The Disney Creative Strategy The Disney Creative Strategy was observed, modeled and developed by Robert Dilts based on his observations of the process Walt Disney used while creating. Dilts noticed that Disney had three separate approaches to his creative work and he alternated between these roles, which Dilts identified as Dreamer, Realist, and Critic. Each role has a distinct orientation in relation to the creative process: the dreamer is the place of free association, brainstorming and even fantasies; the realist is the place of action, of imagining putting the dreams into the physical world; and the critic is the place of testing the soundness of your idea??™s, checking in on what will or won??™t work. Creativity as a total process involves the movement between small and large bits of information, conscious and unconscious process and varied representational systems. The Disney creativity process involves the distinction and coordination of three stages or sub-processes: 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. A dreamer and a realist might create things, but they might not be very usable ideas without a critic. The critic helps to evaluate and refine the products of creativity. Everybody already has the dreamer, realist and critic inside them. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that the dreamer and the critic get into a fight. The dreamer and the critic go in conflicting directions until resulting often in ???in-action??™ of the dream/s. One of the biggest problems is that the critic doesnt just criticize the dream. The critic criticizes the dreamer. Its different to say, “That idea is stupid,” than to say, “You are stupid for having that idea.” (For more information on how to begin dealing with your inner critic, see my articles on Coaching and Gremlins) Part of why Disney could function so effectively is that he didnt criticize his team or himself; he criticized the plan to accomplish the dream. The point is that creativity involves the synthesis of different processes or stages. The dreamer is necessary for creativity to


form new ideas and goals, the realist is necessary for creativity as a means to transform ideas into concrete expressions. The critic is necessary for creativity as a filter and as a stimulus for refinement. The ???how to??? of the Disney Creative Strategy:

1. To start, set up three physically separate and distinct areas one for each role;
Dreamer, Realist and Critic. It is useful to have a facilitator to guide people through this strategy but it is not essential.

2. Next, decide what you want your focus to be. You can use anything: beginning a
project, writers block fun in your life. For today, we will use the focus of ???Success in 2009???.

3. Step into the ???Dreamer??™ space, look up to the right and envision great successes
in 2009. Now, this space of ???creativity??™ is void of any criticism, is void of any ???reality??™, it is simply dreaming, imaging, allowing yourself to imagine great success in 2009. 4. Step out of the ???dreamer??™ space and take some notes about your dream.

5. Step into the ???realist??™ space. In this space, you??™re going to ???try on??™ how your
dreams will work. Now, this is clearly distinct and different than how things ???won??™t work??™ (no worries, you??™ll get to that next!) In this space, you imagine yourself in your dream, feeling what it is like to be in your body in this future experience. As you imagine each scenario, see the action as if you were really there, out of your own eyes, hearing the conversations through your ears and hearing your own words as they come out of your mouth. 6. Step out of the ???realist??™ space and take some notes about your experience.

7. Step into the ???critic??™ space. In this space you get to ???let go??™ about all the things
that won??™t work about your dreams and making them ???real??™ with action. You take the role of the critic, envisioning yourself in the recalled ???reality??™ of your dream. Create pictures of you acting out the reality of your successful 2009.

8. Step out of the ???critic??™ space; take some notes about your experience.


9. Stand outside of the three spaces; review your experience in each of the spaces
by looking at each, then closing your eyes and stepping back into the experience for each space. Take any notes that may be useful.

10. Now, create an action plan (if you need help with this, there are some simple
ones on my website, click on the valuable resources button and go down to the free resources section). Creating an action plan has to do with setting your annual outcomes as well as your intentions; specific, measurable action plans and at minimum some type of quarterly check point both on your movement toward your goals as well as a reevaluation and setting of your intentions. I offer you this process as one of many ways for you to get more of what you want. You see, you deserve it all, everything you want, for no reason at all except that you exist. You and I are here to explore, have fun, succeed and enjoy this wonderful life of ours. I??™m here to help you to have it, all of it, and to love your life. Contact me at [email protected] and get more now.

I have included below excerpts from Robert Dilts Article ???The Disney Creative

Strategy??? and provided a link to the original article below. For those of you truly interested in NLP, I recommend reading Dilts work, he is a genius in the NLP field.

One of the goals of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is to make explicit maps of the successful thinking strategies of people with special talents like Walt Disney. NLP explores the way people sequence and use fundamental mental abilities such as sight, hearing and feeling in order to organize and perform in the world around them. The following statement was given by Disney as a description of his process for creating his stories: “The story man must see 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.”


From the NLP point of view this statement provides a remarkably clear description of the basic elements of Disneys creative strategy. It involves three distinct perceptual positions working in coordination with one another. “The story man must see clearly in his own mind how every piece of business in a story will be put.” In the first step, Disney describes visualizing of all of the elements involved in the story or project as a kind of gestalt. This would most likely take place through constructed visual imagery (Vc). 2. “He should feel every expression, every reaction.” Next, Disney describes putting himself into the kinesthetic feelings (K) of the characters in the story, experiencing the story from their perceptual position. 3. “He should get far enough away from his story to take a second look at it. In his last step, Disney switches back to the visual representational system. This “second look”, however, is from a different point of view than his initial visualization. He is re-viewing the story in memory (Vr) from a perceptual position that is literally farther away from his initial fantasizing and is serving a different purpose. Disney describes three different evaluations he makes on the story from this perceptual position:

a. “to see whether there is any dead phase.” b. “to see whether the personalities are going to be interesting and appealing to the
audience.” c. “He should also try to see the things that his characters are doing are of an interesting nature.” In summary, it is clear that one of the major elements of Disneys unique genius was his ability to explore something from a number of different perceptual positions. As one of his close associates pointed out: “…there were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming into your meeting.” Balancing the fundamental perceptual positions of the “dreamer”, the “realist” and the “spoiler” (or ???critic??™) in the service of a common vision is no doubt a fundamental strategy of all genius.

For the original article by Robert Dilts, visit: http://www.nlpu.com/Articles/article7.htm