The 3 Creative Methods

The Disney Method

Walt disney was a pioneer by all measures, and was talented in discovering creative ideas and converting them into reality. Based on a close associate, he used to say “There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming to the meeting.”

The strategy is based on three main stages; the dreamer, the realist and the critic. Each stage represent a style of thinking and the process is sequential. 

The Dreamer

The first stage allows the team to share their dream without no restrictions or criticism which helps build a pool of creative ideas. Some of these ideas are viable and others are not. Determining the viable creative concepts comes later as a result of the second and third thinking styles.

The Critic

The team changes the location and mode of thought to think in a more logical planning style. Based on the first stage, the team assumes that the dream is a reality and begin making arrangements to make it a reality. The plan's goal is to transform the fictitious concepts into a workable action plan. During this stage, all thoughts should be constructive and focused on converting the idea into a viable plan.

The Realist

Following the creation of an action plan to make the idea a reality, the critic thinking mode seeks to identify the challenges to implementation and how to overcome them. During this session, the team delivers a critical evaluation of the proposal in order to identify and address any flaws in the final solution.

Six Hat Method

Also known as De Bono’s six thinking hats, this method was introduced in 1985 by Edward De Bono in a book with the same name. Solving problems using the six thinking hats model requires looking to at problems with different types of thinking.

Each type is represented with a hat color, and at the end of the discussion session stakeholders should have better understanding to the problem from different approaches in order to reach creative and innovative solutions.

Six Hats

White Hat

This hat represents the available facts and knowledge regarding the topic or argument. During this section, the information is conveyed and notes are taken. 

There should be no further progress in the thought process. In this section, questions such as "what is the accessible information?" and "what are the facts we have?" can be asked.

Yellow Hat

This hat represents the sun or an optimistic mood. Common questions include “what are the advantages of applying the solution?” and “why do you think it is workable?”

Black Hat

Wearing the black hat causes guests to consider the problem or recommendation with caution and defensiveness. The goal of this section is to identify the downsides and cons of the suggestion, as well as why the concept may not function logically. 

By focusing on the warnings, hazards, or cautions, stakeholders can isolate the logic and think about the solutions in the yellow box. During this debate, the following questions can be raised: "What are the risks?" and "Why is the suggestion not working?"

Red Hat

This hat is all about the thoughts and gut reactions to the subject. The goal is to understand the emotional emotions that arise, but it's not about understanding the reasoning behind the emotions. 

Common questions include "how do you feel about the suggestion?" and "what is your gut reaction to the suggestion?"

Green Hat

This hat ignites critical thinking to look at creative solutions for the problems or look at the recommendations from a creative perspective.

Blue Hat

This hat ensures that the six thinking hat process guidelines are followed and helps steer the process in the right direction. If there are no ideas, for example, the facilitators can move the debate to the green hat option. 

During debates, the blue hat serves as a control hat; it can also serve as a moderation hat before and after each circle of thought.

The Reverse Brainstorm Method

Instead of asking how to solve the problem, reverse brainstorming focuses on what causes the problem or how to achieve the opposite of what is expected. 

This strategy assists the team in understanding the problem and highlighting suggestions for solving it, in addition to other ideas addressed throughout the discussion. For example, the team considers how to increase the cost rather than how to lower it... and so on.

Step 1

Clearly identify the problem that needs to be solved by the end of the group meeting.

Step 2

Reverse the expected process. For example, ask the stakeholders questions such as “How can we make the problem worse?” instead of “How can we solve it?”

Step 3

Collect all the reversed solutions. All the ideas are acceptable without any criticism.

Step 4

After reaching the cases that make the problem worse, flip these cases to reach the best fixes for the problem.

Step 5

Judge and evaluate the results to reach one best solution.

The above steps start and end in a similar matter to the ordinary brainstorming process. However, the inner steps are reversed to reach the best solution through understanding the worst cases.

I learned about the 6 hat method at the beginning of the year from our new boss. He explained it in great detail and we went through it, step by step in our attempt to find solutions for a project we were working on. He encouraged us to speak our mind, nothing was off limits and we were all very supportive and friendly. I especially liked his idea of going on a walk for about 2 hours and just thinking about each hat and taking notes as ideas came to us.

I couldn't believe that we were actually on a walk, in the park, on a Monday morning. It was so refreshing and my wheels were really turning and we all got so many ideas. Of course many ideas didn't make the cut eventually but some did and the whole process was a pleasure to go through. We were actually energized by the end of it instead of feeling tired and stressed. So this works very well if you do it right, without added pressure. And go on a walk - it brings out so many ideas you won't believe it.

I've never heard of this method but I love it and I will surely adopt it from now on. If only I knew of it a few years back...

Going through all the hats will allow a bird's-eye view of the problem and its multiple solutions. Yet the Reverse Brainstorm Method seems essential because it will give out a list of potential things that could go wrong or how some problems can turn into bigger ones. Once you know potential problems (not all of them as you can never predict everything) you can find solutions. Having plenty of solutions for most problems that can arrive will give a certain confidence that it can be done and no matter what happens, it can be fixed.

Thank you for sharing this, Michael!

I love these ways of looking at a problem. The Six Hat Method seems like a perfect method to teach students when looking at an issue.

These are some brilliant actionable pieces of advice you've shared. I can see how each one of them could apply (or work together) depending on the situation. I actually didn't know that about Walt Disney but I'm not surprised that he worked that way. I mean look at Disney today! A huge success and it wouldn't have happened without him.

These are some amazing methods! I could even see all of these being used as a method for influencers to brainstorm on content or even as an outline for the content itself. Such versatile idea that the possibilities are endless !!

I love these different brainstorming ideas! It's easy to get stuck into one way of thinking and forget there are fresh and innovative methods of learning and growing. I like the idea of creating a space where people can throw out their "big dream" ideas without fear of criticism. I'm a believer that big things happen with big dreams, and though those dreams will likely evolve to look completely different than when they started, it all starts with a big idea. Giving permission for people to express themselves freely and creatively is the only way to accomplish those big goals!

Im definitely the Disney person when it comes to my small business. I can look at projects and see them through the dreamer method. What I can make, the finished product, making lots of money. Then I go into critic mode, Will others like this idea, How much will it cost, Will the price be worth it vs how much I get out of the product? Then the realist takes over and gives the final approval for any project. Anything that doesn't get the green light goes into my dreamers journal because who knows maybe it will become a reality in the future.

I am a fan of Disney's method as well. 3 steps and easy to remember. I've come to terms that there's always a thing or two we can emulate from successful people. And while you don't necessarily have to follow their ways, we also don't need to keep re-inventing the wheel.

This is a very interesting read. I love the Disney method, using creative (the dreamer), the critic, and the realist methods to break down and solve problems. That is a method that I've used with my team as a retail manager and as an agency.
We are problem solvers. Breaking down problems to find the best results. Sometimes you have to look at it backward, forwards, and upside down to find the best results for your clients. These suggestions open your mind to other problem-solving ideas.
The reverse brainstorming is a technique that I would like to try out. We, as a team, are always brainstorming. Let's try it in reverse and see what we come up with. Thank you for sharing.

The reverse brainstorming technique is an interesting concept for me but at the moment for someone like me, might need a bit more understanding to do. My brain would ask random questions like when is it necessary to brainstorm and when is it more effective to reverse brainstorm?

This is definitely interesting. I'd never heard of these methods before but now I have some new ideas which I can implement at work!

Same! I'm glad that I was able to learn something new today that ACTUALLY helps me business-wise. I've probably just hit my daily quota of browsing too much on 9gag. Time for some brain juice!

For me, I get creative with my digital media company by constantly brainstorming new and innovative ways to market my products and services. This way, I'm always ahead of the game and my customers are always happy.

I also make sure to keep up with the latest trends in digital media so that I can offer my customers the most up-to-date services possible. This way, they know they're getting the best possible value for their money.

In addition to being creative and staying ahead of the curve, I also make sure to provide excellent customer service. I want my customers to be happy with their purchase, and if they're not, I'll do whatever it takes to make it right.

Aftersales is a big thing for me as a customer and consumer. If I find out a product that I was eye-ing to buy has poor Customer Support, I usually just settle in with the next best competitor.

Great explanations of each, but the third is what I find myself doing daily!

All three of these make great sense, but you might REALLY be onto something with the last one! I've never heard of this method before, and it is genius.

At first I was a bit confused on the execution part of it but flipping the answers to "How can we make this problem worse?" is truly something I would have never even considered.

I'm running through sets of problems to apply this to as we speak...