The core skill of a successful innovator is their ability to recover from disappointment and failure, to learn from it, and go again, to embrace and recover fom error, not avoid it. As Steve Jobs Pixar’s founder said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who can” in the now more famous 1997 Apple advertisement “think different” 

In this presentation by Randy Nelson,  Dean of the Pixar University, the in-house learning facility of that  innovation machine, Pixar, the things Pixar looks for in  a potential employee are outlined. My summary and thoughts are below, but it is well worth the time watching Randy.

  1. Resilience and adaptability are the key components of the ability to recover, and change direction in the face of negative results and failure.
  2. Look for people who have mastery of something to demonstrate the innate drive to be the best. A resume is usually just a wish, a promise, so probe for mastery of something, anything as an indicator that they have what it takes to be the best.
  3. Find people who are interested, more than they are interesting. Interested is an indicator of curiosity, a core competence in success.
  4. Collaboration is more than co-operation on steroids. A production line can be co-operative, the actions at one stage impact on the actions at a subsequent one, so you need co-operation for it to work well but it is a sequential thing, whereas collaboration is all about amplification, the sum is greater than the individual parts.  Individuals bring ranges of separate experience, knowledge, depth of understanding, depth of knowledge, breadth of knowledge that allows them to communicate on multiple levels, then collaboration can happen.