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The success secret behind Wall-E

Zafar Anjum | Sept. 8, 2008
Andrew Stantons <i>Wall.E</i> will always remain a special film for me.

But I guess it was not just the exposure. My daughters interest in Wall.E has also something to do with the film itself.

In the theatre, when I was watching the movie, I was also applauding the creative genius of the Pixar people who were behind this movie. How did they fashion a narrative, a robots-led sci fi futuristic story with minimal dialogue and human beings as extras, that could hold the interest of people raging from 2.5 years to 55 years? How did they weave this magic? What was it with Pixar that they could make one after another successful and memorable films while other studios gave duds after duds at the box office?

And I got my answer when I read an article by Ed Catmull of Pixar, the studioss President, in Septembers Harvard Business Review. According to Catmull, in a nutshell, Pixar operates on three basic principles: (a) everyone, irrespective of the hierarchy or departments, must have the freedom to communicate with anyone; (b) it must be safe for everyone to offer ideas; (c) we must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community.

What Catmull has advised, in the light of the creative processes and management practices at Pixar, has the potential to make firms in the creative business achieve remarkable results. But how many have the courage to implement such peer-driven processes for solving problems.

Thats why Pixar is unique.

Meanwhile, the impact of Wall.E has been so great on my daughter that she has been remembering the robot from the movie and demanding to take her to the theatre again.

So, Ed Catmull, Andrew Stanton and all those creative geniuses at Pixar, here is a personal thank you from a family in Singapore!

Zafar Anjum is the online editor of the MIS Asia portal.


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