I came across Planning for the sequel:How Pixar’s leaders want to make their creative powerhouse outlast them, an article in the June 19, 2010 Economist a few weeks back when I Was catching up on my back issues. It was perfect timing since I’m taking a class on transformation right now. I thought it was an excellent article about a system being in place to last a long time.
We all know that Pixar is still a pretty killer company, even though Disney owns it now. But the people in Pixar are getting older so the worry is always what’s going to happen to the creativity. However, the company has planned for this well. The article points out two specifics. 1) people are before projects so creative people are brought in and kept there. This is opposed to the usual Hollywood method of building a team around a project. And second, there is a system of everyone working together from the earliest, unfinished pieces of work. This is a system that was inspired by Toyota and their method of “lean production.” Feedback is constantly being taken to avoid flaws. Further efforts that are done is the post mortems once films are complete where each film has 5 things done right and 5 done wrong.
The article acknowledges the challenges of staying creative and the effects that succuess has. But it shows great admiration for the way Pixar does things – and especially looking to a car company for inspiration