Study Guide 10: Creativity

This guide will soon be available for purchase as an instant download for $5.95.

Guide opening:

Imagine yourself as a 13-year-old boy who wakes up one morning in a 30-something body. Suddenly you have to deal with the world as an adult, which means you have to find some way to support yourself. You’re a smart kid and play to your strengths, eventually landing a job in the computer department of a toy manufacturing company. You wind up thriving in this environment because you have an asset the real adults around you lack: you can think like the company’s customers. Tom Hanks stars in this charming film which is filled with business lessons that focus on marketing and creativity.

An excerpt from the plot summary:

The next day, a Saturday, finds Josh at the giant Fifth Avenue toy store, F.A.O. Schwarz, where he is trying out toys, playing with each “demo” model and carrying on just like the 13-year-old boy he is. Of course, this appears as very strange behavior to the store’s employees and customers, who see a 30-something man rolling around on the floor and playing hide-and-seek games around toy counters. But Josh isn’t the only “child at heart” in the store. He bumps into Mac, the boss, who says he comes to the store every Saturday just to watch kids play with toys. “You can’t see that in a marketing report,” he notes. “What’s a marketing report?” asks Josh, who truly doesn’t know. “Exactly,” answers Mac, thinking that Josh was making an astute comment on the limited capabilities of formal research. Josh and Mac talk about toys as Josh notes the strengths and weaknesses of several new items in the store. His in-depth and hands-on knowledge of each of the toys impresses Mac. At one point, in the film’s most memorable scene, the two men play a duet on a gigantic keyboard that fills a large portion of the display room floor. Together they tap out “Heart and Soul” and then “Chopsticks,” drawing a crowd of appreciative customers who cheer and applaud when they finish.

A winded, but stimulated and delighted Mac, then turns to Josh and asks him what department he works in. “Computers,” says Josh. “Computers!” says Mac, astonished. It is clear that Josh will soon be moving.

On Monday, we learn that Josh has been named vice-president in charge of market development. He will have his own office – a big one – and a secretary. This sets the office gossip grapevine in motion and rouses the jealousy of Paul. Josh has risen, overnight, from a cubicle to an office larger than Paul’s.

Summary of the commentary:

The commentary deals with the concept of learning to think like one’s customer. Examples of how this concept is realized at real companies (PARADE magazine, Denny’s, Print Marketing Concepts and others) are presented to illustrate the points raised in Big. The commentary explains the research techniques used by Macmillan toys and their real-life counterparts. Secondary topics include pricing strategies, personnel selection and office politics.

The commentary is supplemented by Breakout Boxes dealing with these topics:

  • Market Research: The Basics
  • Staying Close to the Customer
  • Pricing Strategies and Techniques
  • The Toy Business: It’s Not Kid’s Stuff

THE GUIDE also includes an essay that looks at business as depicted in the movies. For an introductory section on how to use the Management Goes to the Movies™ program, click through to Using The MGTTM Training Program.

This guide will soon be available for purchase as an instant download for $5.95.