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Walt Disney Method

Creative with dreamer, realist and critic

The Walt Disney method is a creativity method in which a person or a group illuminates a task from three different perspectives. The method goes back to Robert Brian Dilts, an American author and neuro-linguistic programming consultant who wrote about the world-famous illustrator Walt Disney: “…there were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler”. The Walt Disney Method (also known as the Walt Disney Strategy or Disney Method for short) thus distinguishes three roles:

  • The dreamer is enthusiastic and approaches the task with questions such as “What would be nice?”, “What would be the optimal situation?” or “What would I wish for? The dreamer assumes that everything is possible.
  • The realist takes a pragmatic approach and asks himself which materials, which knowledge, which techniques there are with which the thoughts of the dreamer can be realised. Sometimes the realist is also called the doer.
  • The critic challenges the approaches of the dreamer and the realist by identifying opportunities and risks, pointing out limits and gaps, and expressing constructive and always positive criticism. The critic’s behaviour helps to identify possible sources of error.
Walt Disney Method with Dreamer, Realist and Critic

Single technique and role play

The Walt Disney method works as a single technique, in which a problem is regarded by a person one after the other as a dreamer, realist and critic. As a role play in the group, different people take on the individual roles that they go through in subsequent rounds until each participant has taken each role once and/or a solution to the problem has been found.

As a result of the Walt Disney method, a list of answers to the following questions could be drawn up:

  • What dreamlike ideas should be pursued?
  • What realistic steps should be taken next?
  • Which points need to be considered urgently during the implementation?

Notes:

In some variants of the Walt Disney method there is a fourth role: the neutral. He is an observer and consultant and supports both the orderly process and the concrete participants in their specific roles.
With brainstorming, brainwriting and brain dumping, there are other creativity techniques for brainstorming ideas. You can find an assessment of these methods here  »

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