Disney Method at RWTH Aachen




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Aachen Researchers Seek to Optimize Teamwork


Applying the Disney method has only indirectly do with the animated movies we associate with the name of Walt Disney: The American cartoonist and entrepreneur is said to have used the method for idea generation and project planning purposes.

Professor Martin Baumann and Christoph Gordalla from the Institute of Applied Medical Engineering have now published a book that describes the method as well as about 60 other well-tried team work techniques. These methods are to support team building activities, idea generation, concept development, and knowledge acquisition at the crossroads of the life and natural sciences and engineering.

The Method

Using the Disney method, three participants, for example, take on the roles of the realist, the critic, and the visionary. While the dreamer is free to conceive and develop an idea without constraints, the critic emphasizes the risks and possible problems of realizing the idea. The realist in turn seeks to find a compromise between the extremes.

Here, the order of the presented ideas is decisive: First, the dreamer presents his or her idea to the realist, who seeks to find out whether the idea is feasible and adapt it accordingly before presenting it to the critic. Then, the realist translates the critic’s harsh criticisms into constructive proposals and talks them over with the dreamer. In this way, the realist makes sure that the critic does not reject the dreamer’s ideas right away.

The various methods presented in the book are categorized according to criteria such as required time and materials, suitable group size, and depth of interaction. In this way the user receives quick support for the preparation, implementation, and coordination of efficient teamwork.

Further chapters deal with group work theory, possible pitfalls, practical hands-on advice, and moderation techniques.

The book has been published by UTB and costs about 20 Euros.