How Disney stokes an ‘imagineering’ corporate culture

A shared sense of history and purpose enables employees whose work might otherwise be at odds to come together and make magic.

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Theron Skees, director of creative development at Walt Disney Co., used that paraphrasing of the famous quote about the British Empire not to brag, but to explain his responsibilities to attendees at Ragan Communications’ Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference at Walt Disney World.

It’s not just the theme parks around the world, either. Disney creates experiences for people through hotels, dining, live entertainment, and cruises, too.

Each resort has what Disney calls an “imagineering” team that orchestrates the attractions. That term, a combination of imagination and engineering, means a lot to Disney. It encapsulates its corporate culture.

“It really talks about who we are,” Skees said. “We’re all the great parts of the left brain, which is organization, functionality, finance, delivery, keeping things on time and on budget, and then, every part of the right brain, which is all the creative function, which doesn’t really care about gravity or budgets.”

About 140 different disciplines fall under the umbrella of Imagineering, he said. They run from ideas and design to construction and maintenance. Disney brings those disparate jobs together with a shared sense of history and purpose.


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