Pixar, IDEO and innovation

HUGE box of chocolates from @medicieffect Frans Johansson - great to see him today!

What does this box of chocolates have to do with the topic? They were a gift from the guy who moderated these fascinating conversations at Pixar last weekend (thanks again, Frans!). My favorite quotes, courtesy of Chris Yeh (whom I owe forever, for introducing me to Frans and for so much else):

The original idea sucks. You can’t show it to marketing or the toy people, because they won’t get it. But you can’t protect it for too long; engaging with the world forces you to make the necessary decisions. There’s a lot of pressure on us to get the process right. ‘Hey, if you guys got it right up front, this would be a lot easier.’ Getting the process right is *not* the goal. (implied: The goal is to make something great)

You want to signal to everyone else that it’s okay to be unusual. ‘That guy is really pushing it, and he didn’t get in trouble, so I guess I can too.’

We have had some films that failed. We didn’t release them. Toy Story 2 was a restart. Ratatouille, we kept one line from the original script. The first version of Up took place in a floating castle in the sky. The only thing left was the bird and the word ‘Up’. The next version, there was a house that floated up and landed on a lost Russian dirigible. The next version, the bird laid eggs that conferred long life. You can say that these were failures along the way. The things that don’t work right are just things that we tried. That’s learning. Why do we associate that with the word failure? We should associate it with the word ‘learning’.

We bet on the person, not the idea. We never start with the idea. We ask them to come up with three ideas so they aren’t stuck on a single idea.