Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Game Changers

The Harvard Business Review recently highlighted the fine example of Sir Peter Jackson to describe what its authors call ‘The Innovation Mindset’. Peter is, as they say, a game changer. His impact on cinema has been extraordinary. What caught my attention was the article’s reference to 'And Thinking' - what I call And/And - as a key feature of the innovation mindset being described.

Peter completely rewrote the rules when he made the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He looked at the project and thought: this needs a simple strategy and complex execution; this needs to be made locally and seen globally; these movies need to be of the highest quality and be made at the lowest cost. It wasn't a case of Either/Or. He embraced paradox.

From there it was a case of finding creative solutions. Ignore the status-quo. Smash restrictive barriers. He convinced the studios to film all three movies in one hit. And do it all in New Zealand. And back the creation of Weta Workshop in Wellington.

We all know the story from there. They backed him. The box office takings from the first film alone trebled the production costs. You can imagine how many cynics there were back in Hollywood. People who sat waiting for Peter to spectacularly fail. But he was resourceful, focused on the outcomes, and saw opportunity where they couldn’t.

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