Thursday, June 4, 2009

Organizational Creativity Disney Style

Today I was looking for something in my file cabinet.  Unfortunately, I did not find it but I did stumble across something of interest.  

A couple years back I went to a seminar and took a Disney Institute Session.  Impressed by their culture and creative way of thinking I kept the handouts and reviewed them once again. I'm really glad I read through the materials that served as a reminder for success.  I thought it would be fun to pass along some of what I learned.

Disney's Definition of organizational creativity is the collective expression, analysis, and implementation of ideas. They believe everyone is creative, that creativity brings a competitive advantage and you can organize to maximize creativity.

Disney organizes to maximize creativity in three ways:
  1. Organizational Identity (analysis):  Having a clear Organizational Identity helps focus creative energy which conserves resources.  Organizations should focus on customer (for whom), vision (to be), mission (to do) and essence (to feel)
  2. Collaborative Culture (expression): Building genuine relationships among others so that ideas can be expressed honestly and without fear.  The goal of the culture is to produce the most and best ideas. This can be achieved by focusing on the passion for the purpose, shared values, communication, trust and a variety of perspectives.  One tip that stood out in my mind was - When building on an idea from another idea use "yes AND" stay away from "yes BUT".
  3. Structural Systems (implementation): The purpose of structural systems is to ensure that ideas are managed in a way that ultimately leads to smooth implementation and measurable results.  To ensure effective decision making around the resources that contribute to creativity organizations should set parameters, use expertise, have accountability and create process.  To stay relevant process should be revisited once a year.
In order to grow and improve Disney uses the Continuous Improvement Cycle and gets everyone involved in making improvements.  To achieve success they do the following:
  • Listen and Learn
  • Measure
  • Act
  • Re-Measure
  • Recognize and Celebrate
  • Share (Best Practices)
While I may currently be a sole proprietor, these practices are still useful to me today.  In order to achieve great things I need to collaborate with my clients in all endeavors. 

From the wise words of Walt Disney, "The whole thing here is the organization. Whatever we accomplish belongs to our entire group, a tribute to our combined effort."

The Disney Institute also offers web programs. Coming soon: Disney's Approach to Brand Loyalty.  Should be an excellent webcast! 

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