Pixar Is An Example of Lean and Innovation Working Together


Posted by: meikah | 15 November 2009 | 9:24 pm

In some companies, they view Lean or even Six Sigma as hindering innovation. But for others they attest to the fact that lean and innovation can co-exist in one organization.

Pixar is an example of this organization. An article on Knowldge@Wharton shares how Pixar does it.

Hollywood animation company Pixar, the maker of blockbuster movies including the “Toy Story” series and “Finding Nemo,” is a good example of how innovation and lean practices can enhance outcomes. Pixar has combined lean and innovation to good effect, according to Kartik Hosanagar, Wharton professor of operations and information management. Working within the movie industry “where lack of predictability is the norm,” Pixar has created a set of processes that emphasizes team-based collaboration and continuous feedback loops to help overcome creative blocks and track deliverables, but without the stress that could go with a regime of control.

Pixar’s record is proof that lean and innovation can coexist. “Pixar hasn’t had a single failure as yet. All its projects have been successful,” Hosanagar says, adding that unlike the rest of the movie industry, it has never bought scripts from outside; it develops all its ideas and scripts in-house. “I discovered that much of what the industry uses is madness; what Pixar uses is a method to the madness,” says Hosanagar, who for the last year has been fascinated by the company while studying it along with Jehoshua Eliashberg, a Wharton professor of marketing, operations and information management.

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Filed under: Innovation, Lean, Pixar

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