What Your Team Can Learn About Innovation From The Simpsons

Creating the longest-running primetime animated TV series -- in which it takes nine months to produce an episode -- is more like IT management than you might think.

Ideas have to be based on their value, not who originated the idea. "Take your ego out of the job," Cohen said.

Lastly, Cohen told the audience that they shouldn't ever expect to be done. Innovation never ends, he said, and it's an iterative process. It takes nine months to create an episode of The Simpsons, including tightening, cutting and fixing the script, Cohen said. He tells the writers, "If 5 percent of the original content makes it onto the screen, you should feel proud."

That's not to say that Cohen's job is exactly like yours and mine. There are quite a few perks. For instance, few of us see our creations become cultural icons. A couple of years ago, he said, the BBC held an online poll to identify the "Greatest American." Homer Simpson won-followed by Abraham Lincoln. "Doh!"

Also, Cohen once got to whisper Hebrew into Mr. T's ear, so that the latter could pronounce his lines correctly. "If you ever get a chance to whisper into Mr. T's ear," Cohen said, "I highly recommend it."

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