Innovation at Cirque Du Soleil

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR269
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1985-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Cirque Du Soleil
Industry : Circus Entertainment
Countries : Canada

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"The circus is an unlikely place to find a paragon of innovation, but Cirque du Soleil isn't your garden-variety circus. And that's the point. The Montreal based performing art group reinvented the circus as a popular entertainment and reinvents itself with each daring new stage show. It's approaches to finding, training and retaining talent, unleashing creativity, and building a beloved brand look like elaborate tricks right out of one of Cirque's shows. But they are calculated risks, the result of intense planning."1

- Linda Tischler, Senior Writer and Former Managing Editor of New Media, Fast Company, in July 2005.

"One of the successes of Cirque du Soleil, and most certainly Guy Laliberte, is to have made possible the coexistence of business and art within the same company. When Cirque du Soleil began to be successful, Guy Laliberté wanted to reinvest the profits to diversify and plan for the future. Innovation and risk-taking proved to be the solution."2

- Chantal Cote, Senior Publicist, Cirque du Soleil, in December 2005.


On June 02, 2007, Guy Laliberte (Laliberte), CEO and founder of Canada-based circus company Cirque du Soleil (Cirque)3 received 2007 'Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year'4 award.

The award was given to entrepreneurs, who with their vision, achievement and leadership, provided inspiration to the corporate world.

Commending Laliberte for the work he had done at Cirque, Joseph Schoendorf, Chairman of the judging panel, said, "Guy has changed the face of entertainment and had a huge global impact.

The shows that Cirque du Soleil creates and performs have brought joy to millions.

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All of this year's entrepreneurs were exceptional, but Guy's commitment to his artistic vision and the passion he has for his work were what swayed the judges in his favor."5 Cirque was founded in 1983. Since its first performance, the company strove to be different from other circuses, by constantly coming up with innovations.

Till August 2007, Cirque's estimated revenues for the year were more than US$ 600 million with over a dozen shows running across the world at any point of time.

Every show presented by Cirque, was based on a central theme with a supporting storyline, amalgamating different circus styles from across the world.

The shows were presented by more than 800 performers, who were a part of Cirque's 3,000 strong work force. Starting from the recruitment of employees till the production of the shows, it had introduced many innovative processes.

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1] Linda Tischler, "Join the Circus,"Fast Company, July 2005.

2] Christopher Hogg, "Cirque du Soleil and the Future of Entertainment," Digital Journal, December 24, 2005.

3] Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Cirque du Soleil, which means "Circus of the Sun" in French, is a privately held entertainment company.

4] 'Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year' is considered to be the most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs all over the world. It recognizes the contribution of those people who have inspired others with their vision, leadership and achievement.

5] Anastasia Khutko, "Cirque du Soleil's Guy Laliberte Named Ernst & Young 2007 World Entrepreneur of the Year,", June 05, 2007.


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