The magic of 1943

Magic of 1943 - person playing jenga and moving a block

In a recent forum, I had the opportunity to share insights from our work with a group of technology executives. We were discussing how to best think about organizational alignment in a digital world. One thing I shared that struck me, as much as it did the audience, was an article a colleague showed me that was published in 2009 titled Walt Disney’s Creative Organization Chart.

This remarkable image shows an organizational design that revolved around the story ideas that Disney has worked on. And it was created in 1943! The Disney team knew then what many organizations are trying to address now – organizing around your products is much more effective than organizing around roles.


The very fine print at the bottom of the image stated “This chart designates operations not authorities” – in other words, there was still a need for decision making based on executive leadership, but that was not what drove the idea to market effort.