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Leading Creativity in Business Can Start With Successful Failures

February 28, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

At Disney, Cast Members are expected to act as leaders, regardless of their role within the organization. These leaders are people who commit to the identity of the organization, inspire alternative thinking, and stimulate a collaborative culture. The result is a steady stream of ideas, which we have found critical for achieving our creative and innovative goals, and for the success of the company at large.

The process of leading creativity in business, however, is not always a perfect one. Creativity, in part because of its abstract nature, involves some level of risk, even failure. In a recent post on CiteHR entitled, Can Creative Persons Be Good Leaders?, the author recognizes that:

By its very nature, creativity is bereft of logic. We don’t expect to see any rationality in a Da Vinci or Picasso painting. Do we? Creativity is the free and unrestricted and usually, unstructured flow of ideas. Does this make a person with this at his core suited for leadership?

So how are we able to define each Cast Member as a leader, and more specifically, how can a Cast Member add to a creative and collaborative culture without the fear of negative consequence? It’s the idea of successful failures.

When an idea doesn’t immediately deliver a desired result, rather than labeling it a failure, a Cast Member is charged with learning from that experience. Adapting feedback and considering alternatives allow Cast Members to approach a problem in a way that can lead to future success, and ideas. At Disney, success comes from trying something new, regardless of the initial outcome.




Posted in Creativity & Innovation | Tagged Creativity in Business, Creativity & Innovation, Customer Experience Improvement, Corporate Culture | 1 Comments


1 Responses to Leading Creativity in Business Can Start With Successful Failures

  • Mike says:

    on March 03, 2013

    Nice article...I was recalling quotes from "Meet the Robinsons". As a Creative Consultant, I've asked clients to allow themselves to see "failure" as a VERB, not a NOUN, when self-assesing. Little thing = big difference.


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