Walt Disney Method

Walt Disney Method applies structured roleplay to assess an issue from three different perspectives (dreamer, realist & critique) to achieve innovative thinking and solutions.

Level of participation


Duration of participation process

Preparation: 1 month for invitations
Implementation: 0.5 days
Follow-up: Couple of days for analysis and documentation

Target group size

<25 people



Human resources needed

At least one person for preparation, moderation and documentation

The method: what is it, when to use it and what outcome to expect

The Walt Disney method supports participants to develop ideas for solving a problem, while looking at it from three different perspectives (dreamer, realist and critic). The different perspectives are endorsed by participants one after the other during strictly separated stages. Going through these three stages enable participants to see the problem under different perspectives and foster the development of innovative solutions. 

The method is very useful to work through conflictual issues, to force participants to adopt diverse ways of thinking on a specific issue and eventually to promote consensus building.

Decision-makers or NGOS will obtain innovative ideas on how to improve a product or a service. 

The process: how to conduct it in an in-person setting or online using a PC/laptop with video option

  1. Dream Stage: After having identified and contextualised the problem to the participants, you enter in the first stage: the dream phase. You invite participants to dream wildly during 15 to 30min and develop new ideas and create a vision on the issue/problem at stake. They need to provide innovative ideas without thinking about the feasibility. For that, a pleasant and relaxed conversational atmosphere should be created. Ideas should be documented by the moderator via a mind map or a white board. 
  2. Realist stage: During the realist stage, you should support participants to provide suggestions on how the ideas of the first phase could be implemented in concrete terms. Start by summarizing the various ideas developed during the previous stages and suggest some questions participants should answer during this stage, such as, what concrete measures should be put in place, what resources are needed for that, who should be responsible of implementing the measures etc.. During the 15 to 30 min discussion, you need to document the ideas on post-it or on a flip chart. For that, you can invite participants to change the room to create a real break with the previous stage. 
  3. Critique stage: In the critic phase, the implementation proposals are reviewed through constructive criticisms. You start by introducing the main results of the previous stage and ask participants during a session from 15 to 30min to review/complete or improve them. The focus of the discussion is here on possible problems and challenges linked to the implementation of the ideas. You should summarize participants’ key points of the discussion. These key points can be used for a new dream stage. 


Blended participation

You can organise The Walt Disney method either online or face-to-face or as one part of a broader blended participation process, for instance: via zoom, webex or Teams.

Digital communication

  • Mural board or miro board as an online white board to leave participants write ideas
  • Miro board offers for instance a specific template for the method: https://miro.com/templates/disney-creative-strategy/

Good to know

  • The Walt Disney method supports participants to develop ideas for solving a problem, while looking at it from three different perspectives (dreamer, realist and critic). The different perspectives are endorsed by participants one after the other during strictly separated stages. Going through these three stages enable participants to see the problem under different perspectives and foster the development of innovative solutions. 
  • The method is very useful to work through conflictual issues, to force participants to adopt diverse ways of thinking on a specific issue and eventually to promote consensus building.
  • Decision-Makers or NGOS will obtain innovative ideas on how to improve a product or a service. 
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