Creative industries approach issues differently to corporates and the Oscars prompted me to investigate success stories in film-making to see if we can learn any lessons in the Big Data world.

Pixar is a well-known brand today that is particularly striking in several aspects:

  1. The company started from nothing but grew rapidly and generated film successes worth billions
  2. They built a small but highly skilled team accomplishing enormous feats
  3. They continues to aspire to be the best in their field including developing the technology required to be the best.

What can we learn?

One of Pixar’s successes was the quick realisation that technology had to work for them, so they mixed technology with the right people and direction.

Recently on an interesting radio interview I heard Pixar staff talk about the challenges of making exceptional films rather than churning out mediocrity. Pixar achieved this by mixing innovation, artistic skills, business focus and new technology, and to me this sounded very similar to the challenges of making Big Data work in any organisation.

How did they succeed?

  • Building a strategy with their backers to develop the right business model (even if this was a new type of business model) helped them deliver innovatively
  • “Putting the filmmakers in charge” – Pixar recognised that the only way to produce truly great films was moving the accountants out and putting in charge film-makers that were passionate and knew how to make amazing films. This combined their creative talents with the technology needed to deliver their products
  • Concentrating on attracting and nurturing the right talent resulted in building the teams required for highly successful products.

How to apply similar creativity in your industry

The key ingredient in strategy is getting the perfect mix of ingredients required to meet commercial objectives and to inspire and unleash creativity:

Successful Big Data project delivery needs something new and worthwhile to show at the end of it. This requires managers with expertise across low-level data content and the reality of algorithmic product development, and manifests itself through execution of the “HI-LO” philosophy:

  • HIGH level =  identifying the correct core strategic objective
  • LOW level  = having the technical expertise to manage progress, resource allocation and resolve issues to ensure the original mission is fulfilled.

By ensuring you have the right combinations of technical skills, business focus and strategic thinking will enable successful delivery and enable innovative ways of reaching end goals for Big Data projects.