Disney: Adamant About Innovation

Posted by: Damian Joseph on July 13, 2009

I recently had a really fun conversation with Luis Fernandez, senior vice president, global creative, for Disney Consumer Products. We talked about how the company manages to keep creative, despite the recession…

If you caught my article on how the company continually innovates its toy line, Mr. Fernandez is the man both Chris Heatherly and Len Mazzocco answer to.

I can't spill all the juicy details of our talk yet, but I'd like to share something interesting with you. Fernandez told me about about the company's innovation culture and clued me in on a big piece of it: an archive/lounge/library-type area for employees. It houses Disney movies available for check out, a cache of older consumer products, gallery space for artwork, and high-end furniture inspired by Walt's old digs.

It's a place for employees to duck out for a bit and recharge their creative juices. It's also a source of inspiration, as workers can be immersed in all things Disney. The lounge opened up three years ago, but the company recently showed just how important they believed the space to be. Six months ago, it hired a full-time staffer, for a libarian-ish role, to hold down the joint.

Keep in mind, we're in a recession. Fernandez told me he's had to cut his own travel by 80% over the last year! Despite the budget cuts, the company thought the archive was so crucial to its innovation efforts, it doubled down with a full-timer.

Just another tip from one of BusinessWeek's Most Innovative Companies.

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What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.

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