Movies have been used in professional development for a long time, so it’s not uncommon for people that first hear about REEL to assume that we must be showing movies and using them as illustrations to make points. And so it was with my friend, Lucas. Lucas is VP of Innovation at a major corporation, and he had a creative goal in mind for an upcoming development day with his team. He wanted to use movies to foster connection and community within his team. Because this is the primary reason most teams come to REEL, this seemed like a good fit. However, Lucas also had his own idea of how the day at REEL could play out. “What if we do a REEL experience where I show my team my favorite innovation clips from movies like APOLLO 13 and THE MARTIAN,” Lucas exclaimed, “I would lead them in breaking each clip down into principles I want to get across to my team.” His hope was that using movies as his visual aids would lead to a shared experience that would bring unity, alignment, and a greater sense of belonging to the team.


I agreed with Lucas that both of his movie choices have great clips of innovation. “But you don’t need REEL for that. You just need some DVDs and a screen,” I gently pushed back. And then I asked him a question that would majorly impact the future of REEL- “would you be open to being a pilot group to innovate a REEL experience on innovation – one that could bring even greater unity, alignment, and belonging- by celebrating diversity?” The question made him curious, so I suggested this:
Step 1: Instead of using movies to make his talking points, how about we ask every team member to come to the table with their own favorite movies – their Top 10 movies?
Step 2: We could then ask each team member to select the best expression of innovation from within their top 10 movie list, individually.
Step 3: Rather than looking at only clips from 2 of his favorite movies, we would break down the clips each team member selected from their movies and find insights into the way they viewed innovation. In this way, they would have 12 (the number of people on his team) diverse expressions of each team member’s brand of innovation.

This bottom-up approach gave team members permission to express their individuality and diversity through their visual articulation of innovation. Because each team member would be finding what innovation looks like in their favorite movies, they would be drawing from a place that was more meaningful to them. Having Lucas show me APOLLO 13 (which is a movie that I personally don’t care for) and relaying innovation principles is quite different than me showing him what innovation looks like in MONEYBALL. In the latter, I am going to be much more invested, and the learning is going to be so much more lasting because I am connecting insights to images that I personally chose and love. My heart and my head are engaged. But more than that, my thumbprint/identity is engaged.


This is why before every REEL Experience begins, we always ask for the same thing – a participant’s Top 10 movies. Over the years, we have seen thousands of Top 10’s submitted to our web application, and to this day, we have never seen a list of 10 movies that is the same. Of course, we see the overlap. But even if I have Forrest Gump on my favorite movie list and you have it, too, it will be for very different reasons. We love this because it is a true expression of diversity. We do not seek to roll people nor insights up but seek the specificity of why a movie moves an individual. We seek to find how that movie is connected to that individual’s worldview and personal story.

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Author's Bio: 

George Krishton having over 5 years of experience into content writing, wrote articles globally for small and medium size business.