The Disney Creative Strategy to Elevate your Business Adventures

When it comes to creating the elements on your AddVenture Brand Roadmap, it can be hard to get your mind into creative gear if you do not see yourself as a creative genius! Fear not. In the end most of it is in your mind! You are what you think you are!

I can hear you say: “Yeah right, easy for you to say who has been in the creative industry for over 30 years!” And yes, to some extent you might be right. But as with anything in life, it helps if you have a couple of pointers. And I believe the Disney Model is one of the best tools that you can use.

You need to dream big in order to come up with possible ways of solving a particular problem. At the same time, you need to be able to focus on the detail needed to put your plan into action successfully.

Getting the right balance between these two aspects is a real challenge, but you can learn a lot about how to do just that from one man, who not only mastered the technique but used it to create a legendary billion-dollar empire.

When you hear the name Walt Disney™ what comes to your mind? For lots of people it will be that famous animated mouse he created, and the joy he’s brought to millions of people through his films. But many consider Walt Disney™ to have been just as much a business genius as a creative one. Closer inspection shows that much of his success was thanks to having a very specific approach to realizing his dreams.

Known as the Disney Creative Strategy, it was originally formulated by Robert Dilts, a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) expert. One of the goals of NLP 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. He details the strategy in his book, “Strategies of Genius: Volume One,” published in 1995. [1]

Below is a summarized version of the Disney Creative Strategy, and how you can utilize it to create new and unique marketing ideas.

The Disney Creative Strategy

The Disney Creative Strategy is a NLP tool for brainstorming and developing ideas. Essentially it uses three different roles, or thought processes, namely the Dreamer, the Realist, and the Critic. And each role is vitally important to the process.

You can implement it with different people in different roles, or if you are on your own, you can move from one role to the next, putting yourself into these different mindsets.

Below are the essential elements associated with each role:

  1. The Dreamer 

    Taking on the Dreamer role in this first phase, you and your group focus on free association and brainstorming of ideas. Anything goes here. It’s your chance to let your imagination run wild!
  2. The Realist 

    Next, it’s time to be realistic and decide which of your ideas are actually possible or practical. What would you need to do in the real world in order to make them happen?
  3. The Critic 

    Here you need to examine your chosen proposal and its real-world implications from a more critical viewpoint. You want to make sure that your plan is as comprehensive as it can be. Every detail needs to be scrutinized and refined.

The Disney Creative Strategy, used with permission from NLP University. ‘Strategies for Genius’ and a recording of Robert Dilts describing the exercise are available from Journey to Genius.

Sound planning requires innovators to take on all three roles, and work through them in order. Some of your team members may be more naturally disposed to one or another role, and you need to make sure you balance the process so that all roles are used. Not enough emphasis on The Critic phase may mean you produce unrealistic proposals that are doomed to fail. Equally, if you skip The Dreamer stage, your plans could well lack the imagination needed for true innovation to take place.

It’s likely that you’ll only be really successful in your planning when you work through all three roles in the correct sequence.

How to Use the Tool

So, how do you actually use the Disney Creative Strategy?

Step 1: Create Space

If you have the space, it can be helpful to use a different room or space within a room for each phase. This will help you and your team to switch mindsets and move into each different role. And it’s also vital that someone is in charge of documenting each stage.

Step 2: Step Into The Dreamer

Once you’ve gathered your team, make sure everyone is clear that you’re starting with The Dreamer role. Each person should feel free to brainstorm and bounce ideas around during this time. Don’t introduce any limitations here. Avoid mentioning budgets, time frames or rules. If you and your team could do anything with this project, what would you most want to do? What ideas really excite you?

Step 3: Transition to The Realist

Once you’ve given everyone plenty of time to brainstorm ideas, it’s time to switch to The Realist role.

In this phase, you’re going to refine and adjust your ideas to make them more concrete. This is when your team will focus on taking action: planning, scheduling, and evaluating the idea or ideas they find most promising.

Step 4: Transition to The Critic

In this last phase, you and your team must look at your ideas from a critical point of view. You need to question and test every step of the process, pretending you’re a “naysayer,” and trying to find fault with any proposition. Your goal is to criticize and refine your plan until it’s as good as you can get it.

Make sure you allow enough time at each stage for ideas to fully develop. Moving from one phase to the next too quickly can stifle people’s imagination.

This process can be repeated until you are satisfied that you have reached the desired level of creativity that is fine-tuned to give you a solution or idea that you can implement into your project.

Give our team a shout or join our next Creativity Workshop!!

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive your Elevator Pitch Template!