The 3D model of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (above), set to open in June at Disneyland, and the computer model of Space Mountain (below) are just two of the techniques for planning innovations that Walt Disney Co.’s Imagineering division uses.
The changes mostly fall into the category of incremental innovations, but with an occasional conceptual breakthrough.
In most cases, gradual changes are all that’s needed to keep visitors happy, as I discuss in a column about the increasingly prevalent type of entertainment that I call “Welcome to My World.” It’s not new, but it has become increasingly important in modern culture, from the “YouTube” Web site to Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraft” online games.
It’s the basic format of any endeavor that attracts people by offering interesting variety within a familiar setting, whether that’s the “Second Life” virtual world, the “Grand Theft Auto” game, the “MySpace” online community, a favorite store with new fashions, a familiar newspaper with the day’s news, or even a familiar church service with a new sermon.
This format demands a different type of innovation from what engineers pursue when they develop a new product or find a technical solution to a customer’s problem. To innovate successfully in a “welcome to my world” format, the trick is to add novelty without losing what’s appealingly familiar.
Accompanying that column is my article about Disney Imagineering’s techniques for planning innovation.