Dreamer realiser Critic cartoon people

Creative Thinking - Team Development

Walt Disney Strategy


Not many people would dispute that Walt Disney is one of the greatest creative thinkers of our time and when I discovered that his hugely successful 'way' of being creative had been 'modelled' I was immediately hooked! And so were the people who I've introduced to this exercise.

I worked with a Management Team in a UK Council. They wanted to build a vision, and over just a couple of hours I facilitated their Dreamer, Realist and Critic. Here's an explanation of how the Walt Disney Strategy works covering more about using the Dreamer, Realist and Critic.

The location of their Dreamer was in front of huge picture windows high up in an Athletics Stadium in Oxford, overlooking the track - their Critic was outside the room in the cold, dark corridor - as you can already see, they really embraced the essence of the exercise!

They made a brilliant start with the Dreamer - with individuals telling about being on stage, playing their saxophone in front of a huge audience at the Albert Hall, another building their retirement narrow boat and cruising along the canals.

As they moved into the 'work' Dreamer, they stumbled slightly, a common occurrence, until I asked "What would the local newspaper headline be?" (which struck a real chord as that paper normally spends its time slating them). Whack! straight into Dreamer.

DREAM TEAM - the Council really makes the grade!

From then on they were on a roll. The Critic did a particularly good job of really crystallising not what - but what was NOT - in their way.

A few weeks later I learnt that the Dreamer, particularly, was still alive and well. They were still using the Dreamer, Realist and Critic language, new coaching behaviours had emerged within the team and one individual had used the Dreamer state personally and highly effectively during their promotion process - getting the job of course! And another said it was the most enjoyable afternoon they had had at work for at least a year.

Wonder what they would think of Disneyland!

They say...

The most powerful moment of the day was when Amanda took us through the Walt Disney Creativity Technique to help find our common goal. She unlocked passion, commitment, energy and camaraderie that was so powerful we physically couldn't move after the session. We were spell bound and bound together.

I can still recall that powerful feeling to this day.

Isobel Garner
Director of Community Services
Oxford City Council