Vision Verses Execution

As an Imagineer with the Walt Disney Company I realized a life long dream of working for the greatest entertainment company in the world. One of my first life lessons as an Imagineer was to understand the difference between vision and execution; we often spoke about the “Imagineering Sky Crane”.   It was the imaginary crane holding some cool object suspended in mid air because it made the rendering look cool! There is a lot to be said about a great piece of art but if it can not be realized it is just fantasy and has little value in the real world except for being a piece of art. A successful Imagineer must balance the dream with the reality.

So many times clients will start a creative conversation with me with this quote “remember we are not Disney”.   I often reply you mean you don’t want to be successful, or the leader in your category and they say no we just don’t have those budgets. Usually the creative process has nothing to do with a budget but as is an exploration in what the client wants to achieve. Disney like any company must respect the value of their investment; and of all the companies I have worked with they adhere to a budget and schedule as well as anyone. I was always proud to have completed an attraction on budget and ahead of schedule, which I accomplished at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I also learned it was a team effort and no one person can do it alone. Working on a creative team also meant that everyone had the same goal and understood the value in every decision and was not working to undermine the end product. I have been very disappointed in my 30 years developing projects to see many great projects be “over value engineered” to the point they lost their value and simply never performed to their potential.

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In the Caribbean we see this “over value engineering” way to often; that after a project is designed, unassociated and un affected third parties begin to value out critical elements and see their goal to simply reduce price at any cost. Many times that cost savings kills the value of the investment and may lead to a business enterprise closing due to non-performing. No one ever lays blame to the value engineer or the quantity surveyor but will say it was a “bad idea”.   Value is a key critical success factor in any business and it must be recognized by the consumer and will reap the benefits of intent to return.   Vision when sold must be managed by the creator through out the process to insure the value is retained even if reductions in some items are made but not at the expense of the projects essence or the guest experience.

Dream On!