The Disney Model was modelled by Robert Dilts, based on Walt Disney’s creative processes. His employees said that “there were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming into your meeting”*. Dilts developed this into what has become a technique for developing outcome thinking.
Without leaps of imagintion or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibility. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning Gloria Steinem
The Disney Creativity Model uses three perspectives on the same issue; that of the dreamer, the realist and the critic (“spoiler”). So, when developing an outcome, you too could try using these three perspectives to develop your thinking:
The dreamer might ask themselves questions such as:
- What am I trying to make or achieve?
- What excites and inspires you about it?
- If I could wave a magic wand and do anything I like, what would I do? How would it look? What could I do with it? How would it make me feel?
Then the realist would come into play and ask themselves questions like:
- What resources do I need to make this happen? (people, money, materials, technology, time)
- What is the plan?
- What obstacles will I face and how can I get round them?
And finally, the critic would look at both of these responses and moderate them into a feasible project. The beauty of the critic is that, a dreamer and realist can create things, but a critic helps to evaluate and refine the final products. The critic would ask questions such as:
- How does this look?
- What about the big picture? And the fine detail?
- How would this look to a customer/user/client/staff/an expert in this field?
- Is the best I can do?
- What would make it better?
And actually, you can adapt this model. For instance, I had a client who recognised that she brought a lot of her emotions into the office. This wasn’t useful when dealing with difficult members of staff, as she would beat herself up about what he would think of her personally. We adapted this model to look at issues from an emotional perspective, a management perspective and then reviewed it from the critic’s perspective. The client was able to use this technique to inform her thinking about her interactions and found that it not only moderated her response but also enabled her to be much easier on herself. Can you think of any other ways you could use this model?
*Ollie Johnstone and Frank Thomas, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation