Saturday, March 11, 2006

Walt Disney in the French West Indies

I am currently on holiday in the French Wrest Indies (Martinique). Lovely place and a great break as the European winter draws to a very cold close. When I left home last Monday there was snow on the cars and a few hours later I was enjoying 28°C. But it seems that interesting things to report never cease. The place where I am staying (Domaine de Robinson at Anse Noire) is a little corner of paradise managed by a couple that has a fun way of creating stuff together. Last September they stopped operating the restaurant they had and focused only on renting bungalows and rooms. So they transformed the kitchen into rooms and they did that in quite a fun way since the concept was to have the rooms be like a continuation of the beach (the sea is literally 50 m from my doorstep and that's super cool for a morning swim). I will post a few pictures on Flickr when I get back home, but the floor of thr rooms is made of glass tiles containing sand and the shower is made in wood... The concept was his and he also actually built the rooms. But the evaluation of the concept and the critical assessment of feasibility was hers. Now, the fun part is that in the way they worked (and I was lucky enough or curious enough to be told), they seem to have applied a model that is very close to the model of Walt Disney created by Robert Dilts:

  1. Walt the dreaming visionary would come up with the idea of what to develop, the grand concept of the story that could be the next success

  2. then, Walt the realist would assess the ideas for feasibility, questioning how something would actually be built and realize a sample of it

  3. finally, Walt the critic would review the creation of the realist to assess it for commercial viability and to identify areas of improvement

It's a powerful model presented very summarily here. How does it apply at Domaine Robinson? Well, Claude came up with the concept of rooms-as-a-continuation-of-the-beach and Vivianne identified limitations for realizing the concept. In that design cycle, Claude was the dreamer when presenting the concept to Vivianne and also the realist when discussing with Vivianne how the concept could be realized. Then Vivianne would prompt Claude to go further in the realist mode and say how he would make the whole thing come true. She would then switch to the critic mode to identify what was missing from Claude's answer, which would drive them both into another design round, until they were reasonably certain of feasibility and he would get down to do the work. The result is superb.

It may just be my frame of mind, but I found it quite fun that they would reproduce a method that led to the rise of a mega empire of entertainment to create their little corner of paradise that is definitely worth visiting.

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