Credit Unions Need to Innovate the Disney Way

‘Imagineering’ company takes a six-step approach to innovation.

By Bill Merrick

Creativity, some believe, is an escape from disciplined thinking. But it should be an escape with disciplined thinking, says Bruce Jones, programming director for the Disney Institute.

He believes organizations lacking a formal approach to innovation, involving staff at all levels, risk missing opportunities that exist right in front of them.

“One of Disney’s central themes is that everyone is creative,” Jones says. “When we get smarter about unleashing the creative potential within our employees and guests, we find there’s a lot of creativity out there. We’re always thinking about new ideas.”

And with a process in place to harness that creativity, he says, “we can activate those ideas and get something done.”

Few leaders would dispute the importance of innovation. In fact, a McKinsey Global survey found that 84% of executives believe innovation is “very or extremely important” to their companies’ growth.

But too many organizations leave the process to chance. Only 27% of executives responding to the McKinsey survey say their companies hold leaders accountable for executing strategies that support innovation.

Too often, companies seek input only from the stereotypical creative departments in their organizations, Jones says. They rely solely on a small group of people to brainstorm new ideas or solve a particular problem when in fact there’s creativity throughout the organization.

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