Creativity Inc

Thought leadership: Reflections from reading Creativity, Inc.

Who wouldn’t want to read a book about what it took to make Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo? My hesitation in reading it started with the title—if Pixar equals creativity then the rest of us struggle to even play the game! But a new business partner gave it to me, and I couldn’t resist a book with Buzz Lightyear on the cover.

It was a fun read and had some lessons that we mere mortals can put to use in our businesses.

“Be wrong as fast as you can!”

Figure out a way to have your team make mistakes as early in the process as possible—it is much less expensive to correct errors in the early stages of a project.

For BEI this means upfront planning and small-scale testing before we roll out a new service. Techies often like to jump first and sweat the details later, so BEI needs processes to control this natural tendency.

“A manager’s job is to make it safe for people to take risks.”

Mistakes are part of the deal. Not if your job is air traffic control or brain surgery, but most of us work in much less risk-averse environments.

At Pixar, not every storyline or animation is going to succeed. At BEI, we try to fix every problem the first time, but that doesn’t always happen. Our staff knows that as long as they’re putting our clients’ needs first, we’ll have their back.

“If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.”

This really brings home the need to hire and keep great people, which is not an easy task in an area with unemployment under 3%. The average IT professional stays at a job for 3.9 years.

We’ve worked hard to beat that number and currently stand at a tenure of over seven years!

What are your favorite business books of the summer? Let us know and we’ll try them and let you know what we think!