In his recent book, Imagine--How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer studied the characteristics that have helped to make Pixar Animation Studios one of the most successful movie companies of all time. Since 1995, when Toy Story was first released, Pixar has created thirteen feature films, and each one has been a major commercial success. Along the way, Pixar also earned critical praise with twenty-six Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, and eleven Grammys. Why has Pixar been so successful?
Lehrer believes that it stems from its commitment to providing maximum opportunities for meaningful personal interaction between its writers, artists, animators, and computer engineers. Rather than isolate each of those groups in their own areas, Pixar encourages candid discussions of problems and ideas across disciplines so that new approaches are more readily discovered and implemented. Fostering these random interactions is so important to Pixar that it actually designed its headquarters building with only one set of bathrooms so that its employees are literally forced to see and interact with each other every day. As noted by Alvy Ray Smith, one of Pixar's co-founders, "We wanted people to want to learn from each other. That's always when the best stuff happens: when someone tells you something you didn't already know."
While the IADC is not a movie studio, when people ask me what sets our organization apart from other legal associations, I almost always point to the opportunities we provide for meaningful personal engagement among our members. While many organizations offer access to excellent CLE programming and on-line legal resources, the IADC really distinguishes itself by providing our members with multiple ways in which they can directly engage and learn from each other. By leveraging opportunities for meaningful personal interaction, our members' lives are enriched not only professionally but personally.
IADC's Midyear and Annual Meetings provide multiple opportunities for our members to interact and learn from each other in ways that go well beyond traditional legal conferences. At early morning Committee Business Meetings, our members focus on cutting edge topics in their particular fields of interest. More importantly, they also have the chance to engage each other "face-to-face" in exchanges that might never take place over the internet or through a telephone conversation. While our Major CLE Presentations are not designed for open debate among all the attendees, they are intended to present subjects that will promote additional discussion outside the walls of the conference room. We encourage spouses, partners and significant others to attend Foundation Forum and General Interest presentations at all of our meetings. This serves to further enhance the overall quality of our interactions and gives each of us a chance to share ideas and know each other better.
Our Annual Meetings also provide unrivaled opportunities for our families to engage with each other. The meeting locales take us to places that we might have never visited if not for the IADC. More importantly, when our families get together and share these experiences, it enhances all of our lives. We begin to see that although we are geographically diverse and may not have identical views on all issues, we still share certain core values and beliefs. While the internet, email, and social networking sites are wonderful tools, they will never be an adequate substitute for a face-to-face conversation with someone who is truly interested in what you have to say. …