The McKinsey Quarterly has an interesting interview with Pixar’s Brad Bird about innovation. I was struck by this passage, among others:
The Quarterly: If you ask most companies how they innovate, they’ll say, “Know your customer. Find out what your customer really wants you to do.” It sounds like you think about innovation differently.
Brad Bird: Our goal is different because if you say you’re making a movie for “them,” that automatically puts you on an unsteady footing. The implication is, you’re making it for a group that you are not a member of—and there is something very insincere in that. If you’re dealing with a storytelling medium, which is a mechanized means of producing and presenting a dream that you’re inviting people to share, you’d better believe your dream or else it’s going to come off as patronizing.
So my goal is to make a movie I want to see. If I do it sincerely enough and well enough—if I’m hard on myself and not completely off base, not completely different from the rest of humanity—other people will also get engaged and find the film entertaining.