This post is a continuation of a previous discussion: R&D…Not Just for Tech Firms. If you are on a time-crunch, this one can be read on its own too, though I would strongly suggest you return to learn about how Research & Development can create more than the next phone or car.
As a lifelong Disney-geek, an easy way to send me into a “Mufasa!” frenzy is by leaning in and whispering the word, Imagineer. “Imagineer, Imagineer, Imagineer!”
Imagineers (ooh, do it again!) are the people behind creating Disney magic. From ensuring animation matches reality to creating a slice of the African Serengeti outside of Orlando, they bring ideas to life. Why did Bambi move just how a deer would? Imagineers studied small deer in zoos and the wild to gather all the intricacies of their behavior. How did they know Aladdin’s magic carpet would hold both his and Jasmine’s weight? Imagineers tracked down the oldest surviving magic carpets, then rode them with varying weights (turns out, a well-maintained magic carpet can fly with up to 500 pounds).
These are the people who dream it, then build it. The Epcot globe (Spaceship Earth) was an idea in the mind long before construction teams ever broke ground. In fact, it was said that it could not be done, that the supports wouldn’t hold it up. A giant geodesic sphere rolling through World Showcase was not the image Disney wanted the public to have. But there it is, time-traveling ride inside it and all. On behalf of many EPCOT (in the original all-caps) geeks, thank you Imagineers.
Disney is a place where magic and reality intersect for visitors of all ages. That’s no accident. Thousands, perhaps millions, of hours of brainstorming went into creating every attraction, process, and procedure to make the difference between a great experience and a magical one.
Look inside your own credit union. Do you have any Imagineers on your staff? Maybe they’re dormant because no one has asked for their input. Or they don’t feel it would be valued, since it’s not their department. Within the Imagineering department at Disney, every cast member is an Imagineer, from the master engineer to the front desk secretary. Talk about empowerment.
So, who’s your Imagineer?