Walt Disney – Creativity Lesson

When the word ‘creativity’ is used, we generally understand it as the ability to create something physical and unique. Creativity is often taken in the context of art and literature. But there is more to creativity than that. In our life and our job the only thing that is constant is change. Our ability to deal with changes dexterously is called creativity. It requires us to be willing to step away from easy answers and quick solutions and to look beyond the familiar into uncharted territory. Ultimately, creativity is about risk and courage.

Every aspect of life requires us to be creative. As circumstances change, we should be able to dance in the moment.
There are numerous instances of people who can teach us and inspire how to be more creative. One of the most intriguing is sure Walt Disney. Walt Disney’s chosen medium of expression, the animated film, characterizes the fundamental process of all successful creative people: the ability to grasp, synthesize and simplify very basic yet quite sophisticated principles.

Disney wasn’t just a creative thinker. As a committed Realist, he made things happen – and even his dreams were rooted in reality.
One of the Disney’s animators said:

“There were actually three different Walt’s: the dreamer, the realist and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming into your meeting“

Robert Dilts noticed that Disney had three separate approaches to his creative work and he alternated between these roles. Each role has a distinct orientation in relation to 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.”

Dilts believes that we each have a part of us that can identify with these roles. However, some of us are more of one than another.

What happens if we don’t find a balance?
“A dreamer without a realist cannot turn ideas into tangible expressions. A critic and a dreamer without 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.”

The question is how you can use Disney’s Creativity Strategy in your everyday life and business to become more succesful?
Every creative projects needs to incorporate the three aspects of creative imagination, practical action and critical refinement. For each project you work on, make sure you cover all three bases.

The questions may help you:
1. The DREAMER questions:

  • “What is it that you want to do?”
  • “Why do you want to do it?”
  • “What are the pay-offs?”
  • “When can you expect them?”

If you could have a magic wand and do anything you like – what would you create? How would it look? What could you do with it? How would that make you feel?
Attitude: Anything is possible.

2. The REALIST questions:

  • “How specifically will these ideas be implemented?”
  • What’s your plan?
  • “How will you know if the goal is achieved?”
  • What resources do you need to make this happen – people, money, materials and technology?
  • “Who will do it?”
  • “When will each step be implemented?”
  • “Where will each step be carried out?”

Attitude: Act ‘as if’ the dream is achievable.

3. The CRITIC or EVALUATOR questions:

  • “Who will this idea affect and how will it affect them?”
  • “Why might someone object to this idea?”
  • What obstacles will you face? How will you overcome them?
  • “Where and when would you not want to implement your idea?”

The critic defines the context in which it may not work and preserves any positive aspects of the present situation, defines any refinements.

You can only get so far by trying to play all three roles yourself. You can achieve much more by partnering with people whose natural strengths complement your own.

Use Disney’s Creative Strategy to improve your life and your work and don’t forget to keep looking forward, opening new doors and doing new things. Create your stories! Create your success! Create your life!