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Three mindsets to change the game: the Walt Disney innovation process

“Innovation can be considered as the transformation of dreams into concrete and tangible things”. Thanks to this point of view, Walt Disney developed unconsciously one of the most efficient innovation process that leads the current success of its well-known company. In 1994, a scientist named Robert Dilts formalized Walt Disney’s innovation process. His work is the root of the process used by EURA NOVA today to foster creativity and innovation.

To transform ideas into feasible innovations, this methodology rests on a role play where every participant has to adopt successively three different states of mind:


How to put it in practice?
Two kind of people are present during a Walt Disney session:
1. The neutral element: the person who guides the active group through the innovation process
2. The active group: the people who adopt the different mindsets
People should bear in mind that an heterogeneous team is the best way to precisely define every idea you might have. Everyone has specific area of expertise that will help your innovation process.

In addition to that, a specific arrangement of the workspace will reflect the different mindsets to adopt:


An iterative approach of the methodology is the key! It keeps the team focused on delivering incremental high-end customer value by selecting the top-priority pain points.

Therefore, decision making must happen faster than in a process without iterations because there is no time for endless debate. Iterative development focuses on concrete ideas, reducing the risk of analysis-paralysis.

The iterative approach will end by itself when no more critics can be formulated.

When to use it?
Every time creativity is required! This highly flexible methodology can be implemented quickly. By fostering exchange between your colleagues, you will quickly notice that lack of creativity will no more be an issue inside your organisation. Enjoy!

François Dewez
Twitter: @Fra_Dewez



  1. Brigitte Roujol, Comment Walt Disney innovait: le dossier complet, 2012
  2. E. Alper, 20 lessons from Walt Disney on entrepreneurship, innovations, and chasing your dreams, 2012
  3. Keith V. Trickey, The Walt Disney Creativity strategy, 2008
  4. N. Westergaard, 8 innovation lessons from Walt Disney, 2011


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