Mini Case Studies: Microsoft, Disney, Way-B

How we've used the unique unstuck approach to help the best be even better, including Netflix, Microsoft, small firms, and the best MBAs & PhD students.

Troy at CSI sharing a method for delivering new knowledge and leveraging experts' existing skills simultaneously.

We believe that smart people and great companies don’t need people to solve all their problems, often they just need "something special" to get them unstuck.

Unstuck is built on this philosophy. It is about working directly, efficiently, and joyfully with people and organizations. Here are few stories that represent the promise of the unstuck approach, and what it means to offer "something special" to already capable people.



When Disney Imagineering was trying to improve their guest experience, they didn’t need us to tell them the basics of emotions; they needed some new, very advanced ideas applied directly to their experiences so they could better play and imagine with those ideas.


We gave advanced them ideas on emotions, especially with a specific understanding of the temporal window of emotions. We helped them improve some tests they were doing at Disney World and designed tests for the premiere weekends of movies (Tangled, Tron Legacy, Pirates Sequel) to get them unstuck, improving experiences, developing new technology, and filing for a new patent.



When Microsoft was trying to reinvent their employee experiences for the virtual, they had the goal to make it the best in the world. They were a little stuck, but of course, they didn’t need all the answers. Before the large move to virtual they had a reputation for being the best in the world around lots of employee experiences and already had amazing virtual products and organizational behaviors. So, they just needed some special ideas, applied to their culture, to be the best in this new space.


We gave them powerful ideas that would be truly special to them and could be leveraged by their existing abilities. This included how to mix authentic onboarding with storytelling in the virtual, what parts of the growth mindset are good and what parts are total BS, what parts need be paired with additional theories like identity theory and social norms, how to make the emotion of “fun” a more regular experience in the virtual, and how to blend inclusion seamlessly into day-to-day virtual habits. Immediately, they grabbed the ideas, added their own touches, and put them into practice.

Student Stories


When my amazing undergrads, MBA, or PhD students are trying to tell their personal brand stories, they often get stuck. At this time, they don’t need me to write their stories for them; they just need clarity.


In my undergrad and MBA classes, I often do this through an interview-show-style exercise called, “What’s Your Always?” In this exercise, a student stuck on their story pretends to be on a TV show where myself and the audience ask them questions to eventually find their story using the “Always, Struggle, Discovery” three part story structure of most Disney movies. One time, a student even teared up as they gained clarity about who they were and what they were really “always meant to be.”



My past client WayB constantly got stuck with the development and roll out of their start-up. Why? Because they were trying to do something really new and amazing with sustainable products for parents of babies and young children. But, they didn’t need all the answers; these were veterans and pros, including the former CEO of Patagonia.


What they needed was consistent help through big challenges (the full brand story, communicating their values), medium challenges (naming a product), and small changes (how their latest Instagram post should look). So, every month or so when they got stuck, I provided them something to keep them moving toward what would be a blockbuster product launch.

stay unstuck,

Troy & Ian