GetCre8ive with Innovation and Innovention (and a Dash of Pixie Dust) – #TypeACon 2013

It’s our last day at the Type-A Parent Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and we’re starting out the morning with Gary Buchanan from Disney Parks. His keynote presentation is called #GetCre8ive with Innovation and Innovention (and a Dash of Pixie Dust).

Get Creative with Innovation and Innovention...and a dash of Pixie Dust

Gary entered the stage wearing a giant #typeacon hashtag. Photo opp with Kelby before he gives away some Disney merchandise. He’s going to talk about creativity…and Disney has no rules. He doesn’t like boxes. The team he works on has strong leadership.

“It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.” – Jean-Luc Godard

Walt Disney didn’t make the first cartoon. He was just the one who decided to make cartoons better…with sound, synchronized sound. That’s how Steamboat Willy came about. Then he decided to make a full-length animated feature, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was born. He was not the first person to open a theme park, but he poured his life into making the best one. The entrance the park is intended to be narrow, like a movie aisle. The Castle is the feature presentation. The first thing you smell is popcorn, because the popcorn vendor was a conscious decision since the first thing you smell in a movie theater is popcorn.

Disney recreated the Beatles’ Abbey Road picture on Main Street USA. They took it to the next level, parking Herbie on the side of the road and applying actual crosswalk marks on the pavement.

DJ Steve Porter ended up doing a video compilation for Disney Parks with auto-tune…that was great.

“If you’re coasting, it means you are going downhill.” – Walt Disney

Keep your foot on the gas, all the way. Always look for something bigger. When you’re brainstorming, there should not be a limit on anything. Walt knew he couldn’t do it all himself, so he knew the value of teamwork. The Disney team is enormous. If you’re working on the front lines at Disney, you have to be creative because you are in front of the people, the guests all the time.

There is entire division devoted to Imagineering. They come up with all of the big ideas.

You can be creative no matter where you are and what you do. When you brainstorm, do it with your friends, your family, your kids. Kids bring such a great, fresh view of the world that is a lot better than ours.

The difference between what Buzz called a “laser” and Woody said was just a “little light bulb that blinks” … IMAGINATION.

Walt Disney put every last dollar he had into building Disneyland. He may have done the first infomercial with ABC to market his new theme park. But he was running out of money before it opened. There was no money for landscaping, and when weeds started popping up, he had them do up little metal placards with the Latin names of those weeds.

The first scene of the first Toy Story movie in 1995 shows the clouds on his wallpaper. The last scene of Toy Story 3 in 2010 was the clouds in the sky… it wasn’t just an Easter Egg. It was because Andy’s dreams were all in his room when he was a kid. In the end, his dreams were as big as the whole world. (Many people in the room just teared up.)

Thinking better is not always thinking bigger. The amount of detail put into the miniatures and everything…it’s incredible.

Storytelling is what the Walt Disney Company was founded on. Disney Parks Blog turned four years old yesterday. Their #1 goal is telling stories and entertaining people. They’re always looking at the little things. They like to educate and surprise people.

When you work on videos, you want to educate and entertain. Walt Disney wanted to entertain people and how they also learn something. Entertainment always comes first.

There is so much competition for attention now. You used to have three minutes. Then two. Then one. Now it’s down to six seconds with things like Vine. You have to take things down to the very basics to find the great stories.

When you think about content, bring it down to the human element. You don’t have to stay within the boundaries of your role. Surprise people. Have a good time and help other people have a good time. Tell the great stories that are out there. One person’s story can be an amazing thing.

“Curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

There are plenty of creative ideas that don’t work out. Have a short memory. Look ahead.

“Curiosity often leads to trouble.” – Alice (in Wonderland)


Caution: Idea Killers Ahead

People will try to kill your ideas, suck the life out of you, demotivate you, and kill your spirit. Disney has rules against killing brainstorming ideas with things like, “That’s too expensive” or “We can’t do that.”

The Hook

There’s always something better you can add to an idea, that you can hook onto it.

Date an idea, but don’t marry an idea. Ideas can take twists and turns, so know that things can change. Ask questions. Moms are asked 288 questions per day by their children. (Some of us think that number is a little low.) 4-year-old girls ask the most questions: over 400 a day. 24% of kids ask Mom because Dad will say, “Ask Mom.” 9 year old boys ask 144 questions a day. As adults, we don’t ask nearly as many questions. But we should be more curious. Pay attention to scientists and other great thinkers. Collect questions that people want answers to so you can use them later.


Have fun! Have a HAHA to AHA moment. When your mind is relaxed, things come to you. (So many of us get our great ideas in bed when we’re trying to go to sleep!)

We did a 30-second “draw the person next to you” activity. There were a lot of apologies around the room, but kids will draw intently and share their drawings with everyone proudly. We don’t have that confidence anymore. Be kids again.

I drew Beth, aka @TheAngelForever

Christina Gleason (976 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.

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