Saturday, January 13, 2018

Walt's Creative Process

In a document titled "Walt Disney World Background and Philosophy" and dated September 21, 1967, Marty Sklar, then director of WDI, sent a memo to "Those Concerned" regarding the "Florida Project." His reference may have been towards Walt's recent death, the future of Walt Disney World and the company.  Marty wrote;

"This assemblage has been prepared as a background and starting point for developing a "philosophy" for the Disneyland-style theme park in Walt Disney World. There is a great deal of other material, particularly articles about Disneyland, that might have been included. However, the intent here is to provide, as a foundation, Walt's thinking and philosophy as it was applied in Disneyland, and additionally Walt's thoughts apply to what we are now beginning."

Section 7 - Walt's Quotes re: Disneyland contains statements from various printed sources, primarily interviews with reporters from newspapers around the country during Disneyland's Tencennial Year.
These quotes form an outline of Walt's creative process;

On Improving Things:

"I happen to be a kind of inquisitive guy and when I see things I don't like, I start thinking; Why do they have to be like this and how can I improve them?"

On Developing Ideas:

“We call them gag sessions. We get in there and toss ideas around. And we throw them in and put all the minds together and come up with something and say a little prayer and open it and hope it will go."

On Curiosity:

"There's really no secret about our approach. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious ... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. We're always exploring and experimenting. At WED, we call it lmagineering - the blending of creative imagination with technical know-how."

On Courage:

"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage. Take Disneyland for example; Almost everyone warned us that Disneyland would be a Hollywood spectacular -- a spectacular failure. But they were thinking about an amusement park, and we believed in our idea -- a family park where parents and children could have fun -- together."

On Confidence:

"We consider a new project, we really study it - not just the surface idea, but everything about it. And when we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way. We have confidence in our ability to do it right. And we work hard to do the best possible job."

On Continued Growth:

"The way I see it, Disneyland will never be finished. lt's something we can keep developing and adding to. A motion picture is different . Once it's wrapped up and sent out for processing, we're through with it. If there are things that could be improved, we can't do anything about them any more. I've always wanted to work on something alive, something that keeps growing. We've got that in Disneyland."

Walt's basic approach; Be curiousSee a problemResearch deeplyBrainstorm and Move forward with courage and confidence, has parallels in other methods, but few of them also bring Walt's special ingredient; his "Pixie Dust." into the mix. Pixie Dust refers to being responsive to people's hidden needs, creating surprise and delight by giving them something that they wanted without being asked or told about it.

It's a framework for work and life that offers endless possibilities.

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