I’d been putting off seeing this film but finally watched it with my family on Thanksgiving. By mid-film, most my family had drifted out of the room, which left me and my 26-year-old son, who just happens to be a filmmaker.
Despite the movie being a full-on visual assault and conceived for those with snapshot attention spans, I couldn’t stop thinking about the film’s message about innovation and what it really means.
In the movie, the president is named Mr. Business. And he’s hell bent (spoiler alert) on having everything stay the same, so much so he’s built a machine that will spray superglue over the entire city. Meanwhile, an ordinary, instruction-following worker joins a group of master builders to save the world.
The master builders know that not everything is “awesome.” And they have contempt for the workers who follow the rules and can’t think without their instructions. The master builders can build anything from anything. And they’re not afraid to break the rules. That said, they’re difficult to work with, judgmental and arrogant. They want to throw out “the old” with the bathwater.
Modern workplaces can be very similar. Sometimes you have a group of people who follow the rules and can be counted on to complete daily tasks in an ordinary and reliable fashion. And then you have another group spearheading wild disconnected change without getting buy-in or basing the change on practical needs and resources.
At the end of the movie, the regular Joe saves the world. He doesn’t do it through some crazy unusable contraption; he does it by taking something ordinary and useful and making it extraordinary…making it special.
At work, the two groups must learn from each other. Without the rule-followers, a business’s foundation wouldn’t exist. Without the “master builders,” the business would stagnate. When working together, everything truly is awesome.