One can be inspired by research as well as immersed in it for inspiration. Rhonda Counts, Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering Florida
How you do research is dependent upon where you are in the process. Disney’s Imagineers value the story’s intent and the importance of being surrounded with or immersed in the story’s environment.
Here’s an example of creative immersion from one of my past projects:
As you can see, there was a definite pirate’s theme going on in part of my office. It’s both from previous work and new work in process at the time. I’ve used the theme of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” storyline – both the attraction and the movies – to develop training resources and presentations in the area of Guest Experiences.
Specifically, I created a tool – the Guest Experience Compass. And how better to demonstrate it, than using Jack Sparrow’s compass? I also created the Guest Experience Code – and based it on the storyline of the Pirates Code. Of course, both of these tools had to be introduced and used by a pirate – the Navigator – in a fully immersive learning environment. The result?
As a result of my pirate “adventure,” I created a series of Guest Experience learning activities lasting from a half day to two days.
And it doesn’t stop with pirates.
There’s the fact that my office is, in fact, a Disney museum (a title given by my granddaughter).
It’s continually changing as I acquire new books and other “resources” that help my inspiration.
It’s no secret that I am a Disney fanatic of the first degree! I had an early start in the 60s, both from watching “The Wonderful World of Disney” and benefiting from my father, who as a Gulf gasoline dealer received many promotional tie-ins from Disney movies.
My first actual in-person experience took place as a rising senior in high school during the summer of 1975, when my high school band was privileged to march in America on Parade, one of Disney’s salutes to America’s Bicentennial. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back with minors in history at both the undergraduate and graduate level, that was an important event.
You must also add to that mix over 100 days of staying in Disney properties (both land and sea) in the last 12 years. Friends know that I can’t go long in almost any conversation without weaving in a personal Disney experience to illustrate a point.
Finally, it’s anchored by the Disney library of over 450 books (and growing!) noted above: I am literally immersed in all things Disney. As I research and work on various projects – especially Hospitality – I find great inspiration through the many resources at hand. My immersion is not limited to the visual and tactile – at any given time, the soundtrack of a Disney movie, or the background music from one of Disney’s theme parks is playing in the background.
Here’s how Disney Imagineers recommend immersion into an environment:
Select a project that you want to immerse yourself in. Make a list of all the elements of the project and find samples (the larger the better) that represent these elements. Find a place in your surroundings to display the samples so you can immerse yourself in them.
For example, if you wanted to fix up a vintage car, surround yourself with large detailed pictures of its original interior and exterior, very large color samples for its seat cushions, dashboard, etc., and exterior paint job, pictures of various locations you would drive to, and of course, spray the space with new car scent.
Research leads to inspiration.
And now, to visually introduce (and tease a new project in the works):
More to come!
part of a series of ideas to help shape and tone your creative muscles
Inspired and adapted from The Imagineering Workout
written by The Disney Imagineers