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Innovate the Pixar Way: Business Lessons from the World's Most Creative Corporate Playground [Hardcover]

Bill Capodagli , Lynn Jackson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jan 2010

Praise for Innovate the Pixar Way:

"This tremendous book brings the magic and genius ofPixar to the page and lets us in on the secrets and intuitive synergy of such a successful company." -- Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

"Pixar is one of the most creative organizations in the world. Read Innovate the Pixar Way and explore the true beauty in how they sustain the environment. Who knows, maybe a little Pixar dust will fall on you!" -- John Christensen, coauthor of Fish! andplayground director AKA: CEO, ChartHouse Learning

"Creativity makes it possible for our dreams to become real--my life is my proof. This book puts all those possibilities in the hands of the reader . . . for those who will be creating the future." -- Carol Lawrence, singer, dancer, actress, and national spokesperson for theOpening Minds Through the Arts student achievement program

"With great and useful tips from beginning to end, this book will inspire workplaces to have more fun AND more success. I guarantee it!" -- George Zimmer, founder and CEO, Men's Wearhouse

"This insightful work is a great primer for leaders who are looking to unleash creative potential and instill a sense of joy and playfulness in their organizations." -- Brian Walker, president and CEO, Herman Miller, Inc.

Animate your team and unleash their creative power . . .The Pixar Way

"Creativity doesn't follow titles; it just comes from where it comes from." -- Ed Catmull, Pixar cofounder, Pixar and Disney Animation Studios president

In movies from Toy Story to The Incredibles to WALL-E to Up, Pixar Studios continues to set new standards for commercial and critical achievement. Pixar is a place where collaboration sets the tone for “"artists and geeks"to work side by side in a spirit of mutual respect and trust. The key lies not just in who--writers, animators, directors, tech wizards, and others--makes Pixar outstanding, but in how Pixar creates the ultimate havenwhere creativity overflows.

In this eye-opening book, Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson, authors of The Disney Way, reveal how Pixar has reawakened the innovative spirit of Walt Disney. They explore how president Ed Catmull and chief creative officer John Lasseter and the rest of Pixar’s braintrust have built an organization on the simple philosophy that quality is the best businessplan. It makes no difference if you are making a movie that takes four years or serving a customer that takes four minutes, you have only one chance to deliver that magical, magnetic, enchanting experience for your customer.

In this concise, accessible book, Capodagli and Jackson offer examples of how it's done--and explain what it takes to get your people to achieve greatness by unleashing theirpower to

  • Dream like a child . . . Have a vision, and be able to clearly communicate your objectives and goals.
  • Believe in your playmates . . . Hire creative people, trust in their skills and judgment, and inspire them to trust their colleagues.
  • Dare to jump in the water and make waves . . . Challenge the status quo. Encourage risktaking, but permit your people to fail, get back up, and try again.
  • Unleash your childlike potential . . . Focus on the details; make quality work your business's highest priority.

Learn not only from Pixar but also from how other leading organizations--Google, Griffin Hospital, Men's Wearhouse, OMA (Opening Minds Through the Arts) student achievement program, Nike, Target, and the Internet shoe giant Zappos--unshackle their people's imaginations and do outrageously great things. And by motivating your team toInnovate the Pixar Way you, too, can discover the magic that will help your business stay ahead of the competition, attract the best talent, and fatten the bottom line.

In 1993, Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson cofounded Capodagli Jackson Consulting in West Olive, Michigan. They have helped scores of organizations revamp their customer service experiences and develop innovative products, andthey also have developed performance strategies to impact organizational change using Walt Disney's "Dream, Believe, Dare, Do" success credo. Bill Capodagli is the most requested keynote speaker on the creative cultures of both Disney and Pixar.

Visit the authors at capojac.com


Frequently Bought Together

Innovate the Pixar Way:  Business Lessons from the World's Most Creative Corporate Playground + The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company (Vintage) + Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Price For All Three: £34.07

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; 1 edition (1 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071638938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071638937
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 16.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Bill Capodagli coauthored The DisneyWay and cofounded Capodagli Jackson Consulting in 1993.
Lynn Jackson helps Fortune 500 andentrepreneurial companies reshape their cultures and principlesusing the methods outlined in The Disney Way, which shecoauthored.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Despite a blue-sky tone, this book offers a fascinating window into the singular culture of Pixar, the world's foremost animation studio. Management consultants Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson balance their accounts of technological advances, cutthroat corporate politics and astonishing profits with descriptions of Pixar's arcane approach to strategy and human resources. The tale of how Pixar's leaders exercise their determination to run the shop their own way - while standing up to interference from Disney, their corporate parent - injects narrative drama into this straightforward presentation of Pixar's in-house philosophy. Its leaders' willingness to accept failure, and their faith in their own judgment about products and people, prove inspiring. The lessons offered at the end of each chapter err toward the simplistic and don't usually demonstrate how conventional businesses might apply Pixar's methods. Instead, the authors mostly leave extrapolation of Pixar's business teachings to the reader. A lengthy index citing other companies that thrive under a "fun" matrix helps make up for that shortcoming. getAbstract finds that those examples, plus revealing quotes from Pixar executives, will enable readers to emulate Pixar's strategy as they enjoy this inside-the-theatre corporate profile.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book 30 April 2010
By edd
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought it for an essay I had to make for university. Good book and fast delivery
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Quality is the best business plan." John Lasseter 20 Sep 2010
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Those who are interested in this book probably include those whose primary objective is to understand how to (a) establish an innovative culture within their workplace, (b) think more innovatively, and/or (c) understand the how the studio could produce classic animated films such as Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999), Finding Nemo (2003), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010). I am among those who read this book for all three reasons and congratulate Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson on the wealth of information and insights that they provide.

Others have their reasons for admiring the book. Here are three of mine. First, Capodaglia and Jackson skillfully "set the stage" by creating a context for the establishment of Pixar in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm before it was acquired by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 1986. The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006. From the beginning, co-founders Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith and their associates have shared the same credo: "dream like a child." They are also perfectionists in every aspect of film production who believe that "art is a team sport." These are recurrent themes throughout the book because they are core values throughout the entire Pixar organization.

I also appreciate the attention that Capodaglia and Jackson devote to lessons that can be learned as well as policies and procedures that can be adopted and then implemented by leaders of almost any organization (regardless of its size or nature) in which there is a need for more and more effective innovation. For example, developing a mindset that places greatest emphasis on bold and compelling visions, collaborative teamwork based on mutual trust and respect, being willing to take risks that defy what Jim O'Toole characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny if custom," and being determined to see the world, again, as a child. Here's the Pixar mindset:

Dream like a child.
Believe in your playmates.
Dare to jump in the water and make waves.
Do unleash your childlike potential.

Robert Fulghum could not have expressed it better. Yes, those at Pixar have created film art of the highest quality but it should also be noted that each of their eleven films (thus far) has also achieved exceptional commercial as well as critical success that includes but is by no means limited to ticket sales.

Finally, I am grateful for the provision of mini-profiles in Appendix X of "other corporate playgrounds" that include Google, Griffin Hospital (Derby, CT), Men's Wearhouse, Nike, Target, and Zappos. However different these organizations are in most other respects, all of them share with Pixar core values such as those Nike CEO Mark Parker cites in his company's Corporate Responsibility Report. "And for all the athletic and cultural and financial successes of the company, I believe our work in sustainable business and innovation has equal potential to shape our legacy. For that to happen, we have to focus on the lessons we've learned:

o Transparency is an asset, not a risk.
o Collaboration enables systemic change.
o Every challenge and risk is an opportunity.
o Design allows you to prototype the future, rather than retrofit the past.
o To make real change, you have to be a catalyst."

It is worth noting that those involved in all of these "other corporate playgrounds" continue to outperform their competition in terms of sales, profits, and cap value. It is also worth noting that all seven Pixar films released since the inauguration of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001 have been nominated for that award, beginning with Monsters, Inc. Five of the seven have won the award: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up. Up is also the first Pixar film and the second animated film in history (the other is Beauty and the Beast) to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

To those who share my high regard Capodaglia and Jackson's book, I also recommend two others: David A, Pryce's The Pixar Touch and Karen Paik's To Infinity and Beyond. Also, visit the Pixar website that provides a wealth of information, including "How We Do It" ([...]
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! 31 Dec 2009
By Patrick Brougham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just finished reading Innovate the Pixar Way, and I'm going to do something I rarely do. I'm going to write a review.

I read a lot of business books. I'll bet you do, too, if you're thinking of buying this one. Here's why I highly recommend this book.

1. It's loaded with thought-provoking ideas. For example, the chapter titled Forty-One Neat Things to Unleash Your Imagination isn't 10 neat things followed by 31 not so neat things. It's 41 neat things!
2. It's engaging and informative all the way through. I hate it when all the good stuff is in the first third of a book followed by two-thirds of fluff.
3. The Pixar story can stand on its own as a fascinating read. Even if you're not looking for ways to energize your business, you'll enjoy this book.
4. Don't skip the appendices. They are filled with fun, surprising facts.

Read this book. You'll be glad you did!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sustainable Innovation at Pixar: Childlike but not Childish 8 Feb 2010
By Keith E. Webb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Since 1995 with the release of Toy Story, Pixar has created blockbuster animated films that the whole family loves. How do they KEEP doing it? To be creative and innovative once, twice, even three times is a major feat, but 10 in a row! Pixar replaced Disney as the family animation movie specialist and then was purchased by Disney for $7.4 billion in 2006.

The authors of The Disney Way researched and interviewed to find answers to Pixar's sustainable culture of innovation. The results are not surprising:
* Dream like a child
* Believe in your playmates
* Dare to jump in the water and make waves
* Do unleash your childlike potential

The book is loaded with lists of ideas based on Pixar's culture. For example, 10 ideas to encourage risk taking, 7 ways to create an inspirational environment, 41 ways to improve innovation, and 16 ways to get started.

At times, the book reads like a sequel to The Disney Way with the authors liberally quoting and drawing leadership points from their previous book. In many ways, Pixar is a sequel to Disney. The founders of Pixar has Walt Disney and Disney animation as their models. And Pixar recaptured what many saw was lacking in Disney's productions through the 1980s and 1990s.

As a short and inspiring book, The Pixar Way, left me with a number of ideas and a child-like zeal to innovate through fun.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical analysis of Pixar's "fun is work" corporate philosophy 26 July 2010
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Despite a blue-sky tone, this book offers a fascinating window into the singular culture of Pixar, the world's foremost animation studio. Management consultants Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson balance their accounts of technological advances, cutthroat corporate politics and astonishing profits with descriptions of Pixar's arcane approach to strategy and human resources. The tale of how Pixar's leaders exercise their determination to run the shop their own way - while standing up to interference from Disney, their corporate parent - injects narrative drama into this straightforward presentation of Pixar's in-house philosophy. Its leaders' willingness to accept failure, and their faith in their own judgment about products and people, prove inspiring. The lessons offered at the end of each chapter err toward the simplistic and don't usually demonstrate how conventional businesses might apply Pixar's methods. Instead, the authors mostly leave extrapolation of Pixar's business teachings to the reader. A lengthy index citing other companies that thrive under a "fun" matrix helps make up for that shortcoming. getAbstract finds that those examples, plus revealing quotes from Pixar executives, will enable readers to emulate Pixar's strategy as they enjoy this inside-the-theatre corporate profile.
2.0 out of 5 stars Strong Knowledge and Research Doesn't Make Up for Subpar Writing 26 July 2014
By nathan renner-johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Short Version: This well-researched book will an easy-to-read introduction to creativity management and Pixar's corporate strategy, but those already familiar with either topic will likely find this book disjointed, not well written, and lacking it depth and detail.

Long Version: I find it ironic that a book focused on Pixar is lack the level of quality and story for which Pixar itself is so famous. The authors of this book did a tremendous job researching Pixar, corporate stories, interviews from chief executives, even examples outside of the company that they felt were relevant. However, that's where this book's excellence stopped. It was very clear to me that the writers had a lot of really excellent anecdotes, stories, and advice to share. Yet the subpar quality of the writing left me feeling like they had told me a joke where I either missed the punchline, they missed the crucial details, or, more often than not, both.

My first problem with this book is merely technical - the margins seem huge. It's a nitpicky complaint for sure, but I felt like the ratio of white space to text was off. Instead of feeling like I was reading something packed full of helpful information, I felt like I was racing through a children's novel with large text and few words on the page. It made me wonder "did they make the margins so big so the book felt bigger?"

I also felt like the information was organized in a confusing manner. For example, in a chapter entitled "Collaborating in the Sandbox" the authors explored the necessity of quality training and the importance of fostering a collaborative spirit in the workplace. While both of these ideas (training and collaboration) are interrelated, the authors failed to provide a compelling reason that the two topics were so closely related that they belonged in the same chapter. While I believe there was an attempt to connect the two topics, I was never made to understand what the connection is. As such, they switched between the two topics so freely that the chapter felt disjointed and choppy. Other chapters and topics were handled as loosely and the entire read was jolty as a old, unmaintained roller coaster. The book lacking the structure and flow to keep me engaged and to move me from topic to topic seamlessly.

My biggest problem with the book was the lack of detail. They touched on many stories from Pixar's history but failed to tell many of the stories in full. This left the lessons they were trying to teach from these stories feeling empty and meaningless. It also left me wanting more. They teased you with the just the opening, or just the closing, of the story without actually telling you what happened. Their non-pixar examples were handled just as indelicately. They talk a lot about an education program (Opening MInds through the Arts) but I'm still not sure what the program is, how the program achieves what it does, how it's related to Pixar, and how it's relevant to innovation. Again, the authors touch on answers to all of the questions, but fail to explore them in enough detail for the reader to understand.

Finally I felt that the perspective of the book was a little weird. The authors would sometimes throw in their own, anecdotal stories to highlight or introduce a point, and while I do not think they ever use the singular first person (I), they do sometimes use (we). What makes this even more strange is that they will sometimes refer to one another in the third person (Bill does blah blah blah) etc. It a book that is largely written without any acknowledgement of the authors, I found these moments highly jarring. I wish they had either written themselves in more or taken themselves out completely.

I felt like the best chapter in this book was their list of 41 of ideas to spur innovation. It was clear from this chapter that authors had the knowledge and experience in helping businesses find their creativity. This chapter really felt like the authors' niche. Even though some of the ideas seemed sophomoric, they were all explained in great detail and could be used as a jumping board for managers to flex their own creative muscles in developing innovative tools that work within their organizations.

In conclusion, I felt like I was on a bad internet connection with some smart, experienced individuals who I really wanted to learn from, but simply couldn't because the connection kept breaking up. I would get bits and pieces of what seemed like fascinating stories or tremendous insight, but not enough to really understand what they were trying to say. It left me wanting to scream "Can we just go get coffee? I want to hear what you have to say, but I can't do it this way."
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