My journal

The secret behind Disney’s creative work

Disney’s Brainstorming Method: Dreamer, Realist, and Critic

If you are a start-up, or just trying to come up with creative ideas, this could be a useful method to help you develop your lateral thinking. It is said, that film producer and innovator, Walt Disney used to think-up and refine ideas by breaking the process into three distinct chunks. The dreamer, the realist, and the critic (or spoiler).

The Dreamer

This stage was for fantasizing. Creating the most fantastic and absurd ideas as possible. No filter. Just wonderful, raw ideas. This stage was about “why not?”

The Realist

As the Realist, the Dreamer ideas would be re-examined, and re-worked into something more practical. It wasn’t about the reasons it could not be achieved, but only about it could be done. This stage is about “how?”

The Critic

The third stage he would become the critic… shooting holes in the ideas he had come up with.

It is said, the ideas that survived this process were the ones Walt would work on.

By compartmentalizing the stages, Walt didn’t let reality get in the way of the dream step. The realist was allowed to work without the harsh filter of a spoiler. And, the spoiler spends time examining a well-thought idea… something with a bit more structure.

When we brainstorm alone and in groups – too often – we tend to fill the room with a dreamer or two, a few realists, and a bunch of spoilers. In these conditions dream ideas don’t stand a chance.

Different Rooms for Different Stages

There is additional information that Walt went further, moving from one room to another as he shifted thinking. Using spaces specifically for each stage.

Imagine how powerful it would be if…

Conference Room A in your office could ONLY be used for dreaming? For coming up with the broadest ideas possible. No filtering. No realist or spoiler.

Conference Room B was ONLY for the Realist. Only finding ways to convert dreams to reality.

And, Conference Room C… for the spoiler and critic to help find any additional weak spots to be fixed before an idea goes live.

So many more ideas would get the chance to be refined and further examined for merit.

The risk? A few additional ideas that end up as bad ideas have a chance to be re-examined. The benefit… a few additional ideas that would have been tossed out as losers, are re-examined and end up as winners.

Try these three different roles next time you’re drumming up new ideas. Do your best to ONLY be in one frame of mind at a time. Ease the mind of your spoilers that they’ll have their chance with their chainsaws soon enough… If your team lacks the discipline to focus on only one stage at a time… break it up into different room.

Let us know how it works for you!

 


Thanks to www.idea-sandbox.com

Thinking of doing a poster template in Word?

I often get clients asking me if I’d set up a Word poster template for them. The reason they want it in Word is, obviously, to be able to keep creating posters more quickly and cost-effective than by using a designer all every time. That all makes sense.

However, here is the catch: the brief is to make their word-heavy posters have more impact, to ‘stand out from the crowd’ when  pinned on that busy notice board…

So, how do you explain to your client, in as nice a way as possible, that you can’t easily have something that has impact, yet allow anybody to edit and fill the template with too many words, thereby ripping the carefully formatted table apart?

I’ve just had another one of those requests and, having carefully formulated a response email (for what must surely be the hundredth time), thought it worth posting it here for future quick reference. There must be so many other designers out there getting the same request, and having to explain the same argument every time. So, this post is also for you. If you think I’ve missed out a point, do let me know!

This is the email I sent:


 

Dear client

Just a short note to lay out the challenges with Word templates:

  1. To make a text-heavy poster stand out is harder, as there is less space available for graphic elements.
  2. A clean and formatted layout can help make it look clearer and better presented – but will require a strict word count to be adhered to.
  3. Word docs can’t be printed with a bleed, so no colour can go off the edges.

And, depending on design, the options:

  1. The design could simply be about creating a clean layout to help the message look better than at present. This is the simplest option, as it could be done with the help of a table grid in the doc (no visible borders).
  2. For more colour impact, an option would be to have a header/footer/side strip that bleeds off the edges. A base sheet would be pre-printed (lie a letterhead), onto which the Word doc body template then gets overprinted.
  3. Another option is to set it all up as a form pdf with pre-specified text fields. This kind of template allows for tighter design/layout control by fixing font sizes, colours etc. It means everybody will have to work within the strict confines of the template. The point of doing it this way is that the simple word template in point 1 can be ‘broken’ by anybody ie. by adding too much text etc. The pdf can not be altered except for the fields allowed for editing.

The main restriction for any design template will be word count, word count, word count!

For a designer, working with a word doc is a bit like nailing jelly to the wall. All elements can shift about, simply by adding too much text etc

To create a clean and visually strong design designers use all sorts of tricks, but most importantly it is structure and layout. Allowing other users to then edit these structured layouts and add too much text is the biggest challenge with Word doc templates.
If the main point of this design is to make it by visually stronger and stand out more, then editing/cutting down text will be the most challenging part. Only by reducing the amount of text can more colour/graphics be added to the design of the template, and larger, more impactful headlines be used.
But enforcing the discipline of editing text is not easy. Which is why perhaps using the pdf option might be advisable, as it forces the author to edit the text to make it fit the set style, as excess text will simply not show.
In the end, the big challenge is flexibility vs design control. Which is why designers rarely work in Word docs, and prefer the control inDesign offers.

Don’t even start typing…

Remember all those Facebook rants you wrote and then wisely deleted before posting? Facebook’s been studying them to better understand your self-censorship behaviour.
That’s right. So even posts you never posted are now being tracked and noted. Big Zuckerberg is taking notes. This pdf report is worth a read.

If you promise to disrupt you get more funding…

Yes, startups that seek to “disrupt” get more funding than those that just seek to “build” a business.

Since its HBR debut in 1995, the concept of disruptive innovation—the process by which a smaller company with limited resources is able to launch a product or service that displaces established competitors—has been extensively incorporated into startup vernacular. Entrepreneurs often use a version of the phrase when launching products, raising funds, unveiling strategies, hiring teams, and engaging partners.

Yet we do not know much about how entrepreneurs are integrating the concept into their identities and what consequences this has for their startups.

Research has previously shown that “entrepreneurial identity,” or how one defines and identifies with his or her entrepreneurial role, affects a startup’s ability to amass key resources. So we aimed to characterize entrepreneurs’ identities according to whether or not they referred to themselves and their startups using the language of disruption, and then we looked at how this affected their ability to attract and retain two types of critical resources: financial and human capital….

Read the full article in the Harvard Business Review.

 

Richard Reed: how to turn your passion into a career

Want to start your own business?  Founder of Innocent Drinks Richard Reed explains how it pays to be prepared when starting out a new venture.

Start working on your plan

“Turning what you love into a career can be a series of small steps, not a massive leap into the unknown. While you’ve still got your regular job, spend some of your evenings, as well as time on the weekends working on your plan. It’s a bit like being a student – you’ve got to revise and prepare.”

Learn how to make the most of your spare time

“A fair amount of time passed from the day me, Adam and John (Innocent co-founders) came up with our idea, to when we actually handed in our notice. We used our spare time to work on our business plan, and make samples to sell at market stalls. We researched the shops we thought would be interested in our product, and tried and tested as much as we could to give us confidence.”

It helps to be cheeky

“Did I always want to come home from a hard day’s work and launch myself into my plan? Of course not. There were three ways I approached it. Sometimes I just had to get on with it. Sometimes I did decide to watch TV – I’m only human. But did I sometimes work on my own stuff during my regular job, when my boss wasn’t looking? You bet.

“You have to keep within the spirit of things, and certainly never be immoral, but it helps to start thinking creatively about how to get things done.”

Keep your home out of the equation

“I would strongly advise to any aspiring entrepreneurs, who are also homeowners: don’t gamble your home. Start squirrelling away as much savings as possible so you’re not at risk of losing your home in the process. And on that note, I would advise against using your home as the guarantee for the debt to start a business, it’s too risky.”

Enjoy the benefits of doing what you love for a living

“Doing what you love provides a better quality of life, helps you take control, and attracts like-minded people.

“I’m not for one second guaranteeing that setting up your own business will go smoothly, or that you should approach a career change without a clear direction. However, with proper planning the upsides of giving it a go are infinite – you gain all that learning and experience.”

 

 

 


First published in Travelers Companies

Your street on your chest?

Fancy a creative and unusual t-shirt? Then take note of this inspirational enterprise!

As the site says (in German):  raubdruckerin is an experimental street printing project that has been printing details of the urban texture of selected cities on streetwear, fabrics and paper. Printing is done by hand: on manhole covers, ventilation grids and other reliefs that the infrastructure of the urban landscape presents. 

The public space is regarded as a printing workshop and stage for unusual motifs that are often overlooked in everyday life. An imprint of the city, which takes away the hustle and bustle of mass production and also attaches a unique souvenir to the body of the people.   

The process of transforming an urban detail into a picture worn on someone’s chest can be considered a reverse street art. One part of the city is pulled out of its origin and brought to life in another context. By wearing the picture, people themselves become part of the project, opening up possibilities to stimulate perception of the relationship to our environment, to discover beauty where it would not be expected.

Enjoy and be inspired!

 

 

 

 

Relinking to an old idea: the basic income

“Ideas can and do change the world,” says historian Rutger Bregman, sharing his case for a provocative one: guaranteed basic income. Learn more about the idea’s 500-year history and a forgotten modern experiment where it actually worked — and imagine how much energy and talent we would unleash if we got rid of poverty once and for all.