September 27

The Idea Factory

I once came across a copy of the Walt Disney Company’s business strat- egy, circa 1958. It had a lot of arrows pointing in different directions— licensing, theme parks, books, comics, music, etc.—but all those arrows ultimately centered around and pointed back to one thing: the creative talent of the film studio.

Disney understood that no matter how good the company might be at squeezing value out of its properties, everything ultimately hinged on its ideas. At the very center of the Disney business model was the “idea factory.”

This guiding principle that allowed a multinational-, multibillion- dollar company to dominate the entertainment industry is the very same one that will allow you to produce the best work of your life. As a creative pro, everything hinges on ideas. The creative talent of the idea factory is what generates value.

Are you caring for your factory? Do you dedicate time and space for generating ideas? Do you put creativity and idea generation on your calendar each week, or are you still trying to squeeze value out of yes- terday’s ideas?

To produce brilliant work consistently, you must care for your idea factory. Make time each week to generate ideas and produce unique kinds of value.


What would it mean for you to put the idea factory at the center of your work life?

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