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Innovation and Imagination

What if? It’s the question where many wishes begin. It’s an open invitation to dream, to imagine and to create. It’s the birthplace of new ideas and hope for the future.


This month, we’re celebrating the people who asked, “What if…?” and sharing stories of limitless imagination, and the innovation that makes them possible.

At the Heart of Innovation: The Walt Disney Company and Make-A-Wish®

The Walt Disney Company’s Commitment to Wish Kids Goes to Infinity and Beyond


Since the very first wish in 1980, The Walt Disney Company and Make-A-Wish® together have granted more than 120,000 life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. In 1983, the Metro New York chapter of Make-A-Wish granted its first two wishes, one of which was a wish to go to Walt Disney World® Resort. Today, 1 in every 2 wishes granted in Metro New York is granted by our friends at Disney.


The numbers alone, however, do not tell the entire story of Disney’s transformative support of wish kids and their families. Each Disney wish is a reminder of the power of a wish to invoke a child’s imagination and the mental stamina that it provides a child to think beyond their illness to what is no longer impossible. Wish Kids’ imaginations are endless and Disney’s dedication to granting even the most innovative wish is priceless for a child fighting a critical illness. Afterall, innovation is at the heart of Disney’s business and Wish Kids can prove it.


For Wish Kid Gillian, her imagination is at the forefront of her incredible artistic ability. An avid drawer, when asked about her wish, being a Pixar animator for the day was at the top of her list. In April, Gillian and her family traveled to San Francisco to visit Pixar Headquarters and get a behind the scenes look at the innovation behind Pixar. She met animators, toured Pixar studios and even got a preview of a yet to be seen movie! Her mom described the power of Gillian’s wish as a trip that inspired the entire family to start looking to the future with hope after a really tough year.

How Non-Profits Can Improve their Process for Better Outcomes:

A Conversation with John Perry, Process Improvement Manager, Make-A-Wish Metro New York


Nonprofit organizations are an integral part of our communities, promoting a mission that can enhance public welfare and building social cohesion. Nonprofits are legendary for their ability to work with meager budgets and small staffs. Therefore, when process improvement techniques are deployed, it can help a nonprofit achieve more with the same, or oftentimes less, resources. 


Q: What is Lean Six Sigma/process improvement?


A: Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement practice most commonly used in large-scale manufacturing and healthcare industries to improve performance quality and operational efficiencies while reducing costs. The Lean Six Sigma process emphasizes the removal of waste to streamline work processes.  Recognizing the ROI, Lean Six Sigma has evolved to serving more service-based industries such as healthcare and government – and now nonprofits are getting involved in this practice.


Q: Nonprofits are notoriously lacking in resources and capacity. How does improving a process help solve for this?


A: In nonprofits, the human capital element is critical, and you can’t implement efficiencies without a collaborative, constructive, radical-thinking approach because every process or improvement has such an impact on internal and external stakeholders. Most nonprofits are consistently focused on generating fundraising revenue through stewardship and process improvement, supplements that work by maximizing the dollar value – with reducing costs and implementing operational efficiencies – which can stretch each donation that much further, resulting in the granting of more wishes.

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