The Disney Creativity Strategy model is based on the notion that any planning process involves the distinction and coordination of three stages or sub-processes:

Dreamer: the person for whom all things are possible.

Realist: the person who is pragmatic and sorts things out.

Critic: the person who picks up on the bits that don't fit.


  • Duration
    Medium (about 30-60 minutes)
  • Complexity
  • Group size
    1 to 5 persons

This activity is suitable online.

Description Long

In 1994, the Disney Creative Strategy was observed, formalized and developed by Robert Dilts based on the innovation process of Walt Disney for creating unique and timeless movies on screen. In this method, the three stage thinking mode helps to build parallel thinking ability in order to create, assess, criticize and solve problems. This creative process bridges the gap between fantasies and reality, and therefore unlocks the mind's ability to create new ideas and solutions for existing challenges. Although the solutions may not be feasible in reality, Disney's creative strategy method aids to set a viable layout between dreaming and reality stage.



  1. Prepare the Dreamer's area in a comfortable environment. It should include all the creativity tools you and your team might need.
  2. The Realist's area will be less comfortable and more practical. It should provide the Realist's with all the tools they need to fully analyze the ideas brought in from the creative area.
  3. Prepare the Critics area in a small, uncomfortable room, without chairs in order to put people on edge to speak their minds. Additionally, this environment should be uncomfortable enough that no one wants to stay long for complaining or hanging out.


Online: one has possibly to accept that there are just three separate private online meeting roooms where people can sequentially enter and leave. It might be not possible to prepare them with some atmosphere.


  1. Start with the dreamer's area, which means to create ideas enthusiastically without constraints.
  2. The best idea(s) will be transferred to the realist area and its implication will be tested against reality. Ideas that fail are returned to the dreamer for revision.
  3. Ideas from the realist area are criticized in this step.
  4. Ideas that pass the processes of reality and criticism are considered as final solutions.

Hints from experience

In case of larger groups, divide them into teams for each role. Define clear rules for each phase explicitly. To emphasize on the distinction between the phases, you could get participants to change their environment, e.g. a different room.

Tools list

  • Labeling plates
  • Pencils, board markers
  • Computer/Laptop


Designorate,. (2015). Disney's Creative Strategy. Retrieved from www.designorate.com/disneys-creative-strategy/

Dilts, R. (1994). Strategies of genius. Capitola, CA: Meta Publications.

Elmansy, R. (2015). Disney's Creative Strategy: The Dreamer, The Realist and The Critic - Designorate. Designorate. Retrieved 5 August 2015, from www.designorate.com/disneys-creative-strategy/

Maass, W. (2012). Innovation Management - Creativity Techniques. Lecture, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. Retrieved from iss.uni-saarland.de/workspace/documents/ivm-7_creativity-techniques.pdf

Roberts, K. (2015). Disney's Creativity Strategies. Impacture.com. Retrieved 3 August 2015, from www.impacture.com/disney_product_development.html

Smith, A. (2010). NLP: The Disney Strategy for Creativity. Coaching Leaders. Retrieved 2 August 2015, from coachingleaders.emotional-climate.com/nlp-the-disney-strategy-for-creativity/

The CNC Project,. (2015). How would you use / market your CNC capabilities if you had Disney's Creativity Strategy?. Retrieved 3 August 2015, from cnctips.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/how-would-you-use-market-your-cnc-capabilities-if-you-had-disneys-creativity-strategy/

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