Sunday, 10 August 2014

Holiday reading....Creativity, passion and change.

It's that time of the year again where I get the chance to read the books I've amassed over the previous months. My reading choice is pretty one dimensional and for a lot of people would be considered boring.Im fascinated by business stories and the people who make business happen.

Every business has a great story. On this holiday I have an excellent line up. For some reason there has been a wave of new business biographies, most of them with a digital theme.

I usually like to run the parallels between construction and the book I'm reading. In the past this has included everything from Henry Ford to Tesco.

The fist book I've finished is Creativity, inc by Ed Catmull.This is the story of Pxar. The book tells how the company went from being a division of Lucas film to in effect being the animation studio of Disney.

It works because of the balance of skills across the three founders. One leading technology, one leading creativity and the other being Steve jobs. Steve jobs is very much a side story in this book but I am absolutely convinced that this man was a genius. 

The book is one of the best I have read in relation to how to truly develop a creative culture.Pixar lives and breathes creativity. When contrasted with what the Disney studio had become it is clear the difference culture makes to the success of an organisation.

The other major take away was the similarities in the digitising of construction. Obviously no one at Disney believed in digital animation and believed it had no future. They therefore ignored it and did not innovate. Pixar spent 20 year investing in the technology and proved how dated an analogue approache is. When Toy Story was released it was the beginning of the end for the traditional animation studios.

This is similar to those businesses who are not adopting digital technology at present in construction. The reality is analogue design and construction businesses will become artisan type organisation. This may work for some but at Space Group we want more. We want to rethink our world and make it better. To achieve this we believe digital tools and data are essential as Pixar did.

In the end Disney ended up paying nearly $8 billion dollars for Pixar with the additional embarrassment of the Pixar CEO and VP taking over the leadership of both studios. Interestingly with fresh creative leadership Disney studios has recovered with recent box office hits such  as Tangled and Frozen.

Pixar has also continued to be a success. A great read for anyone interested in creativity and real change.

After reading the Pixar story I was compelled to read the Walt Disney story. Another great visionary and someone who had a burning passion for animation. He seemed to have little interest in business and was more interested in ideas. The business and money followed. Reading between the lines his brother Roy was the steadying influence in the business and gave his brother the space to be creative and to follow his dreams.

Two great stories about creativity, vision and passion.

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