The Disney Creative Strategy

Fusing Imagination and Planning

We all want to turn our dreams into reality.

© iStockphoto/MartinNovak

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.

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.

In this article we'll explain the Disney Creative Strategy, and show how you can use it to realize your own ideas.

The Disney Creative Strategy

The Disney Creative Strategy is a tool for brainstorming and developing ideas. It involves using three sequential roles, or thought processes, namely the Dreamer, the Realist, and the Critic.

As you imagine and develop your ideas, you move from one role to the next, putting yourself into these different mindsets, so that you can better analyze what you're doing.

Below are the essential elements associated with each role:

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