Odgers Berndtson Interviews Pixar’s President Ed Catmull

Pixar is a movie powerhouse. The company produces stories that appeal to children and adults alike and has been awarded 30 Academy Awards. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Studios, has been with the company since 2001. In a recent article by Odgers Berndtson, Gary Mead sat down with Ed Catmull at his Los Angeles office and talked to him about nurturing creative talent and working with Disney.

The following is an excerpt from the interview: “When I spoke to Catmull in Los Angeles he talked of the difficulty of keeping creativity alive in an industry where creativity and originality are everything. In a world of sensitive egos, where experimentation and failure are vital, Catmull asks: “How do we make it safe for people to raise questions – and when things fail, make it OK for them to still raise questions?” Put at its simplest, Catmull is dedicated to taking the terror out of failure. The stigma attached to failure is so powerful that it inhibits creativity. As Catmull writes: “We need to think about failure differently … Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality).” This passionate belief that people must be allowed to make mistakes is all well and good – but how many chances to crash and burn do the creatives at Pixar get? “That’s a subtle and important question,” he responds. His answer is equally subtle, and he turns to the ‘Braintrust’, a key element in Pixar’s management of failure.”

The full interview is published on Odgers Berndtson’s website. Read the full article.


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