Who and what inspire me?
Walt Disney is one of the most important creative sources in my universe. His way of structuring the creative process has had great influence in the way I work with developing ideas.
Another inspiration is his way of contemplating the small universes in his stories. He does not use a named castle where a princess is actually living, but an stereotype interpretation containing all the small things we in our minds and fantasy connects with a castle for a real princess. Developing concepts and ideas it is often a very good exercise to try to make this stereotype picture to enhance the selling points, benefits and drawbacks in the project.
When you hear the name ‘Walt Disney’ what comes to your mind? For many 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.
The Disney Creative Strategy, 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.
If you can dream it – you can do it!
When it comes to creative planning, it can be hard to find the right way to transform imaginative thinking into concrete business strategy. 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.
There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming into your meeting.
(Ollie Johnstone and Frank Thomas, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation)
Robert Dilts uses this statement as the basis of a brilliant analysis of Walt Disney’s creative process, in his book Strategies of Genius: Volume 1. He substitutes the word ‘critic’ for ‘spoiler’, giving three distinct roles that Disney played, each of which involved a particular type of thinking and action:
- The Dreamer – the visionary who dreamt up ideas for films and business ventures.
- The Realist – the pragmatic producer who made things happen.
- The Critic – the eagle-eyed evaluator who refined what the Dreamer and Realist produced.
More important than the individual roles was Disney’s ability to strike the right balance between them