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Pixar May2010
  44 CFO CONNECT  May 2010  AFTER HOURS first book The Disney Way, Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company was Fortune’s Best BusinessBook of 1999. In fact, at times, this book reads like a sequel to The Disney Way  with the authors liberally quoting and drawingleadership points from their previous book.But then, in many ways, Pixar too is a sequel to Disney. Pixar replaced Disney as the fam-ily animation movie specialist and then waspurchased by Disney for USD7.4 billion in2006.  Innovate The Pixar Way  holds a tightfocus on its subject. The result is that weare presented with a fairly detailed pictureof a ‘model innovative company’. We alsoget to see just how the elements that makeup an innovation culture interact together  to deliver great creative products, engagedemployees, and excellent financial returns.The authors’ key thesis focuses on the opportunity to turn a place of work into a ‘playground’. By doing this, as Pixar has done, they suggest that a companycan unleash the creative potential of allemployees.To the cynical corporate leader a ‘play-ground’ might sound like a place whereno one does anything useful, and no onemakes any money. However, Pixar’s cre-ative reputation and its financial resultsover the last 15 years, should quickly stillsuch criticism.Indeed, while many academics andcorporate leaders harp on the need for com-panies to increase workforce productivityand, in particular, to ‘harness discretionaryeffort,’ Pixar has already found ways to do these things and is reaping the benefits.This is a future orientated book thatshows us how to get more out of people;more creativity and higher morale; we have to allow those people to bring more of themselves to work. Not just the thinking,compliant, focused and analytical side, butalso their playful, imaginative and passion-ate sides. S ince 1995, starting with the Toy Story  ,Pixar has managed to create succes-sive blockbuster animation films –  Bug’s Life, Monster’s Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles - are some that are loved byfamily audiences worldwide. Pixar’s list ofsuccesses is endless. To be creative andinnovative once, twice, even three times isa major feat, but 10 times in a row? Howdo they keep doing it? What does Pixar doright, that other companies don’t?Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson’ssecond collaboration,  Innovate the Pixar Way – Business Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground   should offer sufficient inspiration to anyorganisation trying to foster a culture thatis more creative and innovative. Their Companies need this ‘well rounded’workforce because, as the authors warn,we are now in an age of ‘rapid innovation’.Companies need teams that can journeyfearlessly into the unknown to createproducts and services that will fulfil their customers’ dreams.The second key insight in the book is to use the metaphor ‘putting on a show’ asa way to run a business. “Every businessis show business,” say the authors. And“you only have one chance to deliver thatmagical, magnetic, enchanting experience to your customer. There are some other very importantlessons to be learnt from the ‘world’s mostcreative corporate playground’. Someguiding principles are: pursue leadershipexcellence at all levels, embrace speed,foster an inclusive culture, simplify andgo, evolve immediately, do the right thing,celebrate remarkable achievements, technology innovation is lifeblood, don’t take success for granted, earn customer and user loyalty and respect every day,sustainable long-term profitability arekey to success and aspire to change theworld. There is enough detail in the book  to guide those who are looking to bringabout significant cultural change withinan organisation. It might also serve as auseful reference for those already in theprocess and looking for additional guid-ance.  Innovate The Pixar Way  does indeedstimulate and inspire and its metaphors of the workplace as ‘playground’, and busi-ness as ‘show business’, are memorableand relevant. While skeptics may feel thatworkplace culture is different in the ‘cre-ative industries’, the authors have clearlypointed out they are not portraying Pixar as such, and that each company has todevelop its unique creativity. It is difficulthowever, to imagine any company at all that cannot, at the very least, learn a thingor two from Pixar.    The Pixar Way Innovate The Pixar Way – BusinessLessons from the World’s MostCreative Corporate Playgroundby: Bill Capodagli andLynn Jackson Publisher:   McGraw-Hill   Pages: 208 Price: Rs. 1060
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