I’m a big fan of the Disney Technique. It’s a process I run on myself every January, when I do my week of strategic thinking. It’s also a technique I take clients through when I’m helping them get clarity on their business goals and strategy.
The technique is so useful because it helps us shift our ‘perceptual positions’; sequentially exploring your goals, or a particular challenge through the eyes of a Dreamer, Realist and Critic. As you know, the best decisions often come from changing the way you think about or look at problems, and examining them from different perspectives.
Another technique that applies the same principle is Edward DeBono’s six thinking hats (published in his 1985 book of the same name.). The six hats (or perceptual positions) and their corresponding thinking styles are as follows:
• White Hat: focus on the information and the data you have. See what you can learn from it as well as what knowledge gaps you may have, to either fill them or take account of them.
• Red Hat: look at the problem emotionally by using your intuition and emotion, and consider how others might react to it emotionally.
• Black Hat: look at a potential solution through the eye of a critic to see its possible negative outcomes. Be cautious and try to see why or how it might not work.
• Yellow Hat: look at he problem through the eye of an optimist, or dreamer, to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it,
• Green Hat: consider the problem with your creative thinking to develop solutions in an unrestricted and open way.
• Blue Hat: this hat represents process control – the meta position where can observe the process as a whole (to assess what hat may be needed next).
The next time you have a problem to solve, consider using these metaphorical hats. You don’t need hats, you could of course use different areas on the floor to represent the different cognitive styles.
The principle is the same – to become more creative, get better at shifting your perspective. Spend time examining challenges from different viewpoints and you will likely trigger fresh ways of thinking about the best approaches.