I think there’s a ton of really great lessons schools, educators and administrators can learn from this behind-the-scenes look at Pixar studios. In six minutes, I really saw a lot that left me salivating.
A couple of ideas come up from the various interviews.The physical design of Pixar says volumes. It’s an environment orchestrated for people to have “creative collisions” with one another because the braintrust believes in the notion of spontaneous productivity. Two people collide in the hall, have a non-planned “meeting” and BOOM! something clicks and solutions are born.
Schools are designed to divide, divide, divide. It’s architects have focused on keeping people apart from one another. And in many ways, that’s to our detriment.
One guy talks about how research is so, so important to the Pixar filmmaking process. He says, “People think we just push a button and a movie comes out. We believe in research.” Another guy talks about how fun is embedded in the fabric of the atmosphere. People are supposed to enjoy themselves because Pixar feels that when they do, they will give their all. And as another gent says, “We don’t have parents saying DO YOUR HOMEWORK to the kids… we have parents saying GO HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE because the work is so engrossing, meaningful, and purposeful that people will hunker down more than might be recommended.”
All in all, I think there are a lot of lessons to be had in this short, informative, piece. And you can’t really argue with the results. Pixar is at the top of its game right now and is the envy of the entire business. They value their people and they get great results. It’s a blueprint for education going forward… and they don’t take bubble tests.