Disney Shares the Secret of Happiness

February 6, 2014

Mention the word happiness and usually two brands come to mind, one of which is Disney (you’ve likely already thought of the other). Disney maintains this association through consistently delivering great experiences for all their stakeholders — an expertise they now provide to other companies through their own  consulting institute.  We are pleased to have Jeff James, general manager of the Disney Institute, at BRITE ’14 to talk about how companies can become leaders in providing happy experiences.

This little-known training and consulting arm of Disney was started almost 30 years ago, and the company now works with a wide range of organizations from Chevrolet to Florida Hospital. While the overall goal of most projects is to improve the brand experience, much of its activity is focused on the leadership and training efforts that are necessary to drive this kind of organizational change.

James writes regularly for his corporate blog, and a recent post focused in particular on what helps drive inspiration and creativity both as an individual and within an organization – key elements to sustaining happiness in life and work. He offers some sage advice about thinking small, “Remember that creativity is not always about the ‘big ideas.’ The biggest majority of the creative work you can do today is around incremental improvements that arise from the creativity surrounding the projects you are working on daily.”

When working with companies, it isn’t as if Disney can just wave a magic wand and immediately transform a company’s brand experience. As James told the New York Times, “Companies come in and say, ‘Just make my employees smile more,’ but you can’t take Disney and just plug it in. We can advise them on how to change, but the heavy lifting is theirs.”

We look forward to hosting James on our BRITE ’14 panel, “Possessions or Experiences: What Makes You Happier?” which includes perspectives from the worlds of business, economics, urban planning, and branding, on how organizations can, and should, contribute to the happiness of citizens, consumers, and society.

REGISTER NOW for BRITE ’14, March 3-4, Columbia University, New York, NY


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