Staggs: What Does It Mean To Be Innovative?
Last month Tom Staggs sat down with Eyes and Ears, which is Walt Disney World’s internal newsletter. He recapped the year, which has been fairly big: The launch of the Disney Dream; the opening of new attractions like Star Tours and Little Mermaid; the ground breaking of Shanghai Disneyland; the opening of Aualani; two new Toy Story lands in Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland, and the announcement of AVATAR for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
He also talked about the year ahead which includes the launch of the Disney Fantasy; the opening of the Art of Animation Resort; the unveiling of elements in the new Fantasyland expansion; the opening of Grizzly Gulch in Hong Kong, and the whole new Cars Land and Buena Vista Street for Disney California Adventure.
But for all of this, what impressed me the most was his comments on being innovative. “Just as everyone is responsible for safety, courtesy, show and efficiency, we should always be trying to discover new ways to challenge the status quo, be more efficient, and to surprise and delight our Guests at every turn. We often talk about innovation in terms of technology. But innovation goes beyond technology and should extend to everything we do. Regardless of our roles, each of us has the opportunity to innovate and improve on what we do and how we do it.”
I love those ideas because innovation must be much more than a talking Mickey Mouse, or a new Sorcerers in the Magic Kingdom game. It’s an invitation to each Cast Member to think more about how to keep the grounds cleaner as Guests rush from one clue to another, or how to better talk and engage with those Guests as they stand in line.
I think some of the most innovative companies are not the ones that create some great new technology at the top, but who continually innovate and improve at the bottom. For Disney, that’s as important a frontier as any. For your organization, it probably is too.