Disney Creativity Strategy
– an NLP Tool
Walt Disney was very successful at
fantasies into reality.
Creativity Strategy was modelled and developed as
tool by Robert Dilts, an NLP pioneer and the author of
Strategies of Genius.
One of the goals of
is to model the thinking strategies of
successful people. Dilts defined this
particular strategy after analyzing Disney's methods for turning his
dreams into reality.
"Walt Disney's ability to connect his
innovative creativity with
and popular appeal certainly qualifies him as a
in the field of entertainment. In a way, Disney's chosen medium of
expression, the animated film, characterizes the fundamental process of all
genius: the ability to take something that exists in the imagination only
and forge it into a physical existence that directly influences the
experience of others in a positive way."
The Three Vital Roles
"There were actually
three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew
which one was coming into your meeting."
~ A Walt Disney's close associate
The Disney Creativity Strategy separates out
three vital roles –
dreamer, realist, and critic – involved in the
process of generating creating ideas and translating them into reality. The
roles are explored separately for maximum clarity and effect.
Let your mind wander freely.
Produce a visionary big picture with no boundaries, limitations or restraint. Ask
yourself "What do I really want, in an ideal world?"Do not let reality
come into your thoughts. This is
time. It will most likely engage your
visual imagination. Establish the payoffs of the idea.
This is about
organizing ideas to put your plan into practice. What would need to
happen to make it real? How could you do it? Think constructively.
Devise an action plan and evaluate it to determine what is realistic.
Ask Yourself "What will I do to make these plans a reality?" Establish
time frames and
milestones for progress. Make sure your plan can be initiated and
maintained by the appropriate person or group.
Test your plan, look for
problems, difficulties and unintended consequences. Evaluate them. Ask
yourself "What could go wrong?" Think of what is missing, what is
surplus, what the spins-offs will be. Define the context in which your
plan is workable and problematic.
Creating Stories: The
When creating stories, Walt Disney used 3
perceptual positions. Here is
how Disney describes his creative process: "The story man must
clearly in his own mind how every piece of business in a story will be
put. He should feel every expression, every reaction. He should get far
enough away from his story to take a second look at it...to see whether
there is any dead phase...to see whether the personalities are going to be
interesting and appealing to the audience. He should also try to see that
the things that his characters are doing are of an interesting nature."
Right Balance Between the Three Roles
More important than the individual roles was
Disney’s ability to strike the right
between them. "→
Creativity as a total process involves the coordination of
these three subprocesses: dreamer, realist and critic. A dreamer without a
realist cannot turn ideas into tangible expressions. A critic and a dreamer
without a realist just become stuck in a perpetual conflict. The dreamer and
a realist might create things, but they might not achieve a high degree of
quality without a critic. The critic helps to evaluate and refine the
products of creativity," writes
Walt Disney didn’t just play the three roles in
his head – he used them to counterbalance and direct the tendencies of his
team. If he felt the team were too bogged down in detail, he would become
the playful Dreamer; if they were in danger of getting lost in
pie-in-the-sky fantasies, he switched roles to the Realist.3