In his article, Ed Catmull discusses essential principles of enhancing creativity in Pixar – focusing on people, ensuring continuous innovation, discussing work processes at the level of department directors, and daily discussions with all participants (Catmull, 2008). Pixar traditionally publishes the results of technology research of its employees. Many scholars are discussing mechanisms for enhancing creativity that is used in Pixar and other similar enterprises.
Coulson-Thomas (2017) emphasizes that openness, honesty, collaboration, and learning foster innovation and creativity in organizations. Kremer et al. (2019) note that leaders do not always encourage employee behavior that enhances creativity; therefore, organizations should implement practical group norms, take care of team planning, engage outsiders in interactions, demonstrate leadership and organizational support, and manage performance. Gowanlock (2020) highlights Pixar’s pioneering approach that the company uses the principles of simulating unpredictability for innovation in animation and organizational resilience and dynamics.
Organizational context is just as important as creativity. Pixar does this by building creative teams whose members respect each other and solve problems together; it is also essential that these commands work in a safe space (Catmull, 2008). Schmitt and Almeida (2020) emphasize that “creating a culture of continuous innovation enables companies to increase their competitiveness” (p. 22). Schmitt and Almeida (2020) note that employees’ involvement in innovation processes, backing new ideas from top-down and bottom-up perspectives, finding time for innovation development, and accepting failures lead to better efficiency.
Creative management is Pixar’s most significant strength; Bérubé and Demers (2019) note that it is necessary to manage creative work from the perspective of the creator, manager, technician, and universal for an optimal organizational context. Jang (2017) recognizes the importance of multicultural teams as they have access to knowledge from different cultures and can use it to collaborate creatively. Finally, Astola et al. (2021) argue that creativity must be defined as a virtue associated with innovation and achieved in group processes to motivate employees.
Astola, M., Bombaerts, G., Spahn, A. and Royakkers, L. (2021) ‘Can creativity be a collective virtue? Insights for the Ethics of Innovation,’ Journal of Business Ethics, pp. 1-12.
Bérubé, J. and Demers, C. (2019) ‘Creative organizations: when management fosters creative work,’ Creative Industries Journal, 12(3), pp. 314-340.
Catmull, E. (2008) ‘How Pixar fosters collective creativity.’ HBR. Web.
Coulson-Thomas, C. (2017) ‘Stimulating creativity, enabling innovation and supporting entrepreneurship,’ Management Services, 2017(Summer), pp. 26-29.
Gowanlock, J. (2020) ‘Animating management: Nonlinear simulation and management theory at Pixar,’ animation, 15(1), pp. 61-76.
Jang, S. (2017) ‘Cultural brokerage and creative performance in multicultural teams,’ Organization Science, 28(6), pp. 993-1009.
Kremer, H., Villamor, I. and Aguinis, H. (2019) ‘Innovation leadership: Best-practice recommendations for promoting employee creativity, voice, and knowledge sharing,’ Business Horizons, 62(1), pp. 65-74.
Schmitt, R. and Almeida, F. (2020) ‘Building a culture of continuous innovation: How Pixar and Google address this challenge?’ Journal of Management, Economics, and Industrial Organizations, 4(1), pp. 22-39.