THE 
PIXAR WAY 37 QUOTES ON DEVELOPING AND 
MAINTAINING A CREATIVE COMPANY 
Photo: Creativity, Inc. cover / Disney Pixar 
...
“WE BELIEVE THAT 
IDEAS ONLY BECOME 
GREAT WHEN THEY 
ARE CHALLENGED 
AND TESTED.” 
Photo: The Incredibles / Disney Pixar ...
“A HALLMARK 
OF A HEALTHY 
CREATIVE CULTURE 
IS THAT ITS PEOPLE 
FEEL FREE TO SHARE 
IDEAS, OPINIONS, AND 
CRITICISMS. LAC...
“SEEK OUT 
PEOPLE WHO ARE 
WILLING TO LEVEL 
WITH YOU, AND WHEN 
YOU FIND THEM, 
HOLD THEM CLOSE.” 
Photo: Toy Story / Dis...
“MISTAKES 
AREN’T A 
NECESSARY EVIL. 
THEY AREN’T EVIL AT ALL. 
THEY ARE AN 
Photo: Finding Nemo / Disney Pixar (2003) 
IN...
“TO BE WRONG AS FAST 
AS YOU CAN IS TO SIGN 
UP FOR AGGRESSIVE, 
RAPID LEARNING.” 
Photo: Cars / Disney Pixar (2006) 
FROM...
“FOR LEADERS ESPECIALLY, 
THIS STRATEGY—TRYING 
TO AVOID FAILURE BY 
OUT-THINKING IT— 
DOOMS YOU 
TO FAIL.” 
Photo: The In...
“TO BE A TRULY 
CREATIVE COMPANY, 
YOU MUST START 
THINGS THAT 
MIGHT FAIL.” 
Photo: Monsters University / Disney Pixar (2...
“THERE ARE TWO PARTS TO ANY FAILURE: 
THERE IS THE EVENT ITSELF, WITH ALL 
ITS ATTENDANT DISAPPOINTMENT, 
CONFUSION, AND S...
“A MANAGER’S 
DEFAULT MODE 
SHOULD NOT 
BE SECRECY.” 
Photo: Ratatouille / Disney Pixar (2007) 
FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY E...
“YOUR 
EMPLOYEES 
Photo: The Incredibles / Disney Pixar (2004) 
ARE SMART; THAT’S 
WHY YOU HIRED THEM. 
SO TREAT THEM THAT...
“RATHER THAN 
TRYING TO PREVENT 
ALL ERRORS, WE SHOULD 
ASSUME, AS IS ALMOST ALWAYS 
THE CASE, THAT OUR PEOPLE’S 
INTENTIO...
“OUR JOB IS TO 
PROTECT OUR 
[NEW IDEAS] FROM 
BEING JUDGED TOO 
QUICKLY. OUR JOB 
IS TO PROTECT 
THE NEW.” 
Photo: Ratato...
“PART OF OUR JOB 
IS TO PROTECT 
THE NEW FROM 
PEOPLE WHO DON’T 
UNDERSTAND THAT, IN 
ORDER FOR GREATNESS TO 
EMERGE, THER...
“MAKING 
SOMETHING 
GREAT IS 
THE GOAL.” 
Photo: WALL-E / Disney Pixar (2008) 
FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
“THE SYSTEM IS TILTED TO FAVOR THE INCUMBENT. 
THE CHALLENGER NEEDS SUPPORT 
TO FIND ITS FOOTING. AND 
PROTECTION OF THE N...
Photo: Inside Out / Disney Pixar (TBD: 2015) 
“IT’S FOLLY TO THINK YOU CAN AVOID 
CHANGE, NO MATTER HOW 
MUCH YOU MIGHT WA...
“RANDOMNESS IS 
NOT JUST INEVITABLE; 
IT IS PART OF THE BEAUTY 
OF LIFE. ACKNOWLEDGING IT 
AND APPRECIATING IT HELPS US 
R...
“IF WE MAKE ROOM 
FOR IT INSTEAD 
OF SHUNNING IT, 
THE UNKNOWN CAN 
BRING INSPIRATION 
AND ORIGINALITY.” 
Photo: The Good ...
“WE MUST 
MEET UNEXPECTED 
PROBLEMS WITH 
UNEXPECTED RESPONSES.” 
Photo: Up / Disney Pixar (2009) 
FROM CREATIVITY, INC. B...
“CHANGE IS 
INEVITABLE… 
WORKING WITH 
CHANGE IS WHAT 
CREATIVITY IS ABOUT.” 
Photo: Monsters, Inc. / Disney Pixar (2001) ...
“IF YOU DON’T TRY TO UNCOVER 
WHAT IS UNSEEN AND 
UNDERSTAND ITS NATURE, 
YOU WILL BE 
ILL PREPARED 
TO LEAD.” 
Photo: Mon...
“ACKNOWLEDGING WHAT 
YOU CAN’T SEE… 
HELPS PROMOTE 
FLEXIBILITY.” 
Photo: Finding Nemo / Disney Pixar (2003) 
FROM CREATIV...
“THE MOST CREATIVE 
PEOPLE ARE WILLING 
TO WORK IN 
THE SHADOW OF 
UNCERTAINTY.” 
Photo: Monsters University / Disney Pixa...
“I BELIEVE THAT 
WE ALL HAVE THE 
POTENTIAL TO SOLVE 
PROBLEMS AND EXPRESS 
OURSELVES CREATIVELY. WHAT 
STANDS IN OUR WAY ...
“I BELIEVE THAT 
YOU SHOULD NOT 
BE REQUIRED TO JUSTIFY 
EVERYTHING. WE MUST 
ALWAYS LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN 
FOR THE UNEXPECT...
“THE ATTEMPT 
TO AVOID FAILURE 
MAKES FAILURE 
MORE LIKELY.” 
Photo: A Bug’s Life / Disney Pixar (1998) 
FROM CREATIVITY, ...
“DRIVING THE TRAIN 
DOESN’T SET 
ITS COURSE. 
THE REAL JOB 
IS LAYING 
THE TRACK.” 
Photo: Toy Story 3 / Disney Pixar (201...
Photo: The Incredibles / Disney Pixar (2004) 
“IN MY EXPERIENCE, CREATIVE 
PEOPLE DISCOVER AND 
REALIZE THEIR VISIONS 
OVE...
“EARNING TRUST 
TAKES TIME; THERE’S 
NO SHORTCUT TO 
UNDERSTANDING THAT 
WE REALLY DO RISE AND 
FALL TOGETHER.” 
Photo: WA...
“EASY ISN’T 
THE GOAL. 
QUALITY IS 
THE GOAL.” 
Photo: Monsters University / Disney Pixar (2013) 
FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY...
“WHAT IS THE POINT OF 
HIRING SMART PEOPLE 
IF YOU DON’T 
EMPOWER THEM 
TO FIX WHAT’S 
BROKEN?” 
Photo: Cars / Disney Pixa...
“THERE IS NOTHING 
LIKE A CRISIS TO BRING 
WHAT AILS A COMPANY 
TO THE SURFACE.” 
Photo: A Bug’s Life / Disney Pixar (1998...
“MANAGERS OF CREATIVE 
COMPANIES MUST NEVER 
FORGET TO ASK THEMSELVES: 
“HOW DO WE TAP THE 
BRAINPOWER OF 
OUR PEOPLE?” 
P...
“IT IS 
PRECISELY BY 
ACTING ON OUR 
INTENTIONS AND STAYING 
TRUE TO OUR VALUES THAT 
WE CHANGE THE WORLD.” 
Photo: Ratato...
“REAL 
IMPROVEMENT 
COMES FROM 
CONSISTENT RIGOR 
AND PARTICIPATION.” 
Photo: Brave / Disney Pixar (2012) 
FROM CREATIVITY...
“IT IS 
MANAGEMENT’S 
JOB TO FIGURE OUT 
HOW TO HELP OTHERS 
SEE CONFLICT AS HEALTHY 
—AS A ROUTE TO BALANCE, 
WHICH BENEF...
“A BETTER MEASURE OF OUR SUCCESS IS 
TO LOOK AT THE PEOPLE ON OUR 
TEAM AND SEE HOW THEY 
ARE WORKING TOGETHER. 
CAN THEY ...
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and running a business.
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The Pixar Way: 37 Quotes on Developing and Maintaining a Creative Company (from Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull)

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In his book, Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull shares his experience as a manager of Pixar, one of the world’s most famous creative animation studios. More than that, Ed offers a number of starting points to help those that wish to work in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving, to create it.

We've collected 37 choice quotes from the book that demonstrate how to develop and maintain a creative company and paired them with images from Pixar's award-winning films and two upcoming features (Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur).

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The Pixar Way: 37 Quotes on Developing and Maintaining a Creative Company (from Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull)

  1. THE PIXAR WAY 37 QUOTES ON DEVELOPING AND MAINTAINING A CREATIVE COMPANY Photo: Creativity, Inc. cover / Disney Pixar FROM THE BOOK CREATIVITY, INC. BY PIXAR’S ED CATMULL
  2. “WE BELIEVE THAT IDEAS ONLY BECOME GREAT WHEN THEY ARE CHALLENGED AND TESTED.” Photo: The Incredibles / Disney Pixar (2004) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  3. “A HALLMARK OF A HEALTHY CREATIVE CULTURE IS THAT ITS PEOPLE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IDEAS, OPINIONS, AND CRITICISMS. LACK OF CANDOR, IF UNCHECKED, ULTIMATELY LEADS TO DYSFUNCTIONAL ENVIRONMENTS.” Photo: WALL-E / Disney Pixar (2008) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  4. “SEEK OUT PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO LEVEL WITH YOU, AND WHEN YOU FIND THEM, HOLD THEM CLOSE.” Photo: Toy Story / Disney Pixar (1995) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  5. “MISTAKES AREN’T A NECESSARY EVIL. THEY AREN’T EVIL AT ALL. THEY ARE AN Photo: Finding Nemo / Disney Pixar (2003) INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCE OF DOING SOMETHING NEW.” FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  6. “TO BE WRONG AS FAST AS YOU CAN IS TO SIGN UP FOR AGGRESSIVE, RAPID LEARNING.” Photo: Cars / Disney Pixar (2006) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  7. “FOR LEADERS ESPECIALLY, THIS STRATEGY—TRYING TO AVOID FAILURE BY OUT-THINKING IT— DOOMS YOU TO FAIL.” Photo: The Incredibles / Disney Pixar (2004) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  8. “TO BE A TRULY CREATIVE COMPANY, YOU MUST START THINGS THAT MIGHT FAIL.” Photo: Monsters University / Disney Pixar (2013) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  9. “THERE ARE TWO PARTS TO ANY FAILURE: THERE IS THE EVENT ITSELF, WITH ALL ITS ATTENDANT DISAPPOINTMENT, CONFUSION, AND SHAME, AND THEN THERE IS OUR REACTION TO IT. IT IS THIS SECOND PART THAT WE CONTROL.” Photo: Up / Disney Pixar (2009) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  10. “A MANAGER’S DEFAULT MODE SHOULD NOT BE SECRECY.” Photo: Ratatouille / Disney Pixar (2007) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  11. “YOUR EMPLOYEES Photo: The Incredibles / Disney Pixar (2004) ARE SMART; THAT’S WHY YOU HIRED THEM. SO TREAT THEM THAT WAY.” FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  12. “RATHER THAN TRYING TO PREVENT ALL ERRORS, WE SHOULD ASSUME, AS IS ALMOST ALWAYS THE CASE, THAT OUR PEOPLE’S INTENTIONS ARE GOOD AND THAT THEY WANT TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.” Photo: Finding Nemo / Disney Pixar (2003) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  13. “OUR JOB IS TO PROTECT OUR [NEW IDEAS] FROM BEING JUDGED TOO QUICKLY. OUR JOB IS TO PROTECT THE NEW.” Photo: Ratatouille / Disney Pixar (2007) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  14. “PART OF OUR JOB IS TO PROTECT THE NEW FROM PEOPLE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT, IN ORDER FOR GREATNESS TO EMERGE, THERE MUST BE PHASES OF NOT-SO-GREATNESS.” Photo: Finding Nemo / Disney Pixar (2003) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  15. “MAKING SOMETHING GREAT IS THE GOAL.” Photo: WALL-E / Disney Pixar (2008) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  16. “THE SYSTEM IS TILTED TO FAVOR THE INCUMBENT. THE CHALLENGER NEEDS SUPPORT TO FIND ITS FOOTING. AND PROTECTION OF THE NEW —OF THE FUTURE, NOT THE PAST— MUST BE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT.” Photo: Cars 2 / Disney Pixar (2011) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  17. Photo: Inside Out / Disney Pixar (TBD: 2015) “IT’S FOLLY TO THINK YOU CAN AVOID CHANGE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU MIGHT WANT TO. BUT ALSO, TO MY MIND, YOU SHOULDN’T WANT TO. THERE IS NO GROWTH OR SUCCESS WITHOUT CHANGE.” FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  18. “RANDOMNESS IS NOT JUST INEVITABLE; IT IS PART OF THE BEAUTY OF LIFE. ACKNOWLEDGING IT AND APPRECIATING IT HELPS US RESPOND CONSTRUCTIVELY WHEN WE ARE SURPRISED.” Photo: Brave / Disney Pixar (2012) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  19. “IF WE MAKE ROOM FOR IT INSTEAD OF SHUNNING IT, THE UNKNOWN CAN BRING INSPIRATION AND ORIGINALITY.” Photo: The Good Dinosaur / Disney Pixar (TBD: 2015) - Concept art FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  20. “WE MUST MEET UNEXPECTED PROBLEMS WITH UNEXPECTED RESPONSES.” Photo: Up / Disney Pixar (2009) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  21. “CHANGE IS INEVITABLE… WORKING WITH CHANGE IS WHAT CREATIVITY IS ABOUT.” Photo: Monsters, Inc. / Disney Pixar (2001) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  22. “IF YOU DON’T TRY TO UNCOVER WHAT IS UNSEEN AND UNDERSTAND ITS NATURE, YOU WILL BE ILL PREPARED TO LEAD.” Photo: Monsters, Inc. / Disney Pixar (2001) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  23. “ACKNOWLEDGING WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE… HELPS PROMOTE FLEXIBILITY.” Photo: Finding Nemo / Disney Pixar (2003) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  24. “THE MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO WORK IN THE SHADOW OF UNCERTAINTY.” Photo: Monsters University / Disney Pixar (2013) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  25. “I BELIEVE THAT WE ALL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SOLVE PROBLEMS AND EXPRESS OURSELVES CREATIVELY. WHAT STANDS IN OUR WAY ARE THESE HIDDEN BARRIERS—THE MISCONCEPTIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS THAT IMPEDE US WITHOUT OUR KNOWING IT.” Photo: Brave / Disney Pixar (2012) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  26. “I BELIEVE THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO JUSTIFY EVERYTHING. WE MUST ALWAYS LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN FOR THE UNEXPECTED.” Photo: The Good Dinosaur / Disney Pixar (TBD: 2015) - Concept art FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  27. “THE ATTEMPT TO AVOID FAILURE MAKES FAILURE MORE LIKELY.” Photo: A Bug’s Life / Disney Pixar (1998) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  28. “DRIVING THE TRAIN DOESN’T SET ITS COURSE. THE REAL JOB IS LAYING THE TRACK.” Photo: Toy Story 3 / Disney Pixar (2010) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  29. Photo: The Incredibles / Disney Pixar (2004) “IN MY EXPERIENCE, CREATIVE PEOPLE DISCOVER AND REALIZE THEIR VISIONS OVER TIME AND THROUGH DEDICATED, PROTRACTED STRUGGLE.” FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  30. “EARNING TRUST TAKES TIME; THERE’S NO SHORTCUT TO UNDERSTANDING THAT WE REALLY DO RISE AND FALL TOGETHER.” Photo: WALL-E / Disney Pixar (2008) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  31. “EASY ISN’T THE GOAL. QUALITY IS THE GOAL.” Photo: Monsters University / Disney Pixar (2013) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  32. “WHAT IS THE POINT OF HIRING SMART PEOPLE IF YOU DON’T EMPOWER THEM TO FIX WHAT’S BROKEN?” Photo: Cars / Disney Pixar (2006) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  33. “THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A CRISIS TO BRING WHAT AILS A COMPANY TO THE SURFACE.” Photo: A Bug’s Life / Disney Pixar (1998) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  34. “MANAGERS OF CREATIVE COMPANIES MUST NEVER FORGET TO ASK THEMSELVES: “HOW DO WE TAP THE BRAINPOWER OF OUR PEOPLE?” Photo: Toy Story / Disney Pixar (1995) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  35. “IT IS PRECISELY BY ACTING ON OUR INTENTIONS AND STAYING TRUE TO OUR VALUES THAT WE CHANGE THE WORLD.” Photo: Ratatouille / Disney Pixar (2007) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  36. “REAL IMPROVEMENT COMES FROM CONSISTENT RIGOR AND PARTICIPATION.” Photo: Brave / Disney Pixar (2012) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  37. “IT IS MANAGEMENT’S JOB TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO HELP OTHERS SEE CONFLICT AS HEALTHY —AS A ROUTE TO BALANCE, WHICH BENEFITS US ALL IN THE LONG RUN.” Photo: Toy Story 2 / Disney Pixar (1999) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  38. “A BETTER MEASURE OF OUR SUCCESS IS TO LOOK AT THE PEOPLE ON OUR TEAM AND SEE HOW THEY ARE WORKING TOGETHER. CAN THEY RALLY TO SOLVE KEY PROBLEMS? IF THE ANSWER IS YES, YOU ARE MANAGING WELL.” Photo: Toy Story 3 / Disney Pixar (2010) FROM CREATIVITY, INC. BY ED CATMULL
  39. Your complete guide to planning! and running a business.

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