Sneak Preview of The Imagineering Process

Hey! Here’s a sneak Preview from “THE IMAGINEERING PROCESS: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life”.

From Chapter 11: Another View of The Imagineering Process

If we strip away the details of each stage of the Imagineering Process and boil each down to its core essence or objective, we find a simple but powerful process suitable for nearly any type of creative project.

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To bring your creative ideas to life, you…

…define your overall objective, including what you can do, can’t do, and must do when developing and building your project. (Prologue)

…create a vision with enough detail to be able to explain, present, and sell it to others. (Blue Sky)

…develop and flesh-out your vision with enough additional detail to explain what needs to be designed and built. (Concept Development)

…develop the plans and documents that describe and explain how your vision will be brought to life. (Design)

…build the actual project, based on the design developed in the previous stages. (Construction)

…test and validate your design at each stage to help solve and/or prevent problems that may arise during the design and construction process. (Models)

…present your project to your audience, allow them to experience it, and evaluate its success and effectiveness over time. (Epilogue)

This is how the Imagineers bring the Disney parks to life, and you can use it too!

More previews to come!

 

Thoughts? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Imagineering Process Sneak Peek – An Overview of the Process

This post provides a sneak peek of The Imagineering Process: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Live.

The “Imagineering Process” is a simplified version of the process Walt Disney Imagineering uses when it designs and builds theme park attractions, resorts, and other venues.

There are seven pieces or stages in the process. Five stages form the core of the process, while the other two serve as Prologue and Epilogue for the process.

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The following diagram provides a visual representation of the Imagineering Process. As you can see, the Prologue (Needs, Requirements, and Constraints) leads to the five core stages of the process:

  • Blue Sky
  • Concept Development
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Models

These stages in turn lead to the Epilogue (Openings, Evaluations, and Show Quality Standards).

The book will explore each of these stages in more detail, including how each is practiced by Walt Disney Imagineering as well as how each can applied to your own creative ideas and projects.

 

Thoughts?

Tell me what you think in the comments!

Imagineering Process Preview: The Paradox of Ideas

This post is an excerpt/preview from the Introduction of my next book, The Imagineering Process: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life (which I’m currently writing).

I believe ideas hold a unique place in regards to creativity.

Ideas are at the same time the most important and the least important part of any creative project.

I know, that seems like a paradox, but bear with me.

Ideas are the most important part because every creative and innovative project starts with an idea. Good ideas are the basis for all successful creative projects. Consider the following:

  • Without the idea to create “a place where adults and children can have fun together”, there would be no Disneyland (or other Disney parks for that matter)
  • Without the idea to develop a technology to allow the creation of human-like robots in theme park attractions (Audio-Animatronics), we wouldn’t have attractions such as Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, The Carousel of Progress, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, or countless others

And of course, good creative ideas aren’t limited to those related to Disney parks. Some other examples include:

  • Without the idea to design and build a separate ship specifically for the Moon landing, the Apollo program might not ever have succeeded in landing man on the Moon
  • Without the idea to develop a musical adaptation of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, there would be no Wicked (the musical)
  • Without the idea to use hip-hop to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton, there would be no Hamilton: An American Musical.
  • Without the idea to create a Star Wars-based game for my son’s birthday party, my wife and I would have had to entertain 10 young boys all on our own.

Lots of people (myself included) believe in the importance of ideas, and there is no end to the number of books, blogs, and websites that offer tips and techniques to help us “be more creative” or “generate new ideas.” But generating ideas – sometimes also known as either brainstorming or ideation – is not all there is to creativity. It’s important to be sure, but it’s only a part of the challenge of employing our creativity. What’s equally (or perhaps more) important is how we follow through and develop and/or implement our creative ideas.

Put another way, ideas are only a part of being creative, and in some ways (here comes the paradox) they are the least important part. How can that be? The answer is perhaps best expressed by Guy Kawasaki in his November 4, 2004 Forbes article when he writes “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard”

If you talk to people in traditionally “creative” fields (writers, artists, designers, etc.), ideas are never an issue for them. Most have more ideas than they could possibly follow through on in their lifetimes. Generating ideas is the easy part; it’s the execution of those ideas that’s difficult. The real work is in taking ideas and bringing them to life. Even the best ideas in the world can’t execute themselves, and without someone to execute them, even the best ideas in the world have little chance of becoming a reality.

I believe the challenge for many of us lies in finding the right model of how creativity and the creative process works so we can apply it in our own fields. I think there is an assumption that people can apply their own expertise or technical know-how to take their ideas to the next step. And while there may be some truth to that, examples and models of taking an idea and shepherding it through the process of turning that idea into a reality seem to be few and far between.

 

So where can look for a model or example of the creative process? I think one of the best places to look is Disneyland and other Disney theme parks. More specifically, I believe one of the best models for creativity is found in the design and development of Disney theme parks, a practice better known as Imagineering.

Thoughts? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Initial Work on The Imagineering Process

imagineering_toolbox

Just wanted to post a quick update on the next book in The Imagineering Toolbox series.

Over the last few days I’ve started to make a little progress on The Imagineering Process.

I’ve mostly been adding bits and pieces here and there (bibliography entries, quotes and notes, etc.) but also spent some time doing some actual writing over the last couple of days and the Preface is starting to take shape.

Slow and steady wins the race….

Take care!

 

 

 

“Be My Guest” Interview and Other News

Imagineering_Pyramid_Cover_Rev1

Yesterday, I did an interview about The Imagineering Pyramid for “Be My Guest”, a cable television interview program on Upton’s cable television station hosted by Jan Lewis.

The interview went well, though I forgot the year that Steamboat Willie came out (1928), which is a little embarrassing. Of course, since that’s fairly outside the scope of the book, I hope it’s a forgivable error.

I should have a video to share in the next couple of weeks.

In other news, earlier this month, I signed a contract for the next book in The Imagineering Toolbox series! My working title is “THE IMAGINEERING PROCESS: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life”. I’ll keep you apprised on my progress.

Take care!

My Imagineering Library – Jack Blitch, Walt Disney Imagineering

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In an earlier post, I mentioned that most of My Imagineering Library is comprised of books, but some of the “items” are in fact online resources, including websites and videos. One of these is a presentation from the NASA Information Technology Summit in 2010 featuring Jack Blitch, Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando.

During his presentation, Blitch describes the process Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) uses when they design and build attractions, with a specific emphasis on their use of technology and modeling software.

wdi_jack_blitch-everest

Video of the summit is available online here. The portion of the video featuring Jack Blitch starts at the 50:00 minute mark.

This is a great resource to help anyone understand Imagineering and what WDI does. I recommend this video to anyone interested in learning more about Imagineering.

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!

My Imagineering Library – Creative Mornings Videos

While most of My Imagineering Library is comprised of books, some of the “items” are in fact online resources, including websites and videos. Two of these are CreativeMornings lectures featuring Imagineers from the Orlando branch of Walt Disney Imagineering.

CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. CreativeMornings are organized by talented volunteer hosts and their teams in 152 cities around the world. These talks are also recorded and posted on the CreativeMornings website.

The two Walt Disney Imagineering lectures in my Imagineering Library include:

Walt Disney Imagineering: Jason Surrell, Alex Wright, & Jason Grandt: Jason Surrell, Alex Wright, and Jason Grandt deliver a presentation about Walt Disney Imagineering, including its history, an overview of the Imagineering process, and a question & answer session.(Note: Jason Surrell is no longer with WDI, and now works as a Creative Director for Universal Creative)

Creative_Mornings
Copyright CreativeMornings Orlando

Wyatt Winter: Walt Disney Imagineering: Wyatt Winter explains the creative process during the creation of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children.

Creative_Mornings2
Copyright CreativeMornings Orlando

These are both great resources to help you understand Imagineering and what WDI does. I recommend these videos to anyone interested in learning more about Imagineering.

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!