Monday, August 01, 2011

10 Lessons in Innovation from Walt Disney

Happy August, everyone! I'm taking a brief break from blogging this week to work on new projects, so I am republishing some of my favorite blog posts from the first half of this year. I hope if you missed them the first time, you enjoy them the second time around! This post inspired by visit to the Disney Family Museum, was originally published January 3, 2011.

For those of you who are new here, this "mini-column" published on the occasional Monday, and focuses on marketing inspirations, misfires, and my real life experiences as a consumer with campaigns that worked and didn't work, and a look at their pros and cons. This post is inspired by my recent visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum, a wonderful institution that opened in San Francisco's Presidio area last fall, and is probably one of the most comprehensives chronicles of a life I have ever witnessed. While everyone (OK, pretty much everyone) loves Disneyland and Disneyworld, few really know the details surrounding Walt Disney's life, and the entrepreneurial spirit that characterized his career. Every challenge he met, he rose above. Every no, he turned into a yes. He succeeded in selling millions of Mickey Mouse watches in the height of the Depression, and reinvented himself during World War II, creating educational and military films at cost for the good of the cause. Walt had class and style, and a verve and passion for the wild west as much as for outer space.

I left the museum feeling moved and inspired, humming"It's A Small World" and wondering what kind of wonderful innovations Walt would have added to the social media world if he'd only lived long enough to tweet, update, blog, and upload to YouTube. We'll never know, of course, but we can surely use our imaginations,. In the meantime, he left a great legacy and captured nearly a century in one lifetime. So without further ado, here's a pictorial view of my Walt Disney marketing inspirations --so much of what he did is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. The images are so strong, I don't really need to write anything else, but feel free to add your own captions as you see fit. After all, creativity and innovation are what it's all about, and in the end, aren't we all big kids? Walt would have seen it that way, I'm sure.

1. Have A Vision

2. Create A Cornerstone Product
Copyright Walt Disney Company

3. Staff Up! Organize a Great Team

4. Take Risks

5. Embrace Technology

6. Be Relevant for Your Time

7. Do Something Interesting With A Book

8. Prioritize Offline Experiences

9.Conquer Synchronicity

10. Understand Packaging

So there you have Walt Disney-inspired thoughts on innovation! So, what about you? Do you admire Walt Disney, and what if any marketing lessons have you learned from him, for your own careers?

Photos: Walt Disney Family Foundation and archival

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