Not only does Greg Brandeau’s name appear at the end of many Pixar Animation Studio movies, but his two daughters’ names appear in two as well. “They’re listed under ‘production babies’ in Cars and Monsters, Inc.,” says Brandeau. “Pixar did a really great job of making everybody feel ownership in making each movie.”
This, along with the sheer volume of the studio’s successes, stuck out to Brandeau, who first joined Pixar in 1996 as director of systems technology when it was producing A Bug’s Life, its second feature-length computer-animated film. Eventually, he became senior vice president of technology at Pixar, leading the transition to the digital “pens and pencils” that its artists use to create films. “After five blockbuster hits in a row, I started to wonder what Pixar was doing that was allowing us not to make a flop,” he says.
To learn the secrets of digital companies’ successes, Brandeau traveled worldwide with Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill, exploring companies in many different industries. They ultimately coauthored, along with others, a book titled Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation.
The book struck a chord with business leaders, who started contacting Brandeau and Hill for help. So in 2014, the two founded a consulting firm, Paradox Strategies. Today, Paradox’s team of experts use research-based innovation surveys to identify the factors preventing innovation and provide tools to overcome them.
“I realized that I used to be an engineer, but now I engineer organizations,” says Brandeau. “When you think about an organization, it really is a bunch of moving parts. How you get people aligned, how you communicate with each other, how you organize, how you manage your supply chain—all of these things are a result of individual people coming together and doing things that by themselves they couldn’t do.”
Much of Brandeau’s insight comes from his 20-plus-year career in technology in Silicon Valley, including the more than 11 years he spent at Pixar and two years as CTO for Walt Disney Studios. Before Pixar, Brandeau worked at NeXT Computer for Steve Jobs. He spent four years after MIT in the Air Force before earning his MBA at Duke.
Brandeau lives in California with his wife, Joan, and daughters.
This scientist now believes covid started in Wuhan’s wet market. Here’s why.
How a veteran virologist found fresh evidence to back up the theory that covid jumped from animals to humans in a notorious Chinese market—rather than emerged from a lab leak.
How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation
The tech giants are paying millions of dollars to the operators of clickbait pages, bankrolling the deterioration of information ecosystems around the world.
We still don’t know enough about the omicron variant to panic
The variant has caused alarm and immediate border shutdowns—but we still don't know how it will respond to vaccines.
NSO was about to sell hacking tools to France. Now it’s in crisis.
French officials were close to buying controversial surveillance tool Pegasus from NSO earlier this year. Now the US has sanctioned the Israeli company, and insiders say it’s on the ropes.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.