Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Two Words That Drive Creativity & Innovation

June 18, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

Two Words That Drive Creativity & 

Innovative ideas create a ripple effect—one great idea can guide innovation in a completely different industry, changing the future of that industry forever.

Consider smart phones. Touch screen technology evolved from a great idea to lead the development of smart phones into an entirely new era. Now, every time you touch an iPhone screen, you complete a circuit, and a small jolt of electricity shoots through your skin resulting in curser movement. Today it seems old-hat, and most people dont think twice about it when they tap, swipe, swish, or drag.

Disney Senior Research Scientist, Ivan Poupyrev saw an opportunity with this technology and had a theory: What if he sent a broad spectrum of AC current through everyday objects? Would those objects be able to sense touch? The answer was yes, and he and his team developed Touché, a sensor system that takes "touch-technology" to a whole new level. Imagine the ripple effect that will come from this new idea!

Two simple words in Poupyrevs theory are key to thinking creatively, generating new ideas and driving innovation at Disney: "What if…?"

In some organizations, Ivans question might be met with:

  • "Thats a crazy idea"
  • "That will never work"
  • "Yeah, but …"

At Disney, a likely response would be, "Yes, and …" followed by another idea, or ideas, that build on the original.

"What if …," and "yes, and …," are simple, yet powerful, concepts requiring a disciplined approach. In fact, at Disney Institute we believe that creativity is not an escape from disciplined thinking; it is an escape with disciplined thinking.

To develop more disciplined thinking, we must, in many cases, re-train the right side of our brain—the side that is best at expressing emotions and creative tasks. So, while we believe that everyone is inherently creative, sometimes it helps to to intentionally nurture right-brain creativity. As Walt Disney once said, "Every child is blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it."

Who knows, you might have the next Ivan Poupyrev on your team!

Voted one of the Most Creative People in 2013 by Fast Company, Ivan Poupyrev and his research team are changing the stakes for the future of touchscreens. You can read more about it on the Disney Research site.


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Posted in Business Excellence | Tagged Ivan Poupyrev, Collaborative Culture, Team Building, Communication Skills, Cross-Functional Collaboration

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