How often do you allow yourself to dream, immerse yourself in your ideal world? Give it structure, and form so you can inhabit the future you want for yourself?
If you think this is something you might need, then allow me to introduce you to the Walt Disney Creativity Strategy. A technique we used with participants towards the end of our two-day Career Development programme at the BBC. Going back a few years now, so thank Winnie for the recent reminder.
Giving yourself permission to dream is how I like to think about Walt Disney’s Creativity Strategy.
It is an approach that enables you to fully explore your dream before moving on to think through the practical steps required to make it happen and any potential obstacles. Based on the idea that there are three parts to creative thinking:
The Dreamer or Possibility (Blue Sky thinker)
The Realist or How to thinker (bridge building)
The Critic or What if thinker (identifying blocks)
Each part or stance requires that you step into a room (can be done by stepping onto a sheet of paper, but some movement is necessary), physically as well as emotionally and psychologically – so you inhabit each space fully.
Dreamer/Possibility Thinker – ‘this is what I want’ stance.’
In this room, you can use your intuition and feelings to respond to an issue or problem. You can be playful here and not worry too much about logic; that will come later. The purpose here is to generate solutions and approaches.
You can let go and step into the future you can imagine for yourself. Move about, permit yourself to step into the future you want. What do you see, who are you with, what can you hear? How are you living your values and beliefs? How are you using your strengths?
What would it take to let yourself go and step into your dream future, live it, breathe it, hear it, smell it?
To step into your ideal world that is as you want it without shutting yourself down too quickly.
What are you doing?
What do you see? What colours are associated with your dream?
What can you hear?
What do you feel as you access this dream?
Are there other people with you? What are they doing that lets you know you have succeeded?
What symbols do you associate with achieving your dream?
What are the opportunities, possibilities?
Once you have explored the dream, it is then time to move across to the next room.
The Realist/How to thinker – ‘this is how I can, stance.’
I refer to this as bridge-building – what will I need to put in place to get me from where I am now to where I want to be?
In this room, as the realist, you will assume that the dream is possible and focus on creating the plans and actions needed to make it happen—it is your chance to break the vision down into manageable chunks. It is an opportunity to establish timeframes and milestones for progress – define some short-term steps.
What do you need to do first?
How can you break it down?
What are the main components of your dream?
How will you know that you have achieved your dream?
When will you have achieved this?
What are the main steps and the timeframes associated with this?
What resources will you need? Money, time, social support?
Who can help you and how?
Once you have finished in the Realist Room, it is then time to move across to:
The Critic/Block thinking – ‘Change to’ Phase.
I think of this as identifying blocks – what might get in the way? What could go wrong? What might I need to do to mitigate potential problems, weaknesses?
As the critic, your role is to separate yourself from the vision and take a more distant objective view. You are here to prevent problems and ensure quality by identifying what is missing – to check how the idea or plan holds up under various, ‘what if,’ scenarios. You want to make sure the project is sound; there are no holes. You also want to keep what might work well – without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
What could go wrong?
What problems can I foresee?
Who could benefit if things go wrong?
Who might be threatened by your success?
What might stop me?
In conclusion, the critical thing to remember is that each room/stance is an essential part of the whole creative process and that getting stuck in just one or two is not going to lead to a successful outcome. You need to inhabit each room in turn.
Your dreamer without a realist cannot turn ideas into concrete plans, outcomes.
Your critic and dreamer without your realist are likely to remain stuck in eternal conflict with no obvious way forward.
Your dreamer and a realist might create things, but they may not work in practice, or the first problem might cause the whole project to collapse. Your critic will help to evaluate and refine the project, work constructively with the idea. They are not there to shoot it down in flames for the sake of it.
I hope this gives you some food for thought, and please click here if you want to read more about Walt Disney’s Creativity Strategy.
And if you want to work with a coach who can take you through this, please check out my website.
Until next time