Become the Creativity and Innovation Category.
Lead the category or be the category?
Striving to lead your industry isn’t entirely bad if you’re ok with waiting for someone else to beat you to the next breakthrough.
Why does that sound ridiculous?
Why is it important?
Because some ridiculously important (some would say game-changing) events have happened, are happening now, and will continue to happen.
It’s called disruption for a reason.
Waiting for it to happen can destroy an organization (and sometimes an industry).
Making it happen can launch competitive immunity and have your competition scrambling to recover.
Remember how the music industry let Napster reinvent music file sharing?
Music executives got blind-sided.
As if that wasn’t enough, the music industry never saw a computer company coming either.
Apple, iPod, iTunes, and now, Apple Music.
Apple is a category of one.
The music industry had their chance to become the category.
Kodak had their chance too, but they held so tightly to film, they suffocated themselves.
How does this train of thought affect Disney?
Walt Disney wasn’t the brightest kid in his class. So how did he build a Company world-famous for being creative?
You didn’t see that one coming did you?
Like any entrepreneur, from 100 years ago to last year, taking an idea from conception to a viable business is a long and uncertain road.
Walt wanted to be a cartoonist. He did draw, but only when he was young.
Because there were better artists available. He also assumed the role of business co-owner in 1923, with his older brother Roy. Those two facts made it clear, Walt’s drawing days were over.
As the Compay grew there were economic, world, and technology disruptions (all as intense, relatively speaking, as current events).
Literally at every turn, Walt had to fight to survive.
Walt led many of the cartoon industry’s landmark innovations: first cartoon with synchronized sound, first cartoon in color, first full-length animated feature film, as well as the vertical, multiplane camera which introduced remarkable depth of field to a one-dimensional industry.
The Great Depression, World World II, increasing investments in physical assets, and competition from rivals who were catching up, and so on. Walt had to continuously reinvent himself and try to stand out because if he didn’t, he wasn’t going to meet payroll.
His creativity was born out of necessity, not from a God-given natural gift.