Use the Simpsons as a business inspiration plea to entrepreneurs


Companies should use the Simpsons as a creative inspiration for boosting their business performance according to a leading Yorkshire creativity expert.

The story of how the cartoon series has become a global success - from the smallest of beginnings to a worldwide film smash hit - provides valuable lessons for entrepreneurs, says Andy Green, who travels the world sharing his creative insights and working with major blue chip companies to help them achieve more with less.


Seven key lessons identified for aspiring business successes include:


1. Stick to your principles – Matt Groening created the Simpsons on the spur of the moment, prompted by the prospect of losing control of an earlier cartoon story that had been the love of his life. In your business identify your non-negotiable principles - and stick to them. 


2. Get inspiration from around you – Groening got the name of the Simpson clan from his own family who were called Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa.


3. Harness the equivalent of Homer Simpson’s catch-phrase ‘D’oh’ from your team. In the original script Dan Castellaneta, the voice for Homer, was just asked to provide an ‘annoyed grunt’. Businesses should allow scope and room for team members to innovate and make original contributions to the finished product.


4. Turn negatives into positives; when George Bush Snr. in his election campaign made a disparaging reference to the Simpsons being a ‘dysfunctional family’. Rather than be intimidated the cartoon makers turned into an opportunity to satirise the President and create a Simpsons’ legend.


5. Grow your product. The Simpsons is the longest running animated show in television history partly because it has always taken on new ideas, such as featuring guest celebrities, and now its latest innovation, a feature-length film.


6. Don’t be afraid of the half-baked – half-baked is better than no baked. Contributing guest stars are often given vague briefs to provide ideas for special editions of the show. Potentially great creative opportunities are often stifled because managers want an instant result or answer rather than nurturing ideas and allow them to develop.


7. Marry spontaneity with rigorous quality control; according to Matt Groening a joke has to pass muster about 100 times before it gets on the air. No matter how great you may think your business or service idea is, getting it fit for purpose ensures a great final product as well as hard-working word of mouth.


Commenting on the inspiration offered by the animated family Andy Green a partner with creativity@work and GREEN communications said: “The Simpsons provides a model for inspiration and lessons for any business wanting to be creative and more successful.”


Andy’s works include ‘Creativity in Public Relations’ the world’s first book on the subject and ‘Effective Personal Communication Skills’ both published by Kogan Page. He is co-author of ‘A minute with Tony Blair’ produced after a chance encounter with the former Prime Minister.


Andy is also the driving force behind the Wakefield Media Centre – which is believed to be Britain’s only moo-ing building, and the world’s smallest conference centre, a two-seater car which drives to communities to help people come up with creative ideas to overcome their challenges.