Throughout the years, Disney has become world-renowned for its creativity and innovation. It is the companys use of its creativity strategy that has brought success to Walt Disney. Businesses all over the world are now trying to follow in his footsteps and understand how Disney manages employee creativity and innovation. Establishing an environment that fosters creativity and innovation has been a hallmark of the organization since its origin with Walt Disney and his brother Roy (Connellan ).
The Disney approach to managing for Creativity and Innovation is a program created by the company to demonstrate how it generates creativity and innovation among employees. Through the use of various tactics, Disney is able to foster a climate of creativity throughout the organization, transform employee ideas into profitable services and products, inspire employees to desire and achieve excellence, structure a process to draw forth the creativity of its employees, propel ideas from concept to implementation, and promote the advancement of ideas through a collaborative partnership with employee (Greene).
Disney follows a set of principles to effectively manage creativity and innovation. The first key includes defining the culture, which requires creating an open environment where employees feel free to speak and share ideas. If one is comfortable with his/her surroundings, he/she will naturally be creative and generate numerous ideas. On the other hand if the environment is unfriendly and formal, it will be less conductive to brainstorming and creativity. The second factor to effectively managing creativity and innovation is to align the ideas and establish boundaries. Consistency for Disneys products, services, and overall brand is accomplished by posing three key questions: Who are we? What do we do? And, where are we going? When generating ideas ensures that employees are working to achieve the same goals. This focuses creative energy by narrowing the field of ideas to only those that fit with the organizations identity and goals (Connellan). Third, it is necessary to design the creative process. This is the method of moving from creativity to innovation. It is a step-by-step process created by the organization to take an idea to the implementation stage. This provides guidance for the staff once the ideas have been generated. Finally, refine the product or service. Disney feels that ideas can always be improved on, regardless of whether the goal has been achieved. A good company will revisit ideas, making changes when necessary to meet the needs of it customers and keep up with changes in technology (Thomas).
Disney believes that a creative organization is fostered through effective leadership, efficient processes of executing innovative ideas, reward and recognition systems, the belief that every individual idea is important, and understanding, successful failures. Effective leadership involves providing an environment that welcomes creativity and innovation. A method of the execution of ideas is necessary to ensure efficiency and provide direction to the staff. Reward and recognition systems are techniques that encourage and motivate employees to work hard and participate in the betterment of Disney. Believing that each idea is important, no matter how great or small, helps to make each employee feel important and valued in the organization. Understanding successful failures refers to learning from mistakes (Stewart). According to Stewart, Disney would rather have mistakes made in the pursuit of creativity and innovation, than to just maintain the status quo.
Walt Disneys creativity strategy consists of a cycle of three viewpoints: the Dreamer, the Realist, and the Critic. The Dreamer sees the big picture, provides a vision, and believes that anything is possible. Logic does not play a role in this view because the purpose is merely to generate ideas and brainstorm. The Realist asks how the ideas will be processed and develops the steps necessary to do so. He/she builds the roles of the various people involved into a storyboard or script. Finally, the Critic thinks and acts logically, avoiding problems by looking for what is missing. He/she attempts to take the perspective of the audience by considering all possible scenarios. The cycle continues until all three positions have been satisfied and improvements become fewer and less valuable (Eliot).
According to George Aguel, Vice President/General Manager, Disney vacation development and sales, [Disneys] philosophy is simple and straightforward enough to be distilled into a formula: Quality Cast Experience + Quality Guest Experience + Quality Business Practices = Disneys