Introduction: Lost and Found

- Pixar building designed for bump ins and collaboration.
- Pixar values self-expression.
Its special sauce is acknowledge problems out of view, but marshall all energies to solve. 
- No introspection destroying successful companies over time.
- He devoted himself to learn how to build sustainable creative culture. Thesis of book is many blocks to creative process   Most managers must loosen control and accept risk. Must pay attention to and engage anything that creates fear.

Chapter 1: Animated

- Titles and hierarchy are meaningless to creative inspiration
- Often a solution is multi-step. There is the oak tree, but also the saplings that grow from the acorns
- Tension between individual contribution and team exists in all creative environments
- Didn't take Disney theme park job: didn't want to design theme park rides, wanted to animate with a computer

Chapter 2: Pixar is Born

- Hire people smarter than yourself
- First role created flat org structure 
- Publish ideas to engage in community
- Eventually relationships and connections more valuable than maintaining secrecy
- When asked in interview who else to hire for Star Wars job he named competitors. Showed confidence in face of competition
- At Lucusfilm created hierarchy to report to him
- Not enough for managers to have good ideas: they must also engender support for those ideas from people who will implement them (i.e film editors and new production process)

Chapter 3: A Defining Goal

- just-in-time manufacturing: any employee regardless of hierarchical position can and should stop production if quality low or problems
- this approach gave ownership of and responsibility for a products quality to people most involved in its creation
- workers suggest changes, call problems and feel pride when fixed problem
- guiding principle: you don't have to ask permission to take responsibility
- being on lookout for problems not the same as seeing them: for instance positives of job often hide downsides as people put up with problems
- communication through "proper channels": made mistake of confusing communication structure with organisation structure

Chapter 4: Establishing Pixar's Identity

- if you give a good idea to mediocre team will screw it. If you give a mediocre idea to brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away for something better
- therefore, getting team right is necessary precursor to getting the ideas right 
- talented individuals important, but way they interact is real key. Even best people can form ineffective team if mismatched. Therefore, better to focus on how team performing not on talents of individuals within it: team members must compliment each other
- ideas come from people, therefore people are more important than ideas
- ideas not singular, rather forged while being wrestled with
- model: find, develop and support good people and they in turn will find, develop and own good ideas
- while efficiency is a goal, quality is the goal

Chapter 5: Honesty and Candour

- use word candor instead of honesty, which has baggage
- Candor suggests lack of reserve which problem with honesty: people scared to be honest
- Charge of the brainstrust is candor 
- candor leads to trust, and trust essential to creative collaboration
- filmmakers are given freedom and responsibility
- 2 important characteristics: brainstrust made up of experienced filmmakers/storytellers and brainstrust has no authority. Advice can be ignored. 
- also don't mandate solutions because better solution will likely come from team rather than brainstrust: ideas must be tested and challenged

Chapter 6: Fear and Failure

- failure can be an opportunity for growth, not something to feel ashamed of
- find a low bike, put on helmet and knee and elbow pads and ride
- what happens when your company discovers failure? People shut down and turn inward, or come together to untangle causes of problems to go forward?
- don't blame or fault. Failure difficult enough without search for scapegoat
- failure necessary in creative enterprise

Chapter 7: The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby

- A big company can be beast to feed: a large group that needs uninterrupted diet of new material and resources to function
- Originality is fragile: early mock ups of creative prototypes 'ugly babies'
- ugly babies are awkward, informed and vulnerable and need nurturing (time and patience) to grow. Therefore hard time coexisting with the beast
- An original idea may be ungainly and poorly defined but is also the opposite of established and entrenched. While vulnerable it can be destroyed by naysayers who don't see potential or lack patience to let it evolve
- Improving process is something to work on - but it's not the goal. Making something great is the goal
- beast and baby not black and white. Need to coexist: beast also a motivator and baby also needy and unpredictable
- In a healthy culture, all constituencies (director, marketing, finance, product etc) recognise the importance of balancing competing needs and goals of groups. If one group is dominant, company losses.
- Conflict essential because that's how best ideas survive: like planets ecosystem can't only have sun or day. Need conflict for things to grow

Chapter 8: Change and Randomness

- Can't avoid change and there is no growth or success without change
- hard to distinguish what works and is worth hanging on to and what is holding us back and worth discarding
- fear of change is powerful force
- embrace randomness rather than fear it
- Important not to see changing course as sign of weakness
- lack of self-awareness fuels opposition to change
- brains wired to see patterns, even where there aren't any whereas we cannot store randomness in our heads
- Occams Razor: if there are competing explanations for why something occurs as it does, should pick the the one that relies on fewest assumptions and is thus simplest
- stochastic self-similarity applied to business: Problems are similar regardless of size
- Important to push all problems into the organisation to be solved by everyone

Chapter 9: The Hidden

- perception is important concept. As managers, how much are we able to see? What is hidden from view
- must be attuned to fact there are problems that cannot see, and cannot assume problems don't exist because not aware of blind spots
- must uncover what is unseen and understand it, or will not be prepared to lead
- Issue with hierarchy when people only focus above them: equate their sense of self-worth and to others only on the rank
- important to accept that can't see and understand every aspect of a complex environment, and instead focus on techniques to deal with combining different viewpoints

Chapter 10: Broadening Our View

- Peoples shared experience together can lead to inflexibility. Same in company organisation
- some components that worked at Pixar

Dailies, or Solving Problems Together

- dailies accomplish constructive midstream feedback
- sharing and analysing teams ongoing work is a group effort

Research Trips

- avoid derivative presentations of ideas and work
- to avoid, need to go out and do some research

The Power of Limits

- limits can help fix desire for quality that goes too far

Integrating Technology and Art

- important to use best tools available
- art challenges technology, technology inspires art

Short Experiments

- must leave room for unexpected: cannot quantively justify everything
- Pixar uses shorts as way to experiment

Learning to See

- learning to draw shuts off left side of brain
- can learn to draw, and learn to set aside preconceptions


- explore what did and did not work at conclusion of project
- consolidate what's been learned
- teach others who weren't present
- don't let resentments fester
- force reflection
- apply to next project

Continuing to Learn

- learning together allows people to respect work others do

Chapter 11: The Unmade Future

- creative people discover and realise their visions over time and through dedicated, protracted struggle
- the best way to predict the future is to invent it
- There is sweet spot between the known and the unknown where originality happens
- key is to linger there without panicking
- adopt mental models to enable this

Chapter 12: A New Challenge

- the merger with Disney