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  • [Chat] Disney and Innovation

    In the 1920s, Walt Disney created a sensationally popular cartoon character and synchronized sound with cartoons.

    In the 1930s, Walt Disney pioneered feature animated films in the U.S., changing the film business forever.

    In the 1940s, Walt Disney created a kind of movie for broad U.S. distribution that had never been seen before with "Fantasia."

    In the 1950s, Walt Disney envisioned and led his company to build a new kind of "amusement park" that completely revolutionized the business, and he led a major charge into TV, plus brought the monorail into the U.S.

    In the 1960s, Walt Disney was led the charge in developing a PeopleMover concept, began developing a prototype city unlike any other

    In the 1970s, Walt Disney's company developed the largest "theme resort" in the world and the first theme park overseas created by a U.S. company

    In the 1980s, Walt Disney's company opened EPCOT Center, a radical new idea in theme parks that included technology the public had never seen in daily use, and also revolutionized the hotel industry by expanding its resorts into a category that no one thought Disney could do. It opened the first studio-based theme park outside of California, and developed (in-house) a new motion-picture label, and also re-ignited the American animated-film industry. It also opened a new retail concept that changed the company permanently and impacted the rest of the entertainment industry. Plus, it launched one of the first cable channels owned by a major entertainment company.

    In the 1990s, Walt Disney's company turned the concept of a "zoo" on its head, broke new ground in entertainment by releasing the first major computer-animated film, launched one of the first daily websites from an entertainment company, and redefined the cruise-line business for an entire industry.

    I'm missing a TON of stuff, I'm sure, but it makes me wonder ...

    What has "Iger's Disney" actually innovated and revolutionized? Seems more like Disney's become a management company, not an innovation company. What it DOES "innovate" is mostly building off of what already exists, even in the R&D field, and rarely actually implementing radical ideas. Am I off base?

  • #2
    Re: Disney and Innovation

    Howdy Pard,

    Good points all...until ya got down to that bottom part... "What has "Iger's Disney" actually innovated and revolutionized? Seems more like Disney's become a management company, not an innovation company. What it DOES "innovate" is mostly building off of what already exists, even in the R&D field, and rarely actually implementing radical ideas."

    Mr. Iger ain't really focused on innovatin' nuthin'...he's focused on profits. Not a mouseketeer...but a profiteer you might say. Now, a profiteer, according to my Webster's New World Compact Desk Dictionary and Style Guide, is "one who makes excessive profits by charging exorbitant prices." Yep, I'd say that shoe kinda fits, wouldn't you?

    Speaking of Mouseketeers, now there was an innovative idea in children's programming if ever there was one...just imagine...kids actually learnin' stuff...not bein' talked down to...oh for the good ol' days... Oh how I miss Jimmy Dodd and Jiminy Cricket and...the Ol' Triple R...Annette and...

    But...those days are gone forever now...locked away forever, in those dark, mysterious Disney vaults. Taint much overly innovative or even intelligent for that matter on today's Disney Channel...nope...nuthin' whatsoever.

    But, back to innovation. Don't you realize that all the good ideas are already used up?

    Taint nuthin' new or excitin' out there. Only stuff that already exists. So, good ol' Mr. Iger has focused his attention on how to make more profits off from existin' things...like Disneyland and stuff. Mainly raisin' prices again...weedin' out the poor folks who don't spend enough money anyways... and cuttin' back on maintenance and service to "save money". (More profits)

    Don't go laughin' now...that kinda thinkin' just got him a 26 million dollar bonus from his friends on the Disney Executive Board...and, they are his friends you know?



    I've never met Mr. Iger...don't know much about him...'cept he doesn't seem to have much of a vision for the company just kinda wants to squeeze more profits out of it. And I hear tell that come 2016 he plans on cashin' in all his chips and going somewheres up New York City way to play politics for a spell. He don't seem to have much in the way of long term loyalty to the mouse at all I reckon...

    Innovative thinkin' is what founded the company...you sure are right there. And, let's hope someday we get new leadership that inspires new concepts, new ideas, new challenges. Let's hope.

    Right now...there just ain't no new ideas and cast members are sayin' they can't expand the Monorail at Walt Disney World cause strong cement costs too much...

    But...say...those money folks ain't interested in anything but...well...money anyways. So to them Uncle Bob is doin' just what he was hired to do...and I hear tell those commercials over there on ESPN are makin' a ton of money...

    There's still imagination left in the world...just not in Disney's upper management these days. Today Disney is a huge money makin' operation... think of it as if Scrooge McDuck took over the place when Mickey wasn't payin' attention...

    I hear tell they have been tryin' to put some new words into that old song though...

    "When you wish upon a star...our bank account will grow..."

    They're still workin' on that...

    Meanwhile our warm memories of Walt Disney, his innovative ideas, his approach, his philosophy of life, and, above all, his wonderful legacy grow stronger and stronger with each passing day.



    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol' Dan
    Last edited by Wild Ol' Dan; 05-22-2012, 06:36 PM.
    "I can see the cattle grazin' o'er the hills at early morn…
    I can see the campfires smokin’ at the breaking of the dawn,
    I can hear the bronco's neighin', I can hear the cowboys sing,
    I'd like to be in Texas for the Round-up in the Spring."
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: Disney and Innovation

      No innovations? C'mon, man! Don't forget the Dining Plan! NextGen! Fastpass Plus! The Bold New Pleasure Island! And DVC from sea to shining sea!*

      Not to mention the truly innovative campaign to replace actual moving parts with video projectors wherever possible.

      Think of the profits! It fires the imagination!

      * Yes, while some of these initiatives may have actually spawned before Iger's time at the top, his regime has certainly perfected the concept of "Magic OUR way."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Disney and Innovation

        To be fair, it wasn't a bonus, technically. He cashed out on stock that grew in the last few years. It wasn't a performance bonus.

        Could Disney have developed Facebook?

        Could Disney have developed the iPhone or the iPad?

        Could Disney have done something utterly different and new with 3-D?

        Could Disney have created a theme-park attraction that completely and utterly revolutionized the industry?

        Possibly, who knows?

        We did get Pal Mickey, though.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Disney and Innovation

          I thought Iger's big idea was interactivity. He seemed to really dig the interactive queues, Kim Possible in World Showcase and Keys to the Kingdom and stuff like that. I don't know if trying to turn the parks and cruises into a giant Kinect game is the best idea, but it's at least an idea.

          With his retirement looming, he's clearly not with the company for a long haul. I think his real big idea was not to do anything stupid so future employers or voters or whoever won't have anything to hold against him when he moves on to whatever he does next. I see this revolving door of executives continuing until someone with an actual passion for the job accidentally gets hired.
          It bothers me when people selectively edit quotes to support whatever point they are trying to prove.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Disney and Innovation

            I would say under Igers rule they created a technology that could change the way we interact with computers and everything around us. Don't believe me? Read this!

            Touche: Disney's 'mind-blowing' touch-sensing technology - The Week

            Disney's new touch sensing technology is WAY more Innovative than combining a zoo with a theme park. If it is used to its full potential it could become the most innovative thing Disney has ever made!

            http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...echnology.html

            Although inventions like this are rare (even in companies like Apple which are seen as innovative they reuse old tech in in new ways and rarely develop something completely new) less and less money is spent on R&D now days. Back in the day R&D was done to find how stuff worked and then use this knowledge to then attempt to develop a tech from this. These days R&D money is mainly spent to develop products. This is true of most companies in today's world. Less money spent on R&D for the point of R&D= less innovation and more money grabbing attempts to reuse old tech.

            Iger's overall legacy will be increased profits with attempts to increase guest satisfaction at the expense of higher prices. DCA was a turd, Iger has led to the path of greatness. Star Tours was becoming dated, under Iger we saw the ride get a new type of experience that allows for multiple different ride experiences. WDW saw USO finally competing for vacationers, Iger oversaw a Magic Kingdom expansion (biggest in park's history) and will oversee the implementation of a new Fastpass system that uses technology to enhance guest's experience (whether this will actually enhance guests experiences is yet to be determined). Iger's overall innovation is a move towards greater guest interaction.
            Last edited by Bronco21; 05-22-2012, 09:51 PM.
            Check out my Disney inspired creations.

            https://picasaweb.google.com/110319393135337100862

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            • #7
              Re: Disney and Innovation

              Originally posted by Bronco21 View Post
              I would say under Igers rule they created a technology that could change the way we interact with computers and everything around us. Don't believe me? Read this!

              Touche: Disney's 'mind-blowing' touch-sensing technology - The Week

              Disney's new touch sensing technology is WAY more Innovative than combining a zoo with a theme park. If it is used to its full potential it could become the most innovative thing Disney has ever made!

              http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...echnology.html

              Although inventions like this are rare (even in companies like Apple which are seen as innovative they reuse old tech in in new ways and rarely develop something completely new) less and less money is spent on R&D now days. Back in the day R&D was done to find how stuff worked and then use this knowledge to then attempt to develop a tech from this. These days R&D money is mainly spent to develop products. This is true of most companies in today's world. Less money spent on R&D for the point of R&D= less innovation and more money grabbing attempts to reuse old tech.

              Iger's overall legacy will be increased profits with attempts to increase guest satisfaction at the expense of higher prices. DCA was a turd, Iger has led to the path of greatness. Star Tours was becoming dated, under Iger we saw the ride get a new type of experience that allows for multiple different ride experiences. WDW saw USO finally competing for vacationers, Iger oversaw a Magic Kingdom expansion (biggest in park's history) and will oversee the implementation of a new Fastpass system that uses technology to enhance guest's experience (whether this will actually enhance guests experiences is yet to be determined). Iger's overall innovation is a move towards greater guest interaction.
              Yup. And they haven't used it, they haven't tried to apply it, they haven't DONE anything with it except show it off. Shouldn't they have followed the lead of their guiding mentor Steve Jobs and at least INSTALLED it before they tried to show it off? It's cool, but it's not revolutionary. It's incremental. I hope to be proven wrong by this.

              An implementation of a new Fastpass system (that basically requires you to take all spontaneity out of a visit), an expansion of a "land" that was already there filled primarily with meet-and-greet locations. Hmm. So far, it's not very impressive, is it?

              ---------- Post added 05-23-2012 at 12:02 AM ----------

              I fell asleep watching the demo video, btw.

              If you were alive in 1982, the WorldKey system was indeed mind-blowing. Now, it's everywhere. And that was the point. But, boy, did it amaze.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Disney and Innovation

                Originally posted by EC82 View Post
                Yup. And they haven't used it, they haven't tried to apply it, they haven't DONE anything with it except show it off. Shouldn't they have followed the lead of their guiding mentor Steve Jobs and at least INSTALLED it before they tried to show it off? It's cool, but it's not revolutionary. It's incremental. I hope to be proven wrong by this.

                An implementation of a new Fastpass system (that basically requires you to take all spontaneity out of a visit), an expansion of a "land" that was already there filled primarily with meet-and-greet locations. Hmm. So far, it's not very impressive, is it?

                ---------- Post added 05-23-2012 at 12:02 AM ----------

                I fell asleep watching the demo video, btw.

                If you were alive in 1982, the WorldKey system was indeed mind-blowing. Now, it's everywhere. And that was the point. But, boy, did it amaze.
                Apple has not ever really created any new technology they have just used existing technologies together to create amazing products. Disney has something way more advanced than anything out there. They haven't created products because it is such a new technology and they want to get it out there that "hey we invented this really cool new way to interact with computers!" A good example of tech being known long before the products would be Kinect. Kinect uses motion sensing technology to let users interact with the games. This technology was actually in development in the late 1980's! Technology often times takes years before its purpose is fully realized. Just because Disney has not yet developed products from the tech, does not mean that the tech cannot have a huge impact on the world.
                Check out my Disney inspired creations.

                https://picasaweb.google.com/110319393135337100862

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                • #9
                  Re: Disney and Innovation

                  As L C Clench used to say in Alien Encounter "profit is a by product we've learned to live with" so maybe it's just life imitating art :-)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Disney and Innovation

                    Iger's innovation is buying outside properties and bringing them into Disney against our wills. That's innovation, right?



                    Right?



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                    • #11
                      Re: Disney and Innovation

                      EC - I agree. I think Disney has gotten too caught up in what price points will maximize the amount of guests and amount of profit, and to some extent has forgotten what made them into Disney as we know it in the first place.

                      I had posed this article in another forum and I think it also applies here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/op...ef=davidbrooks In a nutshell, the author advocates that rather than trying to be the best in a crowded field, innovators will create new technologies and create a new field. Disney did this first with Snow White and then with Disneyland and Disney World - I would love to see the next "big" idea is that will again make Disney truly innovative.
                      “Walt Disney is a thing, an image that people have . . . I drink and I smoke and there are a lot of other things I do that don’t fit that image. But that image stands for something, and you don’t have to explain to people what it means.”Walt Disney

                      Follow me on Twitter at WaltsMartini for Disney Happy Hour at any hour!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Disney and Innovation

                        Howdy Pards,

                        The truth is I think we all miss that spirit of creativity that the Walt Disney Company knew under different leadership.

                        Symbolic of this perhaps...in the good ol' days...Walt produced a wonderful adventure filled and beloved TV program called Zorro. Remember? "Out of the night when the full moon is bright comes the horseman known as Zorro. This bold renegade carves a "Z" with his blade...a
                        "Z" that stands for Zorro..."


                        Today...at those same Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, the Zorro Parking Garage stands where the Ol' Zorro filming sets once stood...

                        Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

                        Wild Ol' Dan
                        Last edited by Wild Ol' Dan; 05-25-2012, 08:21 PM.
                        "I can see the cattle grazin' o'er the hills at early morn…
                        I can see the campfires smokin’ at the breaking of the dawn,
                        I can hear the bronco's neighin', I can hear the cowboys sing,
                        I'd like to be in Texas for the Round-up in the Spring."
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Disney and Innovation

                          The point thats missing is that Walt Disney didn't technically invent anything. He applied techniques he saw and optimized them.

                          A lot of the topics you mentioned used to the words "Brought to" or pioneered. In the past it almost seems like it would be easier to be an innovator due to the lack of the insane amount of communication now.

                          If something happens today in a Disney park I can find a post and pictures about it minutes later on the internet. It's much harder to be an innovator with the pace that technology is moving at.
                          Theme Park Reporter
                          -Coaster-net.com
                          -WDWNT:The Magazine

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                          • #14
                            Re: Disney and Innovation

                            Originally posted by ZFakterowitz View Post
                            In the past it almost seems like it would be easier to be an innovator due to the lack of the insane amount of communication now.
                            I'd say you're absolutely correct. The proliferation of communication has made it much easier for someone to get their fifteen minutes of relative fame or get their idea out there to a reasonably large audience, but it's made it harder for anyone to really strike it big with an innovative idea as people everywhere seem to be moving towards doing everything 'by committee'.

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