad at. It’s the showing colors thing that scares me.

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  26. [...] AT&T Disables Free iPhone Wi-Fi (For Now)   Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation Great interview with Pixar’s Brad [...]

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  27. [...] Here’s a wonderful interview with Brad Bird, the director of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille who was hired by Steve Jobs to ’shake things up’ within Pixar, to keep things fresh. The whole thing is full of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” anecdotes for creative people. Here’s one of my favourites: The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the impossible can be achieved. … You don’t play it safe—you do something that scares you, that’s at the edge of your capabilities, where you might fail. That’s what gets you up in the morning. [...]

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  28. [...] interview with Brad Bird (director of Iron Giant and The Incredibles about innovation and Pixar). Link Posted in Uncategorized [...]

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  29. [...] Simpsons and The Incredibles) takes part in an interview about fostering innovation over at the Gigaom blog, loads of great stuff including [...]

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  30. [...] Brad Bird was recently interviewed, and four quotes I thought were worth sharing. [...]

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  31. [...] of teaching, of how together, you and your students can be the smartest person in the world.http://gigaom.com/2008/04/17/pixars-brad-bird-on-fostering-innovation/ addthis_url = [...]

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  32. [...] Brad Bird: “You don’t play it safe — you do something that scares you, that’s at the edge of your capabilities, where you might fail. That’s what gets you up in the morning.” [...]

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  33. [...] Brad Bird offers up some mad wisdom on a favorite topic ’round these parts: [...]

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  34. You have to register to see the article, but it doesn’t cost anything.

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  35. [...] pixar’s brad bird on innovation culture. all good to hear from the pros (tags: business creativity innovation leadership culture) Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized [...]

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  36. [...] the whole interview here. (via Daring Fireball via [...]

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  37. I loved the idea of structuring you workspace to force interaction between co workers. It is true that when your create an interation that something is passed between the two people. Even a random remark from one person could completely inspire the next. Think about how Dr. House is always solving his cases.

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  38. [...] much learning to doasidesGive us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that [...]

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  39. [...] Great article that. Go read it. [...]

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  40. [...] learn something from Jordon Cooper’s Contextless Links. Today’s lesson was a link to Brad Bird’s list of ways to foster innovation. Boy, there is some good stuff there. Because I have a five-yr. old I know a lot about Pixar [...]

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  41. [...] Rss Pixar’s Brad Bird On Achieving The Impossible Mohamed Marwen Meddah | May 4, 2008 – 9:13 pm | “The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the impossible can be achieved. … “You don’t play it safe—you do something that scares you, that’s at the edge of your capabilities, where you might fail. That’s what gets you up in the morning.”    — Brad Bird, Pixar ; ‘Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation‘ [...]

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  42. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM Now, that definitely makes more sense. Some wonderful tips from Brad Bird of Pixar (tags: brad-bird innovation creativity) [...]

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  43. [...] Read the full article: Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation [...]

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  44. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM (tags: inspiration creativity) [...]

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  45. [...] This interview has some great pointers on processes to achieving great creative success. Lesson two: Perfect is the enemy of innovation – this is where I get stuck sometimes. I like how they really take a group approach and do things as a massive team. (via Kottke) [...]

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  46. [...] per la progettazione degli spazi, che si lega alle altre lezioni chiave citate nell’articolo (evidenziazioni [...]

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  47. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM The 11 keys to maximizing creativity from the director of Ratatouille and the incredibles (tags: creativity management inspiration administration smart) [...]

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  48. [...] otras lecciones (especialmente enfocados pero no limitado) a la innovación en: Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation. ← Anterior | Inicio Comparte esta anotación [...]

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  49. [...] I would just have included a link in my daily del.icio.us posting to this article at GigaOm that somehow references part of a review that’s behind a pay wall at another site (I’m [...]

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  50. shailendra k.das Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    brad bird’s thoughts ,views and the way he works in pixar is inspirational and a brilliant example of effective management and leadership

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  51. [...] to foster innovation (according to Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille; the 10 tips are his, and the parts following the [...]

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  52. [...] about working with the malcontents. People who are frustrated are the source of the best ideas.read more | digg [...]

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  53. Awesome Interview summation…………Does Pixar have any openings :D

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  54. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM This was written by Michel T.. Posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 21:55. Filed under Augmented Reality, Innovation, People. Tagged creativity, Innovation, leadership, management, pixar, productivity. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Post a comment or leave a trackback. [...]

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  55. [...] L’article entier : Pixar’s Brad Bird on fostering innovation [...]

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  56. [...] things you do that don’t take front and center in a resume are the ones that set you apart. Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – these lessons transfer directly to software [...]

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  57. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation Links — May 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm [...]

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  58. [...] (Pixar’s Brad Bird has some broad agreement-fostering suggestions, which I found via Teaching Online Journalism via Journerdism via GigaOM.) [...]

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  59. [...] found this neat little interview/article linked from 3dTotal.com. I haven’t seen it linked in the usual animation related blogs I [...]

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  60. [...] brief, but very nice interview with Brad Bird at Gigaom last month. Among many bits of wisdom: “there are some [things] that only need to [...]

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  61. [...] Read the complete aticle from Gigaom.com here. [...]

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  62. [...] PixarのBrad Birdがイノベーションを育む方法について、McKinseyの報告をまとめた記事がありましたので紹介します。 [...]

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  63. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation: Anybody who’s been the tiniest bit interested in art eventually finds Pixar as a haven for all creatives. Brad Bird says it’s not easy to continuously churn out successful animated movies and he lists how to keep the fire of innovation burning. [...]

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  64. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation Brad Bird makes his living fostering creativity. Academy Award-winning director (The Incredibles and Ratatouille) talks about the importance, in his work, of pushing teams beyond their comfort zones, encouraging dissent, and building morale.  [...]

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  65. [...] [From Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation - GigaOM] [...]

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  66. [...] found this interview yesterday that gives you a great scoop inside Brad Bird’s mind. Enjoy! Bookmark [...]

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  67. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM (tags: inspiration interview collaboration communication creativity) [...]

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  68. Awesome ideas and I can totally relate to how a single passive-aggressive person on a team can wreak havoc on moral and send a project the wrong way – I would love to learn how to spot this type of person early on!

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  69. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation 9 lições de inovação. Lá estamos nós – os ovelhas negras [...]

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  70. [...] Algunas otras lecciones (especialmente enfocados pero no limitado) a la innovación en: Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation. [...]

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  71. [...] nice read on fostering innovation. The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the [...]

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  72. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM. nice summary of how they manage creativity and morale at pixar. [...]

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  73. [...] Just thought some of you might like to check out this interview. [...]

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  74. [...] On: Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM Bookmark [...]

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  75. [...] esto quien lo dice? El que viene un poco a ser el director de Pixar. Entrevista en inglés o [...]

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  76. [...] 9 importantes lições do diretor da Pixar, Brad Bird. [...]

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  77. [...] a recent interview Pixar’s Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles, describes the kind of environment that he [...]

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  78. [...] fin, todo esto viene debido a un resumen que leí de una entrevista a Brad Bird, director de las películas Los Increíbles y Ratatouille, en el que resume en 10 puntos qué se [...]

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  79. [...] Found Read blog. It’s a summary of an interview The McKinsey Quarterly did with Pixar director Brad Bird on the parallels between overseeing the production of an animated feature and developing new [...]

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  80. [...] pixars-brad-bird-on-fostering-innovation/ [...]

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  81. [...] [From Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation - GigaOM] [...]

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  82. [...] sent me yet another good link, to an article on GigaOm: Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation. It pretty much describes the way I [...]

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  83. Aggghh, I want to work at PIXAR sooo bad, I’m so upset Brad’s gone over to live action, I hope he’s back with pixar or any animation company soon, I think he’d do great things at Blue Sky as they seem pretty keen on “making movies to make movies”

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  84. [...] Brad Bird on Innovation Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment [...]

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  85. [...] Great article that. Go read it. [...]

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  86. Great article, but surprisingly bereft of ideas to use technology more effectively to foster innovation

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  87. [...] traducción de la entrevista realizada a Brad Bird ( director de The Incredibles y Ratatouille) por McKinsey. Muy [...]

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  88. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation Lesson Two: Perfect is the Enemy of Innovation Lesson Five: High Morale Makes Creativity Cheap Lesson Six: Steve Jobs Says ‘Interaction = Innovation’ (tags: innovation management) [...]

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  89. [...] of Bird’s insights on innovation (from McKinsey Quarterly) here. HT: Charlie [...]

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  90. [...] هو ما يوقظك في الصّباح”. – براد بيرد، بيكسار؛ “براد بيرد من بيكسار عن تشجيع الابتكار” شارك هذا المقال: هذه الروابط خاصة بمشاركة ما [...]

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  91. [...] Pixar?s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM – ?Look, I don?t have to do the water through a computer simulation program? I?m perfectly content to film a splash in a swimming pool and just composite the water in.? [Via Russell D] [...]

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  92. [...] One of my favourite articles of recent times (which inspired the title of this post) is Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation. [...]

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  93. [...] (You can buy a copy of this article here or find a free summary of the interview here.) [...]

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  94. [...] post about the event) Pixar Rules – Secrets of a Blockbuster Company Inside Pixar – A Photo Tour Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation The Pixar Blog Luxo: A Blog About Pixar How Pixar Adds a New School of Thought to [...]

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  95. Another way to describe ‘Open & Collaborative Innovation’. Specially interesting to see how it applies to all industries, including Entertainement.

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  96. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation – GigaOM some nice wisdom on team creativity. (tags: animation art culture work inspiration) [...]

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  97. Mr. Kelly Woodworth Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Brad Bird, When are you going to write the next incredible movie? You left lots of ideas on the table. I have lots of ideas too.

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  98. [...] “Lesson Five: High Morale Makes Creativity Cheap. If you have low morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about 25 cents of value. If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value. Companies should pay much more attention to morale.” [...]

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  99. [...] If you work in lighting but you want to learn how to animate, there’s a class to show you animation. There are classes in story structure, in Photoshop, even in Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense system. Pixar basically encourages people to learn outside of their areas, which makes them more complete. (Brad Bird answering gigaom) [...]

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  100. [...] Constant (L. Neiman) and inter disciplinary learning also is strongly encouraged : If you work in lighting but you want to learn how to animate, there’s a class to show you animation. There are classes in story structure, in Photoshop, even in Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense system. Pixar basically encourages people to learn outside of their areas, which makes them more complete. (Brad Bird answering gigaom) [...]

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  101. [...] Brad Bird on fostering innovation. (via [...]

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  102. [...] intriguing bit of Hollywood what-might-have-been: That live-action version of “Curious George” that Brad Bird was originally supposed to direct back in 1999. Several of the character maquettes shown in the [...]

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  103. [...] The key thing that go me is this. She never planned or had dreams of becoming a writer. She didn’t write the story to be sold or even to show it off to friends. She wrote it because she loved the process and loved seeing where the story would go. It reminded me of something an art teacher once mentioned. He said he paints for himself. He doesn’t paint to please other people. It also goes along with that Brad Bird of Pixar said in an interview here: http://gigaom.com/2008/04/17/pixars-brad-bird-on-fostering-innovation/ [...]

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  104. [...] Le texte plus détaillé ici [...]

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  105. [...] Stephen Silver for his great design work, Brad Bird for his shear joy of the form that comes through all of his projects, and Robert Rodriguez for just [...]

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  106. [...] -Tarzan- et Glen Keane), rien que ça, Brad Bird avait su donner un souffle nouveau à Pixar. Dans une interview parue sur le net, et que je vous invite à lire en entier (et en anglais), 10 points essentiels sur [...]

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  107. Forward thinking, critical, big-picture. i feel like a ‘Black Sheep’ sometimes. i am most comfortable around my brothers, when i visit home. Great inspiration.
    Thank You,
    Satman

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  108. [...] Bird’s talk on innovation: The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the impossible can be [...]

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  109. [...] following I learned from this very interesting interview with Brad Bird from [...]

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  110. [...] Brad Bird speaks on Fostering Innovation and stimulating creativity. I said, “Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door.” [...]

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  111. [with typo corrections.. ha] Could we get these guys to revamp health care instead of congress? I mean it, could we? At the very least get Lasseter, Jobs and Bird to have a brainstorming session with them or teach them how to have one.

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  112. [...] Brad Bird speaks on Fostering Innovation and stimulating creativity. I said, “Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door.” [...]

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  113. Insightful and inspiring! Thanks!

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  114. Dear Brad,
    Thanyou for sharing your great ideas and insights. Wish you all
    the best in your new Live Action film.

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  115. [...] Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation [GIGAOM] Steve Jobs hired him, says Bird, because after three successes (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2) he was worried Pixar might struggle to stay innovative. Jobs told him: “The only thing we’re afraid of is complacency—feeling like we have it all figured out,” Bird quotes his boss as saying “… We want you to come shake things up.” Bird explains to McKinsey how he did it — and why, for “imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.” [...]

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  116. [...] This look at how Pixar’s Brad Bird fosters innovation [gigaom.com] follows nicely from the post I made a bit back about his approach to creativity [muchlessthanthree.com]. It’s very interesting from the viewpoint of someone who feels a bit like that black sheep sometimes. [...]

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  117. [...] morale, outside-the-box thinking) Part of what inspired me to explore this new project was this article about Brad Bird at Pixar. I loved the “lessons,” including (note, these are renumbered [...]

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  118. I couldn’t agree more. Particularly what you said about morale. That should be upper management’s greatest concern. Artists today seem disposable and easily replaceable to management and we artists know that. It definitely affects how we work. And there are many of us who have good ideas we’d like to share, if we thought we’d be treated with respect.

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  119. [...] Brad Bird, whom Pixar hired after seeing his animated version of The Iron Giant, recently discussed in an interview the innovation process at Pixar. In this interview he stresses that for imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money cannot be the focus. He then goes on to discuss 9 key lessons which give great insight into the companies culture and the approaches they use to ensure they remain at the top of their game. Those lessons on fostering innovation are an absolute must read and can be found here. [...]

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  120. [...] L’apprentissage permanent (L. Neiman) et inter-disciplinaire est également fortement encouragé: Si vous travaillez dans l’éclairage mais que vous voulez apprendre à animer, il ya une classe pour vous montrer animation. Il ya des classes dans la structure du récit, dans Photoshop, même dans le Krav Maga, l’auto-système de défense israéliennes. Pixar encourage vivement les gens à apprendre en dehors de leurs domaines de compétence, ce qui les rend plus complet. (Brad Bird à gigaom) [...]

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  121. Innovate the Pixar Way: Business Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground is the FIRST BOOK ON PIXAR’S CREATIVE CULTURE!

    Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Helping People Win at Work says, “the book details how this playful organization provides a working environment that encourages imagination,inventiveness, and joyful collaboration. If you dream of creating a more positive climate in your company,this book might just make your dreams come true.”

    Pixar is synonymous with creativity, magical stories, and unforgettable characters, from Buzz Lightyear and Remy the Rat to Mike Wazowski, Nemo, and Wall-E. Behind the fun, however, is a set of deeply routed core values that champion excellence, tap innovation, and encourage collaboration. These are the starting points for pushing your own team or organization to unleash Pixar-style creativity and brilliance.

    In Pixar’s own words, their “objective is to combine proprietary technology and world-class creative talent to develop computer-animated feature films with memorable characters and heartwarming stories that appeal to audiences of all ages.” The Academy Award-winning animation studio, founded by President Ed Catmull and computer graphics technology pioneer Alvy Ray Smith, has grown incrementally since the release of its landmark feature film, Toy Story. Its films dominate global box offices, and entertain young and old alike with a signature brand of humor, technological advances, and artistry. Modeled upon Walt Disney’s legendary studio of the 1930s, Pixar fittingly became part of the Walt Disney Company in 2006.

    INNOVATE THE PIXAR WAY: Business Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground (McGraw-Hill Professional; December, 2009; HC, $21.95), written by the authors of The Disney Way, deconstructs the elements of Pixar’s success. How does the company repeatedly catch lightning in a bottle? It begins with the story. While Pixar’s story is about bringing the highest levels of talent to the animation process and creating feature films to stand the test of time, your company, too, has a unique narrative. Visualizing it, shaping it, and connecting to it, are the primary keys to success. Whether you’re selling shoelaces, running a startup, or a major animation studio, the story is the key.

    While the company places a premium on quality, it also deliberately encourages a playground atmosphere. The energy, joy, and humor of each Pixar film can also be found at the company’s headquarters in Emeryville, CA. One of the company’s magic bullets is Pixar University (PU), which offers over 100 classes in all facets of animation, from creative writing, sculpture, sketching, improv, and lighting, to motion picture capture. PU classes are woven into the workday; whether a marketer, animator, accountant, janitor, or technical director, all are encouraged to participate for up to four hours a week. Pixar continually seeks to unearth hidden talents within the organization, and is one of the biggest secrets to their success. Creating a tight-knit, collaborative, thoughtful, and playful atmosphere, Pixar’s dedicated team turns the Hollywood – and by extension, corporate – model on its head.

    Pixar is a prime example of a business smartly growing innovative talent and ideas across all levels of employees and backgrounds. Behind the company’s success is the story of its unique approach to excellence and cultivating creativity, bred from the top down. INNOVATE THE PIXAR WAY helps readers discover their own roadmaps for unleashing a creative organization.

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  122. [...] brings us back to how Brad Bird protects innovation in Pixar by getting rid of passive-agressive [...]

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  123. How adorable that it’s called “PU University.” Pee-yew!

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  124. [...] favorite is number 8. As Brad Bird (Pixar) recommends, our job is to manage these people so that they turn their disatisfaction into [...]

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  125. ankit sontakke Monday, January 24, 2011

    hi i realy like this article.
    as an animator its realy helpfull for me
    thanks

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  126. #Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, leverage teams, avoid perfection, and be good enough not to break the spell http://t.co/jxAIZD56

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  127. Take everything Brad Bird says in this interview, and apply it to your life, and your art. Very smart stuff. http://t.co/rYghKGmj

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  128. @kyletwebster really? i’d love to work for him! he’d definitely push one to their limits. i keep this bookmarked: http://t.co/GMvyXlvx

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