The film industry has a reputation for being a license to lose money, but the creative ways in which it reinvents itself create a buzz. In addition, the industry’s focus on teamwork is rare in the professional world. Other industries have much to learn from Hollywood.
Although most film studios in Hollywood—the area considered to be the center of the US movie industry—have not experienced the spectacular returns of startups or the steady returns of established firms, they offer valuable lessons to other industries. In today’s knowledge-based economy, managers are spending more time managing erratic “stars,” consumer companies are focusing on a narrower range of successful products, and the pace of innovation in products and brands is ever increasing.
How Is This Article Useful to Practitioners?
The author draws important business lessons from Hollywood—for example, creativity, innovation, teamwork, marketing as a core activity, a focus on select products, coping with failures, the importance of honest feedback, and professional business management.
Film professionals in Hollywood understand how to work with creative people by avoiding the trap of stifling that same creativity. Teams in Hollywood have a sense of control and pride in their projects and collaborate well—in part because they have little job stability—which leads to greater productivity. Similarly, most Hollywood teams are open to modifying their products and packaging in response to reviews or constructive criticism.
An important lesson offered by films and startups in Silicon Valley is to consider the value of failure as a learning experience and to move on to the next project. Another insight is to look for products and ideas that can achieve a global audience in a short time and also to consider marketing as a core part of the project, not merely as an afterthought.
Hollywood studios have survived almost a century of threats from new technologies, such as television and the internet, and have pivoted to quickly adjust their products to fit the changing dynamics of consumers—a core feature of today’s business environment.
The author provides insights into what we can learn from Hollywood and the importance of these lessons in almost everything we do.