Alternative Scenarios Analogies Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas (AIDA) Anonymous voting Assumption surfacing Attribute listing (and variants)

Backward Forward Planning Boundary examination Boundary relaxation Brainstorming Brain sketching Brain Writing Brain writing 6-3-5 Brain writing game Brain writing pool Browsing Brutethink Bug listing Bullet proofing Bunches of bananas

Card story boards Cartoon story board CATWOE Causal mapping Charrette Cherry Split Circle of Opportunity Clarification Classic Brainstorming Collective notebook (CNB) Comparison tables Component detailing Concept Fan Consensus mapping Constrained brain writing Contradiction Analysis Controlling imagery Crawford slip writing Creative problem solving (CPS) Criteria for idea-finding potential Critical path diagrams (CPD)

Decision seminar Delphi

DO IT Dialectical approaches Dimensional analysis Drawing

Essay writing Estimate-discuss -estimate Exaggeration (magnify or minify) Excursions

Factors in 'selling' ideas False Faces Fishbone diagram Five W's and H Flow charts for action planning Focus groups Focusing Force-field analysis Force-fit game Free association 'Fresh eye' and networking

Gallery method Gap analysis Goal orientation Greetings cards

Help, hinder Heuristic ideation technique (HIT) Highlighting

Idea advocate Imagery for answering questions Imagery manipulation Imaginary Brainstorming Implementation checklists Improved nominal group technique Interpretive structural modeling

Keeping a dream diary Kepner and Tregoe's method KJ-method

Laddering Lateral Thinking Listing

Listing pros and cons

Metaplan information market Mind mapping Morphological analysis Morphological Forced Connections Multiple redefinition

Negative brainstorming Nominal group technique (NGT) Nominal-interacting technique Notebook

Observer and merged viewpoints Osborn's checklist Other people's definitions Other people's viewpoints

Paired comparison Panel consensus Paraphrasing key words Personal balance-sheet Phases of integrated problem solving (PIPS) Pictures as idea triggers Pin cards PMI (Plus, Minus, Interaction) Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) Plusses, potentials and concerns Potential-problem analysis (PPA) Preliminary questions Problem-centred leadership (PCL) Problem inventory analysis (PIA) Problem Reversal Progressive hurdles Progressive revelation Provocation

Q-sort Quality circles

Random stimuli of various kinds Rawlinson Brainstorming Receptivity to ideas Reframing values Relational words Relaxation Reversals Role storming

S 7-Step Model SCAMMPERR SCAMPER Sculptures Search conference Sequential-attributes matrix Similarities and Differences Simple rating methods Simplex Six Thinking Hats Slice and Dice Snowball technique Soft systems method Stakeholder analysis Sticking dots Stimulus analysis Story writing Strategic assumption testing Strategic choice approach Strategic management process Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA) Successive element integration Super Group® Super heroes SWOT Analysis Synectics Systematized Direct Induction (SDI) T Technology Monitoring Think Tank TILMAG Transactional planning Trigger Sessions Trigger method TRIZ U Using 'crazy' ideas Using experts V Value brainstorming Value engineering Visual brainstorming Visualising a goal W Who are you? 'Why?' etc.repeatable questions Wishing . .

Working with dreams and images X Y Z .

With the scenarios in hand. Scenario analysis helps you to identify what environmental factors to monitor over time. The major environmental forces might include social values. 5. identify business opportunities within each scenario. Thinking through several scenarios is a less risky. so that when the environment shifts. To do this. you can recognize where it is shifting to. 4. 2. For instance. more conservative approach to planning than relying on single forecasts and trend analyses.Alternative Scenarios Scenarios are qualitatively different descriptions of plausible futures. with both a narrative and a table of forces and scenarios. The Creative Edge: Fostering Innovation Where You Work by William C. Scenario story lines emerged for 'As at present'. Assemble the alternatives for each force into internally consistent 'stories'. Miller . To begin developing scenarios: 1. It can thus free up management to take more innovative actions. Examine the links and synergies of opportunities across the range of scenarios. suppose you need to decide how to invest R & D funds in order to be positioned for opportunities that might emerge by the year 2010. Scenarios are developed specifically for a particular problem. Build your scenarios around these forces. 'Heated'. economic growth world-wide and international trade access (tariffs etc. Identify the major environmental forces that impact on the decision.). 'Belt Tightening' and 'Isolation'. State the specific decision that needs to be made. For example. Build four scenarios based on the principal forces. a mid-western bank used scenarios to stimulate new ideas for maintaining a strong consumer-lending business in upcoming deregulation. This would help you to formulate a more realistic strategy for investment. They can give you a deeper understanding of potential environments in which you might have to operate and what you may need to do in the present. use information available to you to identify four plausible and qualitatively different possibilities for each force. 3.

but they are unlike in that they have different means of propulsion. For instance. Describe the analogue. Analogies are a key feature of many approaches to creativity. Does the analogue have features you can use directly? Do the differences suggest other ways of looking at your problem? Analogies can be: • • • • Close / direct: A straight functional parallel e. including active aspects (such as how it works.g. . 'How to prevent Y'. 3.that suggests to me that maybe we could try Y (idea drawn from analogy X)'.). Identify what it is you want ideas for. the Genesis creation story.. In the extreme. analogies to 'making X' (having a baby. 2. Personal / component: Here you become a component in the system. a biological analogy for a mechanical problem. selling science is like selling baked beans or the human arm is like an anglepoise lamp. processes. are made of different materials. Use this description to suggest ideas relevant to your problem.but the parallels they suggest are unlikely to have much 'rational' status. actions. if you are looking at how to get shells to more accurately hit the target. what effects it has. they were central to the earlier forms of Synectics and they are an important element in various types of Excursion.). they can both travel for a long way without landing.: 'How to make X'. and both can sense where they are going.e. think of yourself as the tip of the shell. position. For example: a jumbo jet is like an albatross in that they both fly. 5.etc.e.g. eg. . what it does. etc.preferably where the verb phrase and analogy are from different domains .g.g. 'How to speed up Z'. The term bionics has been used to describe the systematic use of biological and botanical analogies to solve novel engineering problems. etc. 'How to become better at A'. making a pudding. Remote and/or surprising: 'Selling widgets' is like 'Steering an elephant'. a robot car factory. objects. how it is used) as well as passive aspects (size. and try to find a core verb phrase that captures the essential functional nature of what you are looking for . But the underlying logic will be along these lines: 1. For each verb phrase generate a list of items (people. Pick one of these analogies that seems interesting . situations.) that is 'like' it in some way e. These analogies are more likely to challenge assumptions and lead to new insights and ideas .Analogies You use an analogy when you say that something is like something else (in some respects but not in others). they both have wings. they merge into the use of Random stimuli.. Fantasy: What is the image that comes into your mind if you were to solve it in your wildest fantasy or within some other cartoon / fantasy world. Often analogies are used very informally: 'This problem makes me think of X (analogy) . places. 4. etc.

Techniques of Structured Problem Solving. . Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Stick them on a large working area (e. Identify any problems that do not interact: Draw a matrix with the problem names on each axis (e. AIDA identifies combinations that cannot coexist and can therefore be eliminated. Go through each solution on each slip. . Planning under pressure: The strategic choice approach. a white-board). but the number of theoretically possible group combinations may be large. Remove from AIDA any problems with a blank row in this matrix. Create a solution tree: Create a tree-diagram that displays all compatible combinations of solution options. 4 problems need a 4x4 matrix). Then all solutions in different problems that are not barred are free to be combined. these have no interactions. to leave one cell for each different problem pair. Then: 1.Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas (AIDA) AIDA (Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas . You therefore need to evaluate the solutions as a group. Assuming that you have already got a list of problems. delete the diagonal and the bottom triangle. P1 x P2 x x x x x P3 P4 P1 P2 P3 P4 2. 3. 4 problems give four slips).g. checking it against every solution on all the other slips to identify any pairs of solutions that cannot coexist. 4. Identify incompatible pairs of solutions: Write each remaining problem with its solutions. Operational Research Quarterly. and have identified possible solutions for each. 1967. and you can work with them independently. Pergamon Press: Oxford.Luckman. 1987) is used when you have several inter-connected problems where the solution choices for one will affect the solution choices for another. Remove any incompatible branches.g. The remaining solutions can now be compared against agreed criteria like any other set of solutions. Mark each cell 'X' if any of the solutions in the pair of problems the cell represents cannot co-exist. Draw a 'bar-line' linking the two members of each such incompatible pair of solutions. Friend and Hickling.g. hence substantially reducing the number of combinations you need to compare. on a large Post-it slip (e.

there can be no confusion. Facilitators need to be clear that the levels of risk they are asking participants to take are realistic. If you prefer to use numbers for the rank order. Members privately select their own short-list of ideas.Anonymous voting The reason for using anonymity in a creativity method is to encourage participants to feel safe enough to take creative risks. and in climates where there is a serious risk of ‘bullying’ or significant levels of paranoid anxiety. It is useful for groups that have significant pressures or anxieties between participants. and write the appropriate rank letter (‘A’. followed by ‘B’. 3. and a commitment to respecting them. (There are software systems such as "Group Works" which offer much better anonymity. 4. ‘C’. 1. if you use 1-9 for ranks and start your serial numbering from 10. … etc. The leader indicates the length of short-list each member is to produce (usually ca. you could avoid confusion by using different number ranges. and tallies the votes on a flip-chart by idea number. etc. ‘B’.) on each card. this method could lead naive participants to exposing themselves to unacceptable risks.g. the vote remains anonymous.) The method assumes that you start with a publicly visible list of perhaps 30100 serially numbered ideas from some idea generation process. It is a basic feature of all nominal group methods and is an excellent way of protecting people against accidental or unintentional inter-personal pressures. 5-9 items – 10-15% of the number of ideas on the list). who gathers everybody’s cards. In this way. They decide how they want to order the ideas on their short list. 2. For instance. 5. as might happen if numbers were used for the rank. Methods such as Anonymous Voting cannot offer a particularly robust form of anonymity. . ‘A’ is most preferred. and the ranking convention (e.). ‘C’. They write each idea they select on a card with its serial list number. particularly when they return to the ‘outside world’. shuffles them. The cards are handed in face down to the leader. in climates where there is basic goodwill towards differences of viewpoint. Notice that using numbers for serial list position and letters for rank order avoids the risk of confusing a list position with a rank.

true?). Work down the list and delete ineffective assumption/counterassumption pairs i. high/low plausibility on the other). 2. in fact. List the assumptions. and beside each write a counter-assumption not necessarily its negation. Assess each of the remaining assumptions in terms of high or low potential impact (how critical is its truth to justifying your pattern of behaviour?) and high or low plausibility (how confident are you that it is.Assumption surfacing The aim of this technique is to make underlying assumptions more visible. and ask yourself why you feel it is the best choice – i. but it might be worth checking this out – are they being under-estimated? . where it would make little difference to your choice whether the assumption or the counter-assumption were actually the case. 4. Are they over-estimating them? What could change these assumptions? What benefits would there be and for whom? The assumptions in the ‘low impact’ cells are seen as less critical. but high impact/low plausibility assumptions need to be taken seriously. 3. Identify a particular choice you have made. 5. so check them out if you can. in case they turn out to be true. The assumptions in the ‘high impact’ cells are those that the user sees as largely justifying their actions.e. but the opposite to the issue it represents. Plot the assumptions on a 2x2 matrix (high/low impact on one axis. 1.e. Plausibility Low Potenti al impact Hig mediu h m Low High Most serious Least mediu serious m High impact/high plausibility assumptions are clearly the most crucial. what assumptions guide this choice.

Identify the product or process you are dissatisfied with or wish to improve. Shape. and what problems it would create (e. or via any idea-generating technique. Textures. 3. 5. Combine one or more of these alternative ways of achieving the required attributes. multi-faceted…. 2. So: 1. either by conventional enquiry. potentials and concerns. A new kind of pen or project management method probably has much the same major functional elements as any other kind of pen or project management method. breaks it into parts. each with only 4 alternatives. 7-8 of these attributes that seem particularly interesting or important.Attribute listing (and variants) Attribute listing is a technique from the early 1930's which • • • • takes an existing product or system.g. Target market.). with dice). The combinatorial problem is explored more fully in later developments such as Morphological Analysis . and then recombines these to identify new forms of the product or system. etc.g. but with some important difference in the way the elements are achieved or put together. Unfortunately. You can then use this either as a random stimulus to trigger more ideas (cf. For a simple physical object like a pen. different shapes: cylindrical cubic. Plusses. classic Attribute Listing offered no advice about the ‘combinatorial explosion’ that occurs as the number of attributes and alternatives increases. 4. This process of generating random combinations and then using them to stimulate ideas can be repeated ad lib. you could list all the key attributes of current approaches. Identify alternative ways to achieve each attribute (e. you could generate provocative combinations by working through each attribute in turn and picking one of the ways of achieving that attribute at random (e. Using randomly chosen combinations to stimulate ideas: If you prefer a more mechanical and less intuitive way of using this array of alternatives. you already have over 1000 logically different combinations! The designer is left to explore different possible combinations using imagination and intuition. List its attributes. say. If you have N attributes and each could be achieved in M alternative ways. and see if you can come up with a new approach to the product or process you were working on. and try to improve on some of them. So to generate a new way of doing something. It has many variants. and is an important precursor to techniques such as Morphological Analysis and Value Engineering. there are MN combinations – so even with only 5 attributes. this might include: Material. identifies various ways of achieving each part. Choose. or Receptivity to ideas). Random Stimuli) or you can attempt a form of constructive evaluation by identifying what would be good about it.g. Colours.

" I could have a look at some clothes whilst I was there. Try to obtain at least 3 statements. Continue asking what higher level problem it solves and writing them down. 3." You now have 7 potential problem statements to choose from. if it were a solution. If you were to solve the problem in statement 1." If you were to work down the list of additional problems this would solve you might write down "I could get all the food and drink for the week" Followed by " I could relax and not worry any more about where the food was" Which may lead you to " I could finish that painting I want to hang in the living room" Working the other way. preferably starting with "How to…" 2. what higher level problem would it also solve? Write this down. As an example. it may be that your original statement is the problem to be solved. . ask what other benefits would flow from it. Make sure these are different from those in stage 2. Going back to statement 1. your car is at the garage for repairs and you feel you really need to go and do the food shopping.Backward Forward Planning Backward forward planning is a process to help you define the problem. 1. The process has three stages. what benefits would you also have if you could get to the shops may lead to. Your first statement might be. or it may be that "How to find time to complete the picture I'm painting" is more important to you. "How to get into the shops. and make sure you are not in tunnel vision where you can't see the real problem because of the close problem you think is biting you. Write down the short version of the problem." " I could enjoy some retail therapy" and " I could call in on my friend for a chat since they live near the shop. You can then look at the various definitions and decide which is the most appropriate statement of the problem. you are at home.

It is similar to paraphrasing key words and Boundary Relaxation. which separates highly relevant features (inside the boundary) from less relevant ones (outside the boundary). because someone else has defined the problem for you) it will reflect their biases and concerns as well as your own. and plays down others as largely irrelevant. This simple method from De Bono (1982) is designed to bring potentially relevant aspects back into awareness. If the boundary has been provided for you (e. The aim is not necessarily to change the position of the boundary but rather to understand more clearly how the wording of the problem is affecting our assumptions about the boundary. The problem definition. 2. see if you can redefine the problem in a better way. and what is relevant or not. 1. 5. Having explored how the particular choice of key words affects the meaning of the statement. The problem boundary is the notional 'container'. A good way to do this is to see how the meaning of the statement changes if you replace a key word by a synonym or near synonym. .Boundary examination Boundary examination offers a refinement of problem definition. and the boundary setting may itself be part of the problem. Defining a problem gives a clear task to focus on. 4. Underline key words 3. often evolves as your understanding of the situation develops. The definition highlights some features of the situation as being particularly relevant.g. Examine each key word for hidden assumptions. It is easy for the area outside the boundary to become ignored ‘background’. Write down an initial statement of the problem.

For instance. customers. then it is usually relatively simple to ask yourself and/or others involved: ‘Would it help if this part of the boundary could be altered in some way – and if so. how and when?’ . the not the radio.Boundary relaxation The problem boundary is defined here as the imaginary line between what a problem is. etc. legality. by identifying the elements of the boundary. modify. Research: Boundary conditions not mentioned in the problem statement may often be found by researching or generally ‘asking around’. markets. • • • • By stating what the issues isn't: Take each significant term in a problem statement and define it more clearly by saying what it is not. suppliers. and define the boundary by sorting these items into those definitely inside the boundary.. people. or couldn’t be. for example: How to not guess. telephone computer. due process … o resources money. spread of information… o Involve mentor non-alienation staff. so checklists can be helpful. Boundary Brainstorming: You can use brainstorming and nominal group methods to generate lists of issues or components that might be inside the problem boundary. must be. change. plant. Checklists: Similar problems often share similar boundaries. time. definitely outside it and possibly negotiable. outside it but in the near environment. or could be. regulations. should be. Check them with people involved in the problem. remote… not alter. and remoter from it. skill. then seeing how far they can be loosened.. Relaxing the boundaries Once a boundary feature has been identified clearly. draw… design a handset not hands free. equipment … o prior investments structure. pager. shouldn’t be. make up. Identifying the boundary The boundary can be identified and defined by a number of different techniques. See also Multiple Redefinition and Boundary Examination. change to replace colour.. most managerial problem solving has to work within upper (and sometimes lower) limits of: o approval authorization. image … o Acceptability levels of intrusion. stakeholders. This approach works in two stages: first. and what it isn’t. mustn’t be. Sometimes you may need to ‘read between the lines’.

’ . As is often the case ‘ it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.It may be easier to get temporary shifting of a boundary by discreetly ‘bending’ it and making sure nothing goes wrong. than by trying to get formal permission to alter it.

and more clearly stated the problem. as these stop the flow of ideas. 5. 7. all others should be kept. o Free-wheeling. allowing people to pass if they have no new ideas). Don't censor any ideas. Have someone facilitating to enforce the rules and write down all the ideas as they occur (the scribe can be a second person) 6. Lots & Lots . o Listen to other ideas. o Avoid any discussion of ideas or questions. All ideas are as valid as each other o Lots. Clarify and conclude the session. It is useful to get a consensus of which ideas should be looked at further or what the next action and timescale is. whiteboard or other system where everyone can see it.a large number of ideas is the aim. The better defined. Write the initial topic on a flipboard. .Classic Brainstorming 1. Ideas that are identical can be combined. 3. Review the ground rules o Avoid criticising ideas / suspend judgement. Arrange the meeting for a group of the right size and makeup (typically 4-8 people) 2.either in an unstructured way (anyone can say an idea at any time) or structure (going round the table. the least radical and new. Make sure that everyone understands the problem or issue 4. the better the session tends to be. Generate ideas . keep the meeting flow going. if you limit the number of ideas people will start to judge the ideas and only put in their 'best' or more often than not. and try to piggy back on them to other ideas.

he then gives simple background on routes he has tried and have failed.. all ideas are directed towards the facilitator/scribe • • • the problem owner simply describes in a headline the problem.Rawlinson Brainstorming Rawlinson Brainstorming is useful for untrained groups because there is no interaction between group members.e. all other participants) are invited to have a creative warm-up session and then offer solutions to the problem as two word descriptors the problem owner focuses on those ideas that give him new viewpoints .. and what would represent an ideal solution the resource (i..

Imaginary Brainstorming
Imaginary Brainstorming is like classic brainstorming, but with a slight twist. The ground rules etc. are the same, the differences are; 1. When defining the problem make sure that it has
• • •

a subject - who is acting a verb - the action an object - who / what is being acted upon.

2. Perform a classic brainstorming session

3. Define the essential elements of the problem, and identify which of the elements above (1) is the most directly tied to a successful solution. 4. Propose imaginary replacements for the other elements. e.g. Original problem How do we Suggested replacements How do / does Children, The PM, Donald Duck, Teachers Build a house, Earn a million, Get drunk

write a bid in half the normal time?

5. 6. 7. 8.

in half the normal time? (This element is kept as the essential element.) Formulate a new problem statement, substituting one of the imaginary elements. Brainstorm ideas for the imaginary problem Apply ideas from the imaginary brainstorming back to the real problem statement. Analyse all of the ideas (real, imaginary and combined) and take forward those of most interest.

Trigger Sessions
Trigger Sessions are a good way of getting lots of ideas down from untrained resources.
• • • • •

The Problem owner defines the problem Each member of group writes down his ideas in shorthand (2 minutes only) One member reads out his list - others silently cross out ideas read out and write down “Hitch-hiked ”ideas The second member reads out his list of ideas not already covered, followed in turn by other members The last member reads out his original list and his “Hitch-hiked” list and procedure is repeated counter current (ie, if there are 6 folk, the order goes 1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5,6...)

A good group will be able to manage severn passes. Everones paper is then collected and can be typed up into a single list of ideas - all duplicates should have been crossed out during the session.

BrainWriting is a technique similar to brainstorming and trigger sessions. There are many varieties, but the general process is that all ideas are recorded by the individual who though of them. They are then passed on to the next person who uses them as a trigger for their own ideas. Examples of this include;

BrainWriting Pool
Each person, using Post-it notes or small cards, writes down ideas, and places them in the centre of the table. Everyone is free to pull out one or more of these ideas for inspiration. Team members can create new ideas, variations or piggyback on existing ideas.

BrainWriting 6-3-5
The name Brainwriting 6-3-5 comes from the process of having 6 people write 3 ideas in 5 minutes. Each person has a blank 6-3-5 worksheet (below) Problem Statement: How to... Idea 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 Everyone writes the problem statement at the top of their worksheet (word for word from an agreed problem definition). They then write 3 ideas on the top row of the worksheet in 5 minutes in a complete and concise sentence (6-10 words). At the end of 5 minutes (or when everyone has finished writing) pass the worksheet to the person on your right. You then add three more ideas. The process continues until the worksheet is completed. There will now be a total of 108 ideas on the 6 worksheets. These can now be assessed. Idea 2 Idea 3

Idea Card Method
Each person, using Post-it notes or small cards, writes down ideas, and places them next to the person on his or her right. Each person draws a card from there neighbours pile as needed for inspiration. Once the idea has been used, it is passed on to the person on the right along with any new, variations or piggybacked ideas.

BrainWriting Game

This method is set in the form of a light-hearted competitive game. Creativity methods normally avoid competition because it tends to be divisive. However, as long as the game atmosphere is fun rather than overly competitive, and the facilitator ensures that there are no significant losers, the game format might be useful, particularly in training contexts where winning and losing are likely to be less of an issue and both can be used to provide teaching material. The game will take a little longer than some other brainwriting techniques. Very little facilitation skill is needed. The structure is as follows: 1. Display the problem statement, and explain that the winner of the game is the one who devises the most unlikely solution. 2. The facilitator sells each group member an agreed number (say 10) of blank, serially numbered cards at, say, 10p each, pooling the money to form the prize. Each group member signs a receipt that records the serial numbers of their set of cards. 3. Members try to think of utterly implausible solutions, writing one per card. The cards are then put up on a display board. 4. Members now have (say) 15 minutes to silently read all the solutions, and to append to them (on further un-numbered cards or Post-its) ways in which they could be converted into a more practical way of solving the problem (so reducing that ideas’ chances of winning). 5. Each member then has two votes (e.g. two sticky stars) to vote for what s/he now considers to be the most improbable idea on the numbered cards. The idea that attracts most votes wins the pooled money. 6. Form two sub-groups, give half the cards to each, and give each group (say) 15 minutes to develop six viable solutions from their cards. 7. Each sub-group tries to ‘sell’ their ideas to the other sub-group. 8. Everyone comes together and agrees on the best ideas overall.

Constrained BrainWriting
On a number of occasions you may want to constrained ideas around predetermined focus, rather than ranging freely. The versions described here use the standard Brainwriting pool technique, but bias the idea generation by using brain-writing sheets prepared in advance. 1. Present starter ideas: The leader initiates the process by placing several prepared sheets of paper in the pool in the centre of the table (see note below). 2. Private brainwriting: Each group member takes a sheet, reads it, and silently adds his or her ideas. 3. Change sheet: When a member runs out of ideas or wants to have the stimulation of another’s ideas, s/he puts one list back in the centre of the table and takes one returned by another member. After reviewing this new list s/he has just selected, s/he adds more ideas. 4. Repeat until ideas are exhausted. No discussion at any stage.

g.Varying the level of constraint Cued brainwriting: For mild constraint. SWOT's. the sheets are simply primed with one or more starting ideas (e. issues) in the required area. . with participants being asked to keep the ideas they contribute on each sheet relevant to the issue in the heading on that sheet. Structured brain-writing: For a stronger constraint the sheets can be formally headed. each sheet relating to a particular issue or theme.

3. After the process has been running for a suitable period and/or energy is running lower. . A group of 4-8 people sit around a table. Each participant privately draws one or more sketches (each on separate sheets of paper) of how it might be solved. or use them to stimulate new sketches of their own. They 2. but you pass evolving sketches rather than growing written lists of ideas around the group. The facilitator suggests that sketches should not take more than 5 minutes or so to draw. 1.Brain sketching This technique (VanGundy. or in a circle of chairs. the sketches are collected in. It will probably help to display all the sketches and to discuss them in turn for clarification and comment. evaluation and selection process. need to be far enough apart to have some privacy. passing each sketch on to the person on their right when it is finished. only limited facilitation skill is needed. 4. 1988) is a BrainWriting technique and a variant on Pin Cards. 5. Techniques of Structured Problem Solving. Then move on to any appropriate categorisation. passing the amended original and/or any new sketches on to their neighbour when ready. and discussed until understood. The problem statement is agreed. Participants take the sketches passed on to them and either develop or annotate them. As usual with most brain-writing techniques.

Each person draws a card from there neighbours pile as needed for inspiration. Team members can create new ideas. Once the idea has been used. and places them next to the person on his or her right. Everyone is free to pull out one or more of these ideas for inspiration. using Post-it notes or small cards. Examples of this include. it is passed on to the person on the right along with any new. You then add three more ideas. BrainWriting Pool Each person. There are many varieties. At the end of 5 minutes (or when everyone has finished writing) pass the worksheet to the person on your right.. The process continues until the worksheet is completed. variations or piggyback on existing ideas. Idea 2 Idea 3 Idea Card Method Each person. variations or piggybacked ideas. There will now be a total of 108 ideas on the 6 worksheets. Each person has a blank 6-3-5 worksheet (below) Problem Statement: How to. and places them in the centre of the table..BrainWriting BrainWriting is a technique similar to brainstorming and trigger sessions. writes down ideas. They then write 3 ideas on the top row of the worksheet in 5 minutes in a complete and concise sentence (6-10 words). but the general process is that all ideas are recorded by the individual who though of them. writes down ideas. BrainWriting 6-3-5 The name Brainwriting 6-3-5 comes from the process of having 6 people write 3 ideas in 5 minutes. These can now be assessed. BrainWriting Game . They are then passed on to the next person who uses them as a trigger for their own ideas. Idea 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 Everyone writes the problem statement at the top of their worksheet (word for word from an agreed problem definition). using Post-it notes or small cards.

This method is set in the form of a light-hearted competitive game. Constrained BrainWriting On a number of occasions you may want to constrained ideas around predetermined focus. The game will take a little longer than some other brainwriting techniques. 3. However. rather than ranging freely. Each member then has two votes (e. as long as the game atmosphere is fun rather than overly competitive. The idea that attracts most votes wins the pooled money. Members try to think of utterly implausible solutions. Everyone comes together and agrees on the best ideas overall. 10p each. but bias the idea generation by using brain-writing sheets prepared in advance. Form two sub-groups. Repeat until ideas are exhausted. 7. and give each group (say) 15 minutes to develop six viable solutions from their cards. The versions described here use the standard Brainwriting pool technique. The structure is as follows: 1. Private brainwriting: Each group member takes a sheet. 4. say. and the facilitator ensures that there are no significant losers. the game format might be useful. 4. Creativity methods normally avoid competition because it tends to be divisive. 5. pooling the money to form the prize. give half the cards to each. Very little facilitation skill is needed. Members now have (say) 15 minutes to silently read all the solutions. and silently adds his or her ideas. Change sheet: When a member runs out of ideas or wants to have the stimulation of another’s ideas. reads it. 1. Present starter ideas: The leader initiates the process by placing several prepared sheets of paper in the pool in the centre of the table (see note below). s/he puts one list back in the centre of the table and takes one returned by another member. . 2. particularly in training contexts where winning and losing are likely to be less of an issue and both can be used to provide teaching material. writing one per card. 6. No discussion at any stage. Display the problem statement. 2. serially numbered cards at. The cards are then put up on a display board. two sticky stars) to vote for what s/he now considers to be the most improbable idea on the numbered cards. 8. After reviewing this new list s/he has just selected. and explain that the winner of the game is the one who devises the most unlikely solution.g. s/he adds more ideas. 3. The facilitator sells each group member an agreed number (say 10) of blank. Each sub-group tries to ‘sell’ their ideas to the other sub-group. Each group member signs a receipt that records the serial numbers of their set of cards. and to append to them (on further un-numbered cards or Post-its) ways in which they could be converted into a more practical way of solving the problem (so reducing that ideas’ chances of winning).

. the sheets are simply primed with one or more starting ideas (e. SWOT's. each sheet relating to a particular issue or theme. with participants being asked to keep the ideas they contribute on each sheet relevant to the issue in the heading on that sheet.g. issues) in the required area.Varying the level of constraint Cued brainwriting: For mild constraint. Structured brain-writing: For a stronger constraint the sheets can be formally headed.

Factors that may support creative browsing I know little of the 'official' success rate of this sort of information seeking. my personal experience is that for stimulating those creative ideas: • • • • Choose a variety of presentation styles. However see "Using Experts" for a very different approach to information acquisition.Browsing This item is about creative browsing in a library context. Exploratory browsing: Where you are consciously looking for inspiration. Choose a selection of material over wide subject areas. Capricious browsing: where you are randomly examining material without a definite goal. Make yourself comfortable . You can always use someone else to refine the ideas once you have them. Although the importance of browsing is generally recognised.That way the sub-conscious mind can happily get on with solving those problems and trigging of the information you are getting. Do it yourself . At least three kinds of browsing have been recognised: • • • Purposive browsing: Where you are deliberately seeking a defined piece of information. Types of browsing The creative use of literature very often amounts to browsing. .you are not going to get the creative stimulus by asking someone else to look for you. However. its nature appears to be little understood.

bring in a random word into the problem (from a dictionary.. and is defined in detail in his book Thinkertoys. Force connections between the random word. based on random stimuli. 4. newspaper. Think of things associated with the random word 3. book. The process is 1. also between the associated things and the challenge. . and the challenge.Brutethink Brutethink is a technique by Michael Michalko.) 2. List all your ideas..

Adams recommends keeping it fluent and flexible. . Example bugs could be. ideas.Bug listing A bug list (Adams. if properly done. 1987) is simply a list of things that bug you! It should be personal and illuminate specific areas of need. possible changes. your bug list should spark ideas in your mind for inventions. remembering humorous and far-out bugs as well as common ones. Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas. etc. • • • • • • • • A program on TV A piece of music Those darn vermin by the tree outside Beer that's served to cold Offices that are to hot Flavourless food Food that has to much flavour enhancer Etc. you are either suffering from a perceptual or emotional block or have life unusually under control! It may well be the most specific thinking you have ever done about precisely what small details in life bother you. He suggests that if you run out of bugs in under ten minutes.

If there are significant numbers. showing how likely the event is to occur and if it did occur. it can have the effect of lower your spirits. looking on the ‘black side’. how serious it would be for your plan. Should this be the case and you feel in the need for some cheering up try using the same technique in reverse: • • • What could go well? What pleasant surprises might it deliver? What is the best thing that could happen? Obviously these uplifting enquiries should be reasonably plausible – a collection of good things that really might happen! . it would be: Major Problem Minor Problem Although this type of exercise is necessary. • • • • Brainstorm around enquiries such as: ‘What might happen if…?’ to identify the areas in your plan of action that could potentially cause problems and which have not yet been identified. you may first need to priorities them so that you can focus your effort on the most important. Major problems that are very likely to happen. How likely is it to occur Unlikely Very likely Most Serious Least serious If it did occur.Bullet Proofing The bullet proofing technique aims to identify the areas in which your plan might be especially vulnerable: • • • What may possibly go wrong? What are some of the difficulties that could occur? What’s the worst imaginable thing that could occur? There are some similarities with Potential – Problem Analysis (PPA) (Kepner and Tregoe). All the areas identified should be placed on a table such as the one below. Negative Brainstorming (Isaksen and Treffinger. 1985) who suggest that ‘What might happen if…?’ is a useful question to use for looking at potential challenges. Use any suitable problem-solving method to work out ways to dealing with them.

What I’d like to do would be to find a product that every Australian sheep would be clamouring to buy’. and inertia’? 2. the timing of his ‘bunch of bananas’ was just right and someone picked up the idea: o ‘Sheep? Oh.Bunches of Bananas The Bunches of bananas technique is one of lateral thinking. There are people that instinctively liven up a sluggish meeting by being provocative. sluggishness. 4. 3. Sometime you can get out of a rut in the most unexpected ways…’ 5. o The discussion this idea triggered. eventually led to a new product being marketed to Australia. although it does involve some risk and uncertainty. as you can never foresee the consequence the intervention will have. If the group is inexperienced. reducing excessive left-brain attention (which may be fuelling a mind set). o 'Bunches of bananas’ can come in a variety of forms – any well placed joke or image that captures attention when appropriate. it is as much the delivery as the idea. or ‘throwing in a bunch of bananas’. Then someone said: o ‘We don’t seem to be getting very far. It is concerned more with mood than with correctness of content. the actual content of the intervention is not important. In many ways. What could you say or do to assist the group out of that state of ‘stuckness’. For example. Consider the mood and atmosphere: are there any signs of ‘stuckness. o Although this comment could have been met with disapproval or polite silence. Here are some tips: 1. you mean for us find large numbers of customers who can be influenced easily. which brings about the effect. Create ‘bunches of bananas’ to suit your own character and style. Just as with a comedian. The simple use of Random Stimuli of Various Kinds can often have the same effect. but bear with me a minute or so. Bear in mind in mind that you are engaging in a ‘whole-brain’ activity. a group wanting to market goods from the UK to Australia exhausted all the obvious possibilities and seemed to be ‘stuck’. . the approach may have to be appropriately signaled: ‘I know this is going to sound a little crazy. Perhaps we have been concentrating too hard on too few clients’.

and Venn-convention methods such at Snowball Technique. each with a column of idea cards below it. Cards are laid out in a tabular format – a simple row of header cards (or possibly header and sub-header cards as in the example below).f. It is an ‘idea’ organizing’ method using tree logic (c. The group leader selects a particular ‘header’ and participants write ideas relating to that header on cards. The semi-sticky adhesive used on re-stickable notes is available in spray-can form. Constrained Brain writing as another way to achieve this). The facilitator is more able to concentrate on idea-generation of particular topics and sub-topics much more closely than is usually possible in openended methods (c. Mind-Mapping. One possible approach is as follows: 1. These are written on cards and displayed as a row of ‘headers’.f. perhaps with added action or comment notes attached (index cards or Post-it slips could be used): Using different shaped or coloured ‘header’ cards to make them more striking is helpful. until there is an adequate . the cards can then be put in position or removed and rearranged as you wish. they then suggest possible categories of solutions. you can make a re-stickable display area by spraying flip-chart paper with the adhesive. 2. so if you want to use non-sticky cards. The group leader describes the problem to the participants. and KJ-Method).Card Story Boards This technique although similarly named is quite different from the Cartoon Story Board technique. and other hierarchical diagrams and outlines. These idea-cards are displayed under the relevant header. This process is repeated with other headers. followed by the leader posing provocative questions to prompt further idea-cards under that header.

in a system that is easily adjusted. a fully developed problem-solving process devised by Bauer and Associates (1985). The headers for the idea-generation stage are then created as a result of this initial stage. one group member writes the cards. makes extensive use of card story boards. and/or add sub-header cards under a particular header card 3. another member pins them up. You can also use header cards to represent procedural elements or steps (instead of idea categories) with the idea-cards listing the results of that step. They use a · ‘Why?’ header (equivalent to Smitters’ ‘Purpose’). The idea cards should no be ranked via a suitable voting method and arranged in priority order under each header (or sub-header). The best three in each category are discussed further. · ‘Miscellaneous’ header (for use where there is disagreement about the category of an idea) · ‘Wild Card’ header (where all rejected ideas are stored) · ‘Causes’ header (for evaluation) · ‘Consequences’ header (for evaluation) · ‘Essential Criteria’ header (for evaluation) · ‘Solution ideas’ header (for evaluation) · ‘Selected solution(s)’ header (for evaluation) · ‘Action Steps’ header (for evaluation) · ‘Assessment Steps’ header (for evaluation) These establish a very compact summary of the problem and current ideas about dealing with of ideas. return to Step 1 to generate further headers. and ranked amongst themselves Smithers (1984). If necessary. FASTTRACK. adds a introductory problem clarification stage by initially putting up a header saying ‘Purpose’ and then getting the group to develop idea-cards under this header for different aspects of the ‘Purpose’ of solving the problem. allowing the group leader to concentrate on facilitation. of the Creative Thinking Centre. .

. The ‘transformation process’. E. For example the system may be in place to assist in making the world environmentally safer. regulations. and so on.’ ‘A system for . It may be better to look at which are the important elements of CATWOE for any given system and use the relevant sub-set. rather than to the problem or goal itself – i. Soft Systems Methodology in Action. Just working through CATWOE. and the consequences of system failure could be significant pollution. The ‘owner(s)’ – i. Such a definition should include: C. The ‘customers of the system’. CATWOE is applied to the system which contains the problem.CATWOE ‘CATWOE’ is a mnemonic for a checklist for problem or goal definition (Checkland and Scholes. In this context. The ‘actors’. ‘customers’ means those who are on the receiving end of whatever it is that the system does. T. meaning those who would actually carry out the activities envisaged in the notional system being defined. or ‘A system that .’. limits set by terms of reference. O. adding each element as you go... resource limitations. These include things such as ethical limits.e. issue or solution. can lead to an unwieldy definition..e. those who have sufficient formal power over the system to stop it existing if they so wished (though they won’t usually want to do this). financial constraints.’. Putting the system into it's wider context can highlight the consequences of the overall system. .. Is it clear from your definition who will gain or lose? A. The ‘environmental constraints’. W. 1990). to: ‘A system to .. What does the system do to the inputs to convert them into the outputs. The ‘world view’ that lies behind the root definition.

A report was produced so that anyone could discover what happened. 2. 3. child care. graphics.Charrette Originating in the US in the 1960's. usually preceded by a massive public relations campaign. reports. 24-hour facility’. the press. ‘Charrette’ involved an intensive twoweek consultation process. economic and physical plans combined the resources of a number of local bodies. drawings. The aim was for a local community to developed social. etc. small group discussions during the day. Local newspapers. Introductory speeches. 8. 7. Sub-groups explored possible solutions to agreed issues. The Charrette building had to be able to provide for large evening forums. television. Split into sub-groups 4. lunch and light meals. in a climate of strong community commitment. and also for secretarial services. It was a ‘live-in. 6. to help build key relationships and to identify community objectives and goals. A detailed implementation strategy and action plan was then produced. with public and private officials being available to discuss the impact of resource limitations and political climate. experts. . the media and the whole community. work-in. TV and radio were usually closely involved. professionals) were usually brought in from out of town to bring fresh minds to the problems. The resource people (consultants. with models. and integrated them all into a prioritised programme of action. and to establish responsibility and accountability. Sub-group brainstorms. The main stages were as follows: 1. The final proposals were presented before top-ranking officials. 5. A large public relations campaign (often including a questionnaire and several pre-Charrette workshops to give the community a chance to discuss the problem and to introduce it to the dynamics of Charrette.

The process is 1. 2. re-assemble the attributes . look at each attribute at a time and try thinking of ways to change or improve it. until you have enough to work with. 3. 4.Cherry Split Cherry Split is an attribute listing technique by Michael Michalko and is defined in detail in his book Thinkertoys. 5. 6. State the challenge .in two words Split the challenge into two separate attributes Split each attribute into two further attributes continue splitting each attribute into 2 more attributes.

5. The process is 1. and combined. 6. both separately. 4. 3. 2. State the Challenge Draw a circle and number it like a clock (number 1 through 12) Select any 12 attributes Throw a pair of dice to select the first attribute Throw a pair of dice to select the second attribute Consider the attributes. to find an association between the two attributes. Search for a link between your association and your challenge .Circle of Opportunity Circle of Opportunity is an Morphological Forced Connections technique by Michael Michalko and is defined in detail in his book Thinkertoys. 7.

To do what? ‘My thinking is better’. on the left are some common forms of language fuzziness. Specific answers are requested in the questions. and ‘must’ ‘I cant do anything right’. What things? ‘Something should be done about it? What should be done about what? • Unspecified verbs: The verb is introduced but is not clarified ‘I can deal with it’. The material below shows how important language analyses are. are introduced. How. equally parts of their story may be missing without them realising it. What might happen if I don’t? . they do not have fixed. Though apparently important to the speaker. but also preventing questioners imposing their own (possibly incorrect) interpretations on it. not only for clarifying the speaker’s own thoughts. How are you stuck? • Nominalizations: Abstract nouns like ‘pride’. Notice that these are powerful questions. specifically? ‘I’m stuck’. clear meanings ‘There is no respect here’. and used insensitively they can feel like interrogation rather than help! • Deletion: Where material has been completely omitted from the sentence ‘I’m inadequate’. About what? Better than what • Referential index deletion: A Place. Who knows what and in what way? • Modal operators: Use of limiting words like ‘cant’. ‘confidence’. Who is not respecting whom? Respecting in what way? ‘Knowledge is most important’. The clarification technique helps communication to others and will often release problems and help the problem owner as well. person or thing is brought into the sentence but not specified ‘Thing get me down’. and on the right are some question for clarifying them. What prevents you? ‘You must go’.Clarification The things that people actually say are often rather different from what they mean. ‘respect’. ‘love’.

Causal modelling: Any cause-effect statement that will link two or more situations in a cause-effect fashion.g. ‘The manager tried to lie to me again’ presupposes a manager and past lying (Exactly when and in what circumstances did the manager lie to you in the past?).g.• • • • Lost perfomatives: A ‘should’ or ‘must’ statement that doesn’t state where its authority come from – e. Presuppositions: Parts of a statement that must have some existence for the statement to be true or valid. (Is this the only possible explanation?) Mind reading: The speaker alleges to be privy to the internal states of others. (What is the person actually thinking or wanting?) . exactly. ‘Ill never accept another sales trip again!’.g. ‘The printer breakdown was the reason for me being late with the draft’. ‘and I think he is doing that because he wants the contract’. e.‘People should know better’ (Who.g. ‘I know what you are thinking’.g. ‘Staplers never work!’. e. ‘Everyone hats me!’. says they should?) Generalisations and Universal quantifiers: Associating a whole class of experience with same meaning. e. e.

Every day. A key advantage is that since the idea generation is extended over several weeks. where the ideas are categorised and summarised. Participants are drawn from several organisations all over the country and provided with notebooks describing the procedure and giving a broad scenario-prediction task (e. and then continues adding one idea a day to the partner’s book for a further week. Participants can then view all the notebooks and the co-ordinator's report. medium and long term and their possible consequences) For up to 2 weeks each participant writes one idea per day in the notebook and then exchanges their notebook with a pre-assigned partner. Pearson’s Variant Pearson’s (1979) report is built on the basic structure of Haefel’s original version. reads the partner’s ideas. After four weeks. participants are given further related information from the experts. . Each participant is provided with a notebook (by the co-ordinator) describing the course of action and giving a broad problem statement. the literature and colleagues. minimise) Exploration methods (listing problem characteristics or similar problems) Seeking remote associations (random stimuli from all five senses. 2. the opportunity for incubation and exposure to a wide range of stimuli is readily available. 5. the participants present a brief written summary.g. Unfortunately the workload on the co-ordinator can be high if numerous people are taking part. At regular periods during the month. 1. after which there may be a general group discussion. Any completely new ideas about issues unconnected to the problem. however. 3. expand. The notebook also contains some suggestions for generating ideas. for one month each participant writes one idea in the notebook. Ideas for further investigations that might help solve the problem c.Collective Notebook (CNB) Haefele’s Original Version John Haefele (1962) of Proctor and Gamble devised CNB to encourage idea generation within an organisation. such as: • • • Transformation methods (reverse. 4. giving: a. that on the participants is very low. Their best idea to solve the problem b. about the factors likely to affect managers in the short. unusual properties of other substances). but brings his version closer to the Delphi technique. The notebooks are collected (by the co-ordinator).

Responses are categorised (e. into issues vs. personal and resource consequences and another in terms of shortmedium.g. . economic.and long-term futures). round one set of grouping in terms of political. technical. Alternative storyline scenarios are then developed (e.g. social. The scenarios are compared and discussed to generate further ideas. consequences) and recorded onto index cards.The notebooks are then collected and divided between a team of 3 cocoordinators (to reduce the administrative load) who highlight the key ideas.

However as this criterion is highly valued (at 5) ‘beach holiday’ gets a weighted value of 20 (4 x 5). low cost. so that weighted scores can in theory go from 1 (raw score = 1. weight=1) to 25 (raw score = 5. .Comparison Tables The two tables below show both simple and complex forms of the classic method of comparing small numbers of alternatives in terms of multiple properties (e. with a series of criteria along the top (happy kids.) on which they are to be compared in order of importance to the decision maker (as indicated by the ‘weight’ to be attached to each criterion).g. It is clear that the ‘Total’ on the right shows ‘Stay at home’ would win on ‘raw scores’ (Sum of raw scores = 13) basis. This comparison uses ratings from 1 to 5 (the ‘raw score’ columns). Option Happy Kids s (weight=5) Low Cost Happy Adults Easy Travel (weight=3) (weight=2) (weight=1) Totals Sum Raw Weighte Raw Weighte Raw Weighte Raw Weighte of Sum of scor d score: scor d Score: scor d score: scor d score: raw weighte e x5 e x3 e x2 e x1 score d score s Walkin g Holida y Cruise Holida y Beach Holida y Stay at home Holida y Camp 1 5 3 9 4 8 4 4 12 26 2 10 1 3 2 4 3 3 8 20 4 1 5 20 5 25 1 5 1 3 15 3 3 2 1 6 4 2 2 5 2 2 5 2 10 13 9 31 29 32 During the final comparison. however there are software tools available. which would speed up the process. the ‘weighted value’ of a given option on a given criterion is the raw score for that option on that criterion. This particular version uses manual compilation. Thus. as used in many of the ‘best buy’ magazines). An alternative option of a series of imaginary holidays appears on the left of the table. ‘beach holiday’ gets a raw score of ‘4’ on the ‘happy kids’ criterion. weight = 5). The main body of the table contains raw and weighted scores for each alternative on each criterion. but ‘Holiday camp’ wins once you allow for the different weight of each criterion (Sum of weighted scores = 32). plus a numerical ‘weight’ for each criterion (also 1 to 5). multiplied by the weight of that criterion. etc.

. it wins. whereas Holiday camp would only increase to 33). If there is only one (as above). move on to the next criterion. -. ‘Stay at home’ would win instead (Sum of its weighted scores would be 34. If several tie.Nevertheless the results are still very sensitive to the exact values chosen. if the criterion ‘Low cost’ is given a weight of ‘4’ rather than ‘3’. As this procedure is much easier and less obscure. which amount. +. Sensitivity to slight changes also makes this an easy method to ‘rig’ so as to manufacture an impressive-looking self-objective case that seems to support an option that you happen to be in favour of! The qualitative version presents essentially the same picture. Less important criteria are only used to resolve ties. For instance. Again. to a five-point scale: --. if there is only one. ++: Happy kids (+++) Walking Holiday Cruise Holiday Beach Holiday Stay at home Holiday Camp Low cost (++) + + ++ ++ + ++ Happy adults Easy travel (++) (+) ++ + To use this table begin by selecting the options that score best on the most important criterion. but reduced to a scatter of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ signs. blank. effectively. And so on. Such technicalities can make it quite difficult to see what going on unless one option is ‘head and shoulders’ above the rest. compare the tied options on the next most important criterion. the implications of working with such crude information are much simpler to grasp and discuss (and if necessary to allow for an even ignore). it wins. but if several are still tied.

Components are drawn in much the same way as the old children’s game combining pictures of heads. It has strong elements of ‘problem exploration’ as well as ‘idea-generation’.f. 4. or indeed for ideas for completely new products. bodies and legs’ game). Brain Sketching).e. making their sketch as detailed as is achievable in the time available (c. Assemble a group of participants to break a problem down into as many major components (sub-systems or sub-assemblies) as there are group members.Component Detailing The component detailing technique (Watkin.f. but it can also work with problems whose components have a clear logical. rather than physical. 3. all fit crudely together (either physically or logically) as a ‘complete’ product or solution (like the artificial person created in the ‘heads. Attribute Listing). 2. The group lists the features of each component (c. . 1. because it often helps comprehensive understanding and the development of new viewpoint. The method works best when the ‘problem’ is the design of a physical object. 1985) has associations with Attribute Listing and Brain Sketching. bodies and legs taken from different people to make a bizarre composite person. The composite collage is then looked at and discussed for new ideas and perspective on the original problem. relation to one another. Each group member is allotted one component and should try unearthing a way to produce a sketch of a way of ‘solving’ it. Reconstruct all the component drawings into one large collage that is organised to represent a (probably rather bizarre!) composite ‘solution’ of the whole problem – i.

Concept Fan . If this is the case. Initially. see diagram below: Use this as a starting point to radiate out other ideas. To the right of it radiate lines representing possible solutions to the problem see the diagram below: It is possible that the ideas you have come up with are impractical or do not really solve the problem. and another…) Edward de Bono devised the idea of the Concept Fan in his book ‘Serious Creativity’. the Concept Fan requires you to draw a circle in the middle of a large piece of paper. if this does not give you an adequate amount of new ideas.Widening the Search for Solutions The Concept Fan is a way of discovering alternative approach’s to a problem when you have discarded all obvious solutions. you can take yet another step back (and another. writing the broader definition into this new circle and linking it with an arrow to show that it comes from the first circle. It develops the principle of 'taking a step back' to get a broader viewpoint. Write the problem you are trying to solve in the circle. Drawing a circle to the left of the first circle does this. take a 'step back' for a broader analysis of the problem. .

outlining a 10-year network of sequentially linked activities to deal with a complex environmental pollution issue). 6. Map reconfiguration: The whole group splits itself again into the respective task groups.e. each of 5 – 9 individuals in each. outline. because they can be changed. Links made of ribbon or yarns are better than pen lines at this stage. 2. e.Consensus Mapping The consensus mapping technique (Hart et al. 5.g. Everyone copies the master list onto Post-its. Present the ideas: Devise a master list. 9.. 8. one idea per slip. via any suitable means. Private clustering: Individuals in groups makes their own private attempt to group the ideas into related clusters or categories. 7. level. 4. 10.g. This ‘Strawman map’ is presented to the group as a whole when they come back together. clarification of the original ideas. Group review: following group clustering. Map consolidation: Representatives from each task group meet to construct a single final map that combines the features of all the maps. Group clustering: Individual task groups combine to try merging their private clustering into a shared clustering they can all accept. . staff members consolidate the group cluster maps into a single overall cluster map. During the break. or equivalent. It merges elements of standard clustering techniques such at KJ-method and Snowball Technique with elements of sequential mapping Causal Mapping incorporated into a wider consensus-seeking procedure that has associates with Eden. Here is the suggested procedure: 1. 3. Form groups: The facilitator form 2 – 4 task groups. categories. The technique has parallels to many of the usual project planning methods (and could if necessary feed into them) but operates at a purely qualitative. the order has to be approved – it is not given by the internal logic of the activities themselves. These will usually be activities that could be done in a range of orders – i. brainstorm the activities needed to implement some idea or project.s SODA method. detailing all the ideas to be used in the single coherent action plan required. and each one uses the ‘Strawman Map’ for motivation and stimuli for developing its own map in which cluster of activities are linked sequentially. Facilitators create and present a ‘Strawman’ integrated map: each task group delivers their group clusters to the facilitator they then take a break. Sharing in triads: Join together in pairs or triads within each task group to describe one another’s clusters. Plenary presentation: Each task group exhibits its map of sequentially linked clusters to the others. and re-evaluation of them takes place. 1985) helps a facilitator and group reach consensus about how best to arrange a network of up to maybe 20 – 30 activities that have to be sequenced over time into a useable plan of action (e. containing all the ideas. and relationships generated by the groups.

. but the mapping element could easily be adapted to informal solo use.The complete procedure works best with a trained group.

and innovative solutions found. This can lead to factors which hindsight can identify and improve.e. An innovative solution might be to reduce the weight of the fuel by increasing its energy density (i.Contradiction Analysis At the heart of most problems is a contradiction between two requirements or factors. where the physical state of the object must be in two states at once. In many systems the majority of the contradictions can be easily found. but ignorance of the minor ones. However the electric car shows the contradiction in sharp focus. If these contradiction can be understood. Often the design of the existing object was based upon an understanding of the obvious factors and contradictions. but also highlights the possibility of tram like systems. This is contradicted by the need to weigh as little as possible extend endurance. These contradictions can either by technical. This brings the solutions of solar power. with the car tapping the fuel source from non moving sources. . where alternative solutions improve one aspect of the design at the expense of another: or physical. Keep a list of the contradiction inherent in those problems you attack on a day to day basis. If you can find a way of removing or reducing multiple contradiction at once. For example. Add to the list as you find new ones and try and identify the interrelation between these contradictions. However. you have a greater probability of identifying a workable solution. With the conventional internal combustion engine this is not a significant problem. significant advances can be made. In addition it is important to identify those contradiction which are not obvious. in the case of the car. This could be achieved by obtaining the fuel from outside the moving car. The best solution is one where the contradiction is removed: where there is no link between the amount of fuel and the weight. better batteries). by identifying the contradiction it becomes possible to think past this. the requirement to go as far as possible can be thought of as the need to carry the maximum fuel load. and thus reduce fuel load.

Repeat as required at a given level: repeat the cycle of imaginethen-relax until you are able to view the first image easily.g. relaxing your face.. and eventually yourself. you should be conscious of the possibility that you may experience imagery relating to unexpected matters – maybe to undesirable past memories. then a floating cup.Controlling Imagery Warning: As with all imagery based methods. Now try again. or even just saying it to yourself. Should this be a concern. repeating the process until you can view this image without anxiety. don’t use imagery-based methods. 4. go onto the next. Tackling a Frightening Image in Stages 1. Continue through the sequence of images. though that is not so effective. Progress in stages: Once you feel comfortable with the ‘easy’ image. or use them with appropriate level of support. until the hat is red. and in the negative sense of knowing how to stop it or defuse it. Begin by adding one red button to the hat. Relax/imagine cycle: Relax. Imagine the simplest image on your list. Never force the pace. etc. 3. switch your attention to thinking about something very mundane like what you had for lunch. Begin by imagining a floating balloon. imagine watching a film about the image. approach this by making the change in stages: • • Example 1: presume that you can’t imagine yourself floating up to the ceiling. and develop a progressive sequence from images that are easy to imagine. Ways of Stopping Compulsive Trains of Unwanted Images • • Switch attention: open your eyes. Example 2: presume you have a problem changing a blue hat into a red one. a chair. through to the trickier ones and finally the most upsetting image itself. It may help to have a partner to talk you through steps 2 – 4. 2. The following set of techniques has been devised to help exercise more control over you imagery. put the image out of your thoughts and relax once more. then two. both in the positive sense of doing more with it. or a film about someone making a film about it. Devise a progressive series of images: write down a description of the image. a briefcase. and discontinue the fantasy. . Taking several sessions if necessary. Take a deep breath then let it out slowly. You could try an indirect method – e. Developing Your Skill in Changing Your Imagery. then snapping your fingers and ordering them to ‘Stop!’ or getting someone to shout ‘Stop!’ for you. Stop! Method: Try putting the images into words. If you feel anxious.

Talk to it. Helper: If you would like a companion. fantasise about the enjoyable experience of meeting it! Ways of Dissipating Fearful Images • • • • • • • Close examination: If you feel up to it. real or unreal. imagine a telescope. shoulders and arms as you do so. imagine its pleasurable opposite. which is threatening. visualise yourself taking the threatening creature into the sunlight. Empathising: Imagine you are the threatening object. so that you can see the detail from a safe distance. relaxing your front and back and legs right down to the ground as you do so. until the mind is exhausted. look in its eyes. move closer and further from the imagery. bring someone into your fantasy to help you or to be with you. Feed it. engage the figure in dialogue and ask what it wants. look at the image closely and describe it in detail. Call on religious or supernatural power or help (e. Take a second deep breath let it out slowly. to reduce the demand. Light: It you and the figure are surrounded by dark. Reversal method: To eliminate a passive worry. Dialogue: If there is one figure. Flooding method: Attempt creation of more images of a similar kind – flooding yourself with them. E. See if it alters in any way. Find out what it likes to eat.• • neck. How does the figure feel? If it is some sort of creature. or find a competent guide in your imagination whom you trust and who can go with you Talisman/wand: Remember that in fantasy anything is possible. Imagine the figure or the whole scene bathed in white light.. Then take two normal breaths. Transform but do not destroy: Because the imagery is all part of you. God).g. examining it in detail and from every angle.g. shorter and shallower. it can often be transformed successfully. Give yourself of a magic wand or magic power. If you are distressed about a deadline. . but ‘killing’ it doesn’t usually work and the ‘killed’ feelings are likely to return in another form. If going close feels uncomfortable.

by frequency of occurrence and/or feasibility. The pads are often pre-prepared to consist of idea-jogging graphics. At appropriate points in the general proceedings. the booklets are immediately divided up between the members of a team of helpers and sorted in agreed ways – e. If a greater degree of sophisticated categorisation is required. 5. Participants are told to write ideas of the required kind one per sheet. 50 – 200). 6. It is used with large gatherings of people in say. etc. 4. 2. However.g. can help with stimulating ideas. 1. When writing has begun to slow down (usually 5 – 10 minutes) the note-pads are collected. Each person is given a stack or note-pad of at least 25 small slips of paper (e. presenting early feedback as examples drawn from a limited random sample of booklets may be the best option. Rapid feedback from a large exercise can be quite a coup de theatre if organised successfully. and for small groups it reduces to an undemanding ‘private idea generation’ phase. for an event lasting several days (such as a conference) quite complex feedback throughout the duration of the conference is plausible if the logistics are well planned.Crawford Slip Writing Crawford developed the Crawford slip writing method in the USA in the 1920’s.g. from an earlier pilot). though its much easier to handle with. Feedback during the same meeting is difficult to achieve. A6 paper). predecessor of a modern radio or TV ‘phone-in’. the time and activity of handling the pads in Step 5 becomes crucial. at the same time creating a sense of democratic responsiveness .g. 7. for use in gathering ideas from large groups (even up to 5000 people. a lecture theatre or hall and is in many ways is the manual. then the categories will probably have to be pre-determined (e. or organising participants to work in twos or threes (e. problem statements are read out to the group using any of the well established procedures such as: ‘How to…’ or ‘In what ways might we…’. analysis and evaluation can continue at a steadier pace to identify the most useful ideas and develop them into practicable proposals. Displayed images or words to the whole meeting to act as triggers. In the case of a very large meeting. a feedback report dispatched to participants is often valuable. or in the case of larger groups. This technique can successfully supply a method of achieving large numbers of ideas swiftly. 3. It is actually one of the original forms of brain writing. so that each team member can work to the same categories. If rapid feedback is being attempted. however in some instances you may want to get ideas for alternative problem statements. Finally. in any order. with others sitting near them). say. or related issues.g. text-based. The search is generally for ideas for solutions. so the pad needs to be designed so that the ideas can be separated and sorted easily. After the early feedback.

people may feel embarrassed. Evidence from computer studies suggests that provided that pace and energy can be upheld and that the logistics can be handled (easier said than done) there is no ‘optimal group size’ the larger the group. angry or resentful at being asked to participate. can be critical. In the wrong environment. mood. automated techniques where participants have electronic voting buttons or (in smaller numbers) each have their own networked computer and keyboard have proved more successful. Conversely.However. people may develop exaggerated expectations about your ability to follow up their ideas. the mass dynamics of timing. the more ideas you will get. if the group is very large. and become disillusioned when very few ideas are take up. though obviously there is a law of diminishing returns. To improve on this. ‘warm-up’ cultural acceptability. . image. etc. if you create a very positive crowd mood.

opportunities. o Convergent techniques again include: identifying hotspots (Highlighting). What. more recent publications seem more interested in focusing on procedure and technique issues. the Buffalo Creative problem Solving Group. familiarity. sources and data: List all your information ‘wants’ as a series of question. with less weight on the full elaboration of this structure. However. and with the Centre for Creative Learning in Sarasota. for each.) that need to be tackled. stability). The method can be used as a training programme and has a very extensive track record linked particularly with the Centre for Studies in Creativity of the State University College at Buffalo. 2. The following. problem-owner’s motivation and ability to influence it) and outlook criteria (e. then follow these up and for each source. Why. expressed as a list of IWWMs (‘In What Ways Might…’). o Divergent techniques include Five Ws and H (Who. New York. e. o Divergent techniques include ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice If…’ (WIBNI) and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Awful If…’ (WIBAI) – brainstorming to identify desirable outcomes. Mind-mapping to sort and classify the information gathered. There are a variety of general structures: ‘define problem. – the repeatable questions and Five Ws and H. generate possible solutions. Isakesen and Treffinger (1985) Isaksen. In it’s most extended and formalised form it has the six stages shown below. and obstacles to be overcome. etc. list possible sources of answers. Stage 3: Problem finding: convert a fuzzy statement of the problem into a broad statement more suitable for idea finding.Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Osborn’s original classical brainstorming is the root of creative problem solving (CPS).g. select and implement the best’ which can be found extensively. o Divergent techniques include asking ‘Why?’ etc. search) for issues (concerns. Stage 1: Mess finding: Sensitise yourself (scan. o Convergent techniques include the identification of hotspots (Highlighting). When. the account illustrate here was formulated by Sidney J. each with a divergent and a convergent phase. in several different academic traditions. reformulation of problem-statements to meet the criteria that . o Convergent techniques include Highlighting again. and also restating the problem in the light of your richer understanding of it. and selection in terms of ownership criteria (e. Florida. However. Where and How) and listing of wants.g. list what you found. Parnes in the 1950’s and has been build upon continuously since then by various authors. Stage 2: Data finding: Gather information about the problem. 3. based on Van Gundy (1988’s) description. challenges. Dorval and Treffinger (1994 and 1998). is a very brief skeleton of a very rich process.g. showing it in its full ‘6 x 2 stages’ form: 1. urgency.

g. o Convergence can again involve hotspots or mind-mapping. the combining of different ideas. PotentialProblem Analysis (PPA). using Comparison tables). 5. Stage 5: Solution finding: Generate and select obvious evaluation criteria (using an expansion/contraction cycle) and develop (which may include combining) the short-listed ideas from Idea Finding as much as you can in the light of these criteria. Possible techniques include – Five W’s and H. and the short-listing of the most promising handful. and continue to apply deferred judgement – problems are exposed to be solved. The general rules of classical brainstorming (such as deferring judgement) are likely to under-pin all of these. but not over-restrictively. Stage 6: Acceptance finding: How can the suggestion you have just selected be made up to standard and put into practice? Shun negativity.they contain only one problem and no criteria. 6. 4. Consensus Mapping. . Then opt for the best of these improved ideas (e. Action plans are better developed in small groups of 2 – 3 rather than in a large group (unless you particularly want commitment by the whole group). Implementation Checklists. Stage 4: Idea Finding: generate as many ideas as possible o Divergence using any of a very wide range of idea-generating techniques. Particularly for ‘people’ problems it is often worth developing several alternative action plans. perhaps with some thought for the more obvious evaluation criteria. and selection of the most promising statement (but NB that the mental ‘stretching’ that the activity gives to the participants can be as important as the actual statement chosen). not to dishearten progress.

which is supportive of this procedure • • • • • • Does it show the way to lots of ideas? Is it the question about which you want to find ideas? Does it locate the ownership clearly? Is if affirmative in its orientations? Is it free of criteria? Is it stated briefly and clearly? If the statement appears to falter on any criteria. However after the development stage it is valuable to ensure that the way it is expressed will support the workings of the problem solving method you are using. Dorval and Treffinger (1994) developed this straightforward checklist. perhaps you can modify it to reinforce its effectiveness for gathering ideas. (See also the CATWOE criteria) . Isakesen.Criteria for Idea-Finding Potential The focus and content of a problem statement can be adjusted and developed in a variety of ways (try a search on Defining).

These start (green) and end (red) circles that represent events – points in time that usually mark the start or end of an activity (e. both devised independently in the 1950’s. ‘train personnel’. ‘build wall’. leaflets arrive’).Critical Path Diagrams (CPD) or Critical Path Method (CPM) The critical path method (CPM).g. ‘print 1000 leaflets’. 1. events do not. themselves. so overall costs can be managed as well as timing.g. List all the activities and sub-activities required to accomplish your project and identify the events that start or end each of these activities. those for which any setback or rushing will affect the overall time for the project. consume time or resources. but share similarities and now form the basis of many project planning software packages. and the Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). .e. which activities lay on the ‘critical path’ – i. the sequence(s) in which they must take place and how long each will take. This will assist you in managing the collection of tasks to accomplish fixed time targets overall. The purpose of CPM is to permit you to recognise. where one event must be completed before another starts even though they are not directly linked by an activity). Sometimes you also need dashed arrows that indicate sequence (i. The fundamental elements of a critical path diagram (illustrated above) are: • • • Arrows (blue) that represent activities – area of work that use up time or resources – e. ‘start wall’. More advance forms of CPM also know about the cost of each element.e. The description outline below is simplified approach to CPM and assumes that you can recognize component activities that are required to carry out your project.

start tiling the roof on the sixth day. optional routes or decision nodes. Construct the map as illustrated above. but these alternative possibilities are in your head. classic CPM networks have no loops. Unlike flowchart methods of representing action plans. they are not shown on the diagram itself. Reviewing the example above. 5. adding any details needed to make it function correctly. in what order (however see point 4 below!) 3. and where the critical path lies. . 4. However. No event can happen until all the activities feeding into it are complete and no activity can start until the event it follows has happened. amending the diagram to meet the new conditions. Check the diagram carefully. The sequence of activities that goes through the upper branch is the critical path because any delay anywhere in this sequence adds to the total. and once it has needs only 2.5 days while the top branch needs 4 days. The diagram is drawn as if you have made all the decisions in advance and know exactly what has to happen. it can’t happen again.2. showing the overall sequences you require. Adjust as required should things not go as planned. Every activity must happen in the order shown. where there is slack. Work out the earliest and latest possible start times of each activity. there is no slack. the bottom branch does have slack in it . it is clear that they start building the walls on the second day. and complete at the end of the seventh day.

Power Enlightenment Wealth Well-being Skill Affection Respect Rectitude Seven step Decision process: 1. Clarifying goals Describing trends over time Analysing conditions that affect these trends Projecting developments – how current policies are likely to turn out Invention. 1960) is a predecessor of the Think Tank technique of the 1960’s and is derived from a more sociological rather brainstorming procedure. 7. It was primarily designed by a social science research facility to tackle applied social policy issues in an efficient way. etc. A core group of possibly 15 (joined as required by external expert. 6. 4. 5.Decision Seminar The decision seminar technique (Laswell. 7. 3. focusing on past. 4. 6. 8. 3. worked over an comprehensive period of time from a permanent chart and map room. 7. 4. 3. 2. 6. present and future developments. 2. evaluation and selection of alternatives to achieve desired goals Seven Broad Information-gathering categories: 1. 5. 4. Gathering and processing information Making and promoting recommendations Developing and prescribing general policy rules Deciding how to monitor adherence to rules Applying the rules Appraising the rules Terminating the policy . 5. 3. using a standardised ‘general purpose’ conceptual framework: Five Intellectual tasks: 1.). 5. Participants Perspectives Situations Base-values (a SWOT-like analysis) Strategies (how base-value position is used) Outcomes (of the strategies) Effects (on participants) Value Analysis using Eight key values: 1. 2. 2.

.This standardised conceptual framework was supported by a variety of techniques and a strong emphasis on clear record keeping and on the use of visible maps and charts.

There is no reason why this cannot be repeated for further questionnaires until a steady pattern materialises. with a request for each panel member to sort the cards into related clusters. this subsequent document is created in light of the responses to the initial questionnaire. 5. send out. validity…) and finally to include any additional items suggested by the combined listing. Alternatively.g. send out. Nominate the Panel. (in which case conclude). on a five point scale of importance. 1.Delphi The Delphi technique was developed in the 1950’s by the RAND Corporation as a tool for harnessing the views of a group of experts to forecast the potential damage from atom bomb attacks. the items rated above a certain threshold could be printed on separate cards. A reminder letter may be required to encourage late responders. Other users for Delphi are in the surfacing and judging components of messy issues. Thank the participants. 4. however the method has been successfully incorporated in some computerised problem solving systems. priority. Its main disadvantage being its high administrative overhead. the respondents’ are the asked to rate every item in the list (e. however a more extended Delphi may profit from additional rounds. and get back the second questionnaire. A brief Delphi might end at this point. E. 3. assuming they are experts and busy people. The response ratings to questionnaire 2 are averaged and questionnaire 3 may ask the panel members to indicate where they felt the order of ratings need could be improved. Between 2 – 5 consecutive questionnaires to a group of perhaps 15 – 25 people (occasionally up to 100) selected either as experts in the matter being investigate (if the intention of the exercise is to gather expert opinions on some issue) or as people directly concerned in some issue (if the purpose is to surface social or organisational concerns). one or two broad open-ended questions are sent out initially and responses are preferred in the form of a list of separate sentences or short paragraphs rather than continuous text. relevance. 2. Develop. feasibility.g. and get back the opening questionnaire. Develop. a business creation agency used their voluntary steering group of local small business experts as a Delphi panel when trying to identify the psychological barriers inhibiting people from starting up their own businesses. it is likely that they will require reassurance that there are advantages to their accepting the considerable commitment involved. but few expert panels have the patience for many further rounds unless the issue is crucial to them. The responses to the first questionnaire are collated into a single anonymous list (using the original wording since participants will recognise their own contributions). the panel members will have been selected for their expertise and/or direct involvement. so a summary report and letter of thanks is usually forwarded to each member following the project. Some individuals may have given up substantial amounts of time to . they are likely to have strong interest in the outcome.

well defined. when used to surface and prioritise concerns. Estimate-Disucss-Estimate and Using Experts . When the Delphi method is used to address a single.the project in which case a suitable ‘executive gift’ is often appropriate. See also Collective Notebook (CNB). some type of convergent post-Delphi analysis may be needed. However. the output can be quite large (a panel of 20 can easily generate 15 – 20 concerns each – perhaps 2 – 300 distinct items) so as in any form of brainstorming or brain writing. problem (such as its original use in estimating likely damage levels from nuclear war) the outcome may be easily summarised.

or needs a precisely defined area of research to be carried out. You can use the whole range of creativity techniques covered on this site to obtain possible solutions.Open mind and apply creative techniques I . .we are trying to generate as many different ideas as possible. If you do this. (see 'Why?' etc.repeatable questions) Lay out the bounds of the problem. it may be worth examining and developing a number of ideas in detail before you select one. It is very tempting just to accept the first good idea that you come across. Even bad ideas may be the seeds of good ones. Alternatively. It may be that the best idea is obvious. ask yourself why the problem exists repeatedly until you get to the root of it. break it down into smaller parts. Work out the objectives that you must achieve and the constraints that you are operating under. Identify the Best Solution Only at this stage do you select the best of the ideas you have generated. At this stage of DO IT we are not interested in evaluating ideas . Keep on going until each part is achievable in its own right. you will miss many even better solutions.Identify best solution T . Summarize the problem in as concise a form as possible. you are ready to start generating possible solutions. To do this. Where a problem appears to be very large. The following points may help to do this: • • • • Check that you are tackling the problem.DO IT DO IT is an acronym that stands for: D . . Open Mind and Apply Creative Technique Once you know the problem that you want to solve.Define problem O . You can use techniques such as Force-field analysis. not the symptoms of the problem.Transform These stages are explained in more detail below: Define Problem Analysing the problem to ensure that the correct question is being asked.

. but all the marketing and business side as well.Transform Having identified the problem and created a solution to it. They will have fun creating new products and services that may be years ahead of what is available on the market. This may take a great deal of time and energy. They will then fail to develop them. and watch someone else make a fortune out of the idea several years later. Many very creative people fail at this stage. the final stage is to implement this solution. This involves not only development of a reliable product from your idea.

or simple tests are devised to decide between them. inaccuracies and irrelevancies. which contains the senior manager. looking at each assumption. The review group are looking for further unmentioned assumptions that may be central to the theory behind the problem. Unacceptable assumptions are weeded out. and where necessary. compiling a short list of key assumptions underlying the plan. Either side outlining data and assumptions they consider important and probing weaknesses of the other side’s plan. 1981) uses creative conflict to help identify and challenge assumptions to create new perceptions. and using it to surface new data.Dialectical Approaches The dialectical approach (Mason and Mitroff. with key decision makers as observers. this is given to the counter-proposal group. whereas dialectical inquiry has a more balanced approach. examining the proposal looking for inconsistencies. Firstly the devil’s advocate approach is useful in exposing underlying assumptions. but has a tendancy emphasise the negative. re-interpret old data. which is then studied by an appointed individual who takes on the role of an adverse critic. The counter-proposal groups should endeavour to develop a counterplan. the decision makers can then accept. Dialectical Inquiry • • Formation of proposal and counter-proposal groups Review group set-up. Finally. (See also Idea Advocate) The Devil’s Advocate An administrator advocates a plan. The evaluation may be enclosed in a report. to invent a plausible counter-assumption. breaking them down. led by the review group their aim is to generate a list of agreed upon fundamental assumptions and the generation of a new plan. and devise a counter-plan. involved. The group will . The proposal group should develop a plan. or a live confrontation conference may be set up between the administrator and the critic. competing assumptions are either re-worked so as to be acceptable to both sides. All the assumptions that featured highly in the debate are pooled. modify or re-develop the proposal. The total group now work together. A facilitator maintains goodwill and prevents the competitiveness becoming destructive. Should arguments become repetitive the facilitator ends the debate and there is a break to socialise and reconnect on a personal level. The Review group is presented plans from the proposal and counterproposal groups.

confidence and enthusiasm to maintain the process. representing alternative maps. . and employing humour.need the skills and attitudes needed for coping with muddled problems – finding the exact problem.

Dimensional Analysis The dimensional analysis technique is a checklist (Jensen. Jensen defines a problem as a violation of values – a slightly unusual approach that is reflected in this list: Substantive Dimension (‘What?’) • • • • • Commission/omission? Doing something wrong. or failing to do something? Attitude/deed? Is it necessary to change attitudes or practices? Ends/means? Is the irritant we see the actual problem or merely a symptom of it? Active/passive? Active threat or source of irritation? Visible/invisible? Is the problem masked (e. irregular or cyclic? Quantitative (‘How much?’) • • • • • Singular/multiple? Is there a single cause or are there many? Many/few people? How many people are affected by the problem? General/specific? Is the problem applicable to a broad category or very specific sub-area? Simple/complex? Are there several elements to the problem with complex interactions? Too much/too little? Appears as a shortage or surplus? Qualitative (‘How serious?’) • Philosophical/surface. particularly those associated with human relations. and is of most use as an aide memoir for initial exploration of a problem or evaluating options. Isolated/widespread? Is the problem isolated or linked to several other problem areas. Temporal (‘When?’) • • • Long-standing/recent? Which are parts are new and which are old? Present/Impending? Is the problem happening or looks as though it may happen? Constant/ebb-and-flow? Is the problem always there. rather than of a technical nature.g. 1978) that relates to Five W’s and H. is it an issue with deep values or surface practicalities? . Recognise the exact area concerned. covert human relations issues) Spatial Dimension (‘Where?’) • • • Local/distant? Is it merely local or are their some remote influences Particular location(s) within a location.

To what degree are they being violated? Qualifies previous answer. or one to do with managing quality? Primary/secondary? What priority does the issue have top or bottom? What values are being violated? See Jensen’s definition of a problem (above). .• • • • • Survival/enrichment? Is it a live-or-die issue. Proper/improper values? Not all values should be honoured.

Associating with words. look for symbols. write down the first word that comes to mind. for each symbol drawn. Drawings may have meanings that are not consciously realised when drawn. Now write a paragraph containing all the words. Recording Ideas on ‘Rich Pictures’ Drawing ideas and displaying them on a wall-chart rather than recording them as a written list is actually how for many of us our thoughts grow naturally. Setting the frame. using a variety of colours draw the images you have visualised. spend some time contemplating a problem in a relaxing environment. Ask your intuitive self: ‘what is the current state?’.Drawing The drawing technique can seem more acceptable than imagery work and freehand expressive drawing often helps to liberate spontaneous thoughts that can’t yet be put into words. Using Drawings to Establish an Evocative Theme for a Meeting Drawings that have been prepared prior to a meeting can be used to provide a focal point or theme. Defer judgement. Some time preceding the meeting an elected person(s) creates a thematic image. 2. try using your ‘opposite’ hand. 3. on a large sheet of paper. This pictorial outline can be translated into a traditional linear written list at a later date if necessary. scenes or images representing your situation. . as if the images on the paper were directing as to how they want to be seen. this is displayed at the meeting beside the agenda and is used to assist in prompting comments about the purpose of the meeting. Allow the images to flow in no set direction. and they can be modified if you feel you want to. Realise these results are impressions of your subconscious. they just ‘feel right’ Drawing to Evoke Personal Insights 1. Expressing the image. with the certain knowledge that you’re not after a definitive answer right away. expanding this as your thoughts and feelings flow freely.

‘Estimate-discuss-estimate’ (see also Delphi Method) is considered more accurate than synthetic groups or surveys. without discussion.Estimate-Discuss-Estimate This technique is useful when a good quality united group judgement is required. 3. They consider choices as preliminary or open to change. individuals vote privately in any way that feels appropriate to the task in hand and the judgement required. 2. Estimate. following this discussion group individuals vote again. A balance to maintain constructive discussion and idea contribution whilst at the same time steering away from biasing or destructive group anxiety is the key to success here. their votes are handed in via a round robin without discussion. A decision body often wants time to reflect and this approach simulates what decision groups often do with planning information. Discuss. Make the assumption that a general discussion has taken place regarding some issue. the estimate-discuss-estimate (Huber and Delbecq. privately. avoiding the pressures to conform. The group then participates in an open discussion of these initial judgements. This final vote is average (as in step 2) and used to represent the consensus. a point has been reached where the judgement or convergence is required. Each individual has the opportunity to think through his or her preferences. simple interacting groups or Delphi groups where a precise choice is required. 1972) method now comes into action via the following steps: 1. Hastening this process with ‘estimate-discuss-estimate’ procedure often saves the time and frustration of dealing with changes in future meetings. Estimate. Averages for the group are generated by the computer and displayed. and they anticipate further input on how members feel and the facts they offer. .

g. its objectives and constraints. school monitor) or minimise it to ‘Gentle restraint after school’ suggesting ideas such as an after school club that they may actually enjoy. although the more likely scenario is that you will find they are inappropriate as they stand. magnify (or ‘stretch’) and minify (or ‘compress’) are two of the idea generating transformations. You could build on this idea by exaggerating it in various ways. both of which are forms of exaggeration. Exaggerated solutions can often be applied directly. 6. you should think about what would be appropriate if the problem were of a different order of magnitude. . magnify it to ‘Keep them in permanently’ suggesting giving them a permanent role (e. Repeat ad lib from step 3. To test your unspoken assumptions about the scale of the problem. Structured Version 1. Forms of Exaggeration Exaggerate upwards Exaggerate downwards Type Magnify Examples I have a million photocopiers standing idle My photocopiers are barely Minify used at all Invade The whole organisation is Exaggerate scope context underused Exaggerate Our over-capacity is a nation Aggrandise significance scandal Exaggerate Caricature ‘Reprographics Rest Home!’ selectively Why does exaggeration appear to work? Because we often have mindsets related to the scale of a problem and whilst there might be a form of action that is acceptable in a crisis it is not in a lesser problem. Similar principles can also be effective when building on ideas for solutions. Make a list of all the component parts of the idea or if a problem. Define the problem to be addressed or the idea you need to develop 2. 3. someone suggests: ‘Keep them in after school’. E. Imagine you are in search of way to prevent vandalism by youngsters. The table below shows a selection of exaggerations to illustrate the problem: ‘I need a lot of capacity in my Reprographics Department to cope with a few key peak loads. Develop ways of exaggerating it and note them on a separate sheet.Exaggeration (magnify or minify) From Osborn’s original checklist.g. 5. Choose one component from the list in 2. 4. but may suggest other ideas that would be acceptable. Note down all ideas you have from 4. but this means that for much of the time much of it is idle’.

Make the excursion about 5-10 minutes. Include some physical activity if the energy level of the group is low. provide a model or example to help demonstrate it. If necessary. • . Give the group some rationale for why an excursion might be helpful.Excursions General Guidelines • • • • Attempt to get as much distance from the problem as possible.

Outside excursions These are where you ask the group to go outside and ask them to focus on something that grabs their attention. and everyone tries to make the story more ridiculous. I prefer to keep the story as visual as possible. possibly taking notes. how it feels etc without linking it to the problem. . I find it best if they asked lots of questions about life as that object.Excursion worlds The following are just some of the worlds that you can ask people to be a part of. Animals Biology Cartoons Comedy Education Espionage Exploration Famous People Fashion Films History Movies Myths Plants Racing Science Fantasy Sports Theatre Tribal Customs War 007 Acoustics Agriculture Archaeology Computers Crime Farming Finance Games Gardening Health Magic Medicine Models Money Noise Parenting Religion Romance Science Fiction Astronomy Celebrations Chemistry Clothes Cosmetics Dinner Parties Dwellings Economics Electricity Folk Lore Kitchen implements Mathematics Minerals Music Nursing Physics Smells Space Travel Vacations Woodworking Architecture Art Bridges Cooking Crafts Decoration Geology Journalism Law Machines Media Metalwork Oceans Psychology Rocks Sculpture Shopping Textiles Transportation Weather Story Excursions Storyboard excursions are where a story is started. You can do anything from aerobics to charades (where they have to pick a physical activity). Physical excursions These are generally needed for groups of low energy. and then remind them of the problem and the facilitator goes over the comments made whilst they in/out listen to link back to the problem. Take everyone though this. and have more twists in it as the story goes on. They then need to talk about this object when they return. usually by the facilitator. what its role is.

Component excursions It is sometimes very effective to get the resources to be various components of the problem. and could include Favourite vacation Favourite activity Favourite place Favourite smell & associations that go with it Most rewarding experience Favourite sound & associations that go with it. . another the seal. when looking at "How to get a seal around a moving wire" one person could be the wire.Description excursions I would group under here all the excursions where you ask people to describe something within their experience. another gas trying to get through the seal etc. For example.

However. Present both the pros and cons of your suggested idea. Provide evidence in recommendation of the idea. Anticipate questions and develop responses and reactions to them. . which shows why the idea will work and why it should be better than another idea.Factors in ‘Selling’ Ideas When ‘selling’ an idea or new concept to management. providing the necessary facts that originally stimulated this need. be willing to put in the effort but no matter what. do not exaggerate its worth Stress Key points when selling the idea taking care to avoid unnecessary detail. it would be prudent to bear in mind the following issues: The Selling Context: • • • Timing. etc. Be persistent especially if you have faith in this idea. avoiding technical ‘jargon’ that the audience is unfamiliar with Use a clear statement of the need for the idea. do not become overly antagonistic. The Selling Content • • • • • • Use simple language. Idea Champion will be a key person within a group that can actively support sponsorship. Audience is there a possibility that the audience will be receptive to your suggestions and if so do they have the ability to do anything about it. includes large scale issues such as past company experiences with similar ideas. Describe the problem you idea will solve and explain why it needs to be solved. and smaller scale issues such as annual committee cycles. avoiding one-sided presentations that might distort the idea’s worth.

.False Faces False faces is a Problem Reversal technique by Michael Michalko and is defined in detail in his book Thinkertoys. 1. 5. 2. 4.Write down the opposite for each one. 3. listing as many viewpoints and ideas as possible. 6. State the problem List the assumptions Challenge the fundamental assumption Reverse eash assumption . Record differing viewpoints that might proove useful to you Ask how to acomplish each reversal. The process is.

Fresh suggestions regarding possible causes can arise during the break and members are more likely to forget who originated every idea. It discourages partial or premature solutions. The procedure is as follows: • • On a broad sheet of paper. The method is ideally organized over a number of meetings. Draw spurs coming off the ‘backbone’ at about 45 degrees. enabling the team to become deeply immersed in the problem. one for every likely cause of the problem that the group can think of. and label the arrowhead with the title of the issue to be explained. Highlight any causes that appear more than once – they may be significant. draw a long arrow horizontally across the middle of the page pointing to the right. The technique can help to structure the process of identifying possible causes of a problem (see also Causal Mapping) The diagram encourages the development of an in depth and objective representation ensuring all participants keep on track. Add sub-spurs to represent subsidiary causes. thus making subsequent discussions less inhibited. .Fishbone diagram The fishbone diagram (see below) originally developed by Professor Kaoru Ishikawa. and shows the relative importance and interrelationships between different parts of a problem. and label each at its outer end. is often referred to as an Ishikawa diagram. This is the ‘backbone’ of the ‘fish’.

with the most important at the head end. Circle anything that seems to be a ‘key’ cause. Ideally. partly for clarity but also because a good simple explanation may make more complex explanations unnecessary. so you can concentrate on it subsequently. .• • • The group considers each spur/sub-spur. it is eventually re-drawn so that position along the backbone reflects the relative importance of the different parts of the problem. taking the simplest first.

Five Ws and H • • • • • • Who? Why? What? Where? When? How? The Five W’s and H. Whilst brainstorming. are an influential. the answer to ‘Who does X?’ could be ‘Janet’. brainwriting or some other such similar technique. . inspirational and imaginative checklist (often used by journalists). • • For example. quick points scribbled down in a meeting. The technique uses basic question generating prompts provided by the English language. in what way might we make it easier for her. a private checklist to keep in mind when in an on going discussion. For example: • • • • • Informal ‘back-of-an-envelope’ use. rather than actions or problems. To use this answer in a problem-solving context you may have to take to another level For example ‘OK – if Janet does X. the checklist can be useful either as an informal or systematic way of generating lists of question that you can try to find answers for. the ‘question words’ owe their strength to their fundamental place in the English language. the checklist could be used as a source of thought provoking questions to help build on existing ideas. However. the checklist is a useful tool for planning implementation strategies. To generate data-gathering questions. during the early stages of problem solving when you are gathering data. or to generate further questions. To generate criteria. The method is useful at any level from a formal checklist to complete informality. See also Dimensional Analysis. The responses to the questions in the checklist are usually facts. To check plans. the checklist could help in generating criteria for evaluating options. To generate idea-provoking questions. is suitable as a quick-aide checklist. This ‘in what way might’ (IWWM) stage is crucial if the facts are to come alive and contribute to the creative process. and can conceal some of the assets of nature that our language copes less well with.

routine-based. . many flow-charting and project planning software packages that can assist in constructing action planning flow charts. which have no decision nodes.Flow charts for action planning Flow charts for action planning Flow-Charts revolve around the decision phase they are therefore most appropriate for action planning scenarios where the chain of events is likely to change dynamically as it opens out. and so presuppose a pre-planned sequence of events as in recurring. but simple charts can easily be done by hand (see above). of course. situations like house building. see the diagram below which shows the fundamental features of a flow-chart: For illustration a typical application is in research planning diagrams for R&D projects. This is in sharp contrast to critical path diagrams. There are.

The experts can be either set up from within the company (for example a team from all layers of management to focus on communications issues) or they can be external experts prought in to provide a fresh set of eyes to the problem. or similar body. .Focus groups This is a technique similar to 'Using Experts' whereby 'experts' are used to provied ideas and input to a policy group.

Resonating handle and felt sense. Ask yourself ‘what does this whole problem feel like?’ don’t answer in words but feel the problem. allowing your thoughts to come through. For example. 5. Finding a handle. except for those I’m fine’.’ o ‘Heavy’ o ‘Like in a box’ o ‘Have to perform’ o ‘Scared-tight’ o ‘Jumpy-restless’ You are trying to locate the centre of the felt sense – the crux of all that. Asking. say ‘jumpy’ to yourself till the felt sense is vividly back. just letting it be felt. Let the words and picture come from the feeling. listen. This is an indication of ‘This is right’. Gendlin calls it a ‘handle’. check it against the felt sense. analogous to recalling something you forgot. 1981) does not use conventional visual imagery but a form of imagery work based on body feelings and sensations. for a more detailed account of the technique. allow it time to return – it may not manifest itself in the same form. what is the quality of the felt sense? Find words and phrases like: o ‘Sticky. When a word or picture image is right. Allow both sides – the feeling and the words – do whatever they do. then ask it: ‘What is it about this whole problem that makes me so jumpy?’ Wait. 2. When you say the words (or you visualise the picture). 4. if your handle was ‘jumpy’. Then ask it was it is. Remaining quiet. The central act of focusing can be broken down into six phases: 1. spend some time (up to a minute) with the unclear felt sense.Focusing The focusing technique (Gendlin. until they match just right. employing the handle to help you to make the felt sense vividly present again and again. The description below is a brief and subtle outline of the process. sensing ‘all that’. sitting quietly. However if this feeling of just right is not felt. Should you lose the felt sense. Ask (but don’t answer): ‘is that right?’ You should note a felt response telling you the words are right. 3. Allow it to label itself. wait letting more precise words come from the feeling. Felt sense of the problem. which is fine. This time is essential to help you sense it (returning again and again to it). When you have felt the whole problem stay with it for a while. using the work or image you got from phase 3. ask yourself which problem is worst at this moment. relax and ask yourself ‘how do I feel?’ ‘What is bothering me especially today?’. stand back from the problem and sense how is makes you feel in your body when you think of it as a whole. list all the problems that are stopping you from feeling content at the moment until your hear something inside you say ‘Yes. Clearing a space. see Gendlins book. It can help to ask: ‘What is the worst of this?’ or ‘what does the felt sense need?’ or ‘what would it take for this to feel OK?’ . the whole felt sense stirs calmly and feel a little relief.

welcome it. you may find you go through many such cycles before a given problem feels resolved. or to continue for another cycle. Whatever comes in focusing. . sense that you can leave this place and return to it later and once you know where it is and how to find it you can leave and come back tomorrow. Sense if your body wants to stop focusing for the time being. Assume that you will be glad your body spoke to you whatever it said.6. Receiving.

Where driving and restraining are paired use arrow thickness to signify strength of impact of a force and arrow length to show how complicated it would be to adapt. followed by recognising factors likely to help or hinder at the action planning and implementation stages.Force-Field Analysis Force-field analysis characterises the conflicting forces in a situation. 3. The recommended approach to this method is to outline the points involved in a problematic situations at the problem exploration stage. Find ways to strengthen or add positive forces b. The leader will draw all the driving forces as arrows that either pull or push the line upwards. 1. The group leader is representative of the current position as a horizontal line across the middle of the page. Try to: a. Find ways to weaken or remove negative forces c. The diagram should then be used to find as many possible combinations of moving the centre line in the desired direction. Members of the group identify and list the driving and restraining forces (perhaps using a suitable brainstorming or brainwriting technique) openly discussing their understanding of them. and all the restraining forces as arrows that pull or push the line downwards (see below). 2. It is normally best for the team to reach agreement on these details. Recognise that the negative forces are too strong and abandon the idea .

Group B spends 2 minutes developing a realistic solution founded on this remote idea (the administrator records the solution on the flipchart). Although the groups could alternate roles after every round (steps 24).Force-Fit Game The force-fit game was devised by Helmut Schlicksupp and resembles the Brainwriting Game. With a well-practiced group. 5 rounds. off-the cuff use of creativity techniques. As a rule competition is avoided in creativity. if not the Group A obtains the point. or a pre-agreed number of rounds. say A and B. Afterwards the ideas evaluated and appraised as required. If Group B’s solution is plausible they gain a point in this round. 8. 4. Make up two groups. the game concludes and whichever Group has the most points wins. which consists of steps 2 – 4. For the game to be useful a light-hearted frame of mind is essential. 2. it is potentially disruptive and can cause conflict. 5. (This appraisal must be kept lighthearted to avoid creating an atmosphere that is too competitive). However. 3. 6. . it would be quicker if they swapped every say. This is followed by the basic round. with no significant losers. 7. with 2 – 8 individuals in each. Difficulty with acceptability of the ‘game’ ethos. 1. Group A proposes and idea distant to the problem (which the administrator records on a flipchart). a small amount of pressure can benefit creativity. After a predefined period of time has lapsed (say 30 minutes). The administrator should displays and reads out a problem statement. dilemma’s with the identity of individuals within groups and competition within teams limit its use for ‘real’ idea-generation. This games technique could provide a light-hearted warm-up or end-of-day closer when used in ‘real’ non-training settings. this way Group A can contemplate their next remote idea whilst B are solving their previous one. the solution-generating step offers an opening to practice skilful speedy.

you then engage the centred mode to ‘delve’ more deeply around the interesting item. Unusual ideas.Free Association Free association contains elements of several other idea-generating techniques and depends on a mental ‘stream of consciousness’ and network of associations of which there are two: Serial association. start with a trigger. you being to ‘travel’ again. and so on. Once you have exhausted the centred investigation. they could be an alternative starting point promoting all sorts of possibilities. you record the flow of ideas that come to mind. Undoubtedly and ‘open’ strategy requires a ‘safe’ environment where the use of a variety of material is fully recognised and understood. each idea triggering the next. ultimately reaching a potentially useful one. Centred association. that may seem ‘off the wall’ are perfectly acceptable. such as: o Rude ideas o ‘Not you’ o ‘Silly’ o ‘Taboo’ o ‘Unethical’ o ‘Tactless’ o ‘Politically incorrect’ They are acceptable because they are thoughts you generally suppress. Friendly laughter can be a breathtaking cure for any passing awkwardness that free-expression may cause! . As a rule the serial mode is used to ‘travel’ until you find an idea that you find of some interest. Try not to repress your natural flow of thoughts. (which is close to classical brainstorming) prompts you to generate multiple associations to the original trigger so that you ‘delve’ into a particular area of associations. Three hints: • Suspend judgement.

However. surprising. The idea ‘blue’ is not much use as it stands. .• • Follow the intriguing and look for ideas that attract your attention as particularly strong. even if they don’t seem instantly appropriate to your problem. and so could possibly justify a further phase of centred free association around the ‘attractive’ idea. Use solution-oriented phrasing. This attraction frequently signals links to a useful set of associations. intriguing. when transformed into a phrases such as: o ‘Could we colour it blue?’ o ‘In what ways might I make it ‘blue?’ o ‘I wish it were ‘bluer’ o ‘How might it help it if were bluer’?’ Makes the idea ‘blue’ potentially a more useful one. etc.

so that you maintain your helper’s interest and enthusiasm.) Should you decide to take this ‘personal’ approach it is essential to have: • • • Good non-directive listening skills. Managers often maintain networks of contacts. but nevertheless still be creatively thought provoking. Equally if your helper receives feedback of how their ideas were put to use they will be only too glad to help again. Recommend that they think about the problem for a few days. Clearly there are significant costs of time and effort in sustaining such a network. Keep them broadly ‘on topic’. 3. with whom they have built up long-term relationships founded on the exchange of favours in this and other ways. valued and of productive use. Show it to people who have no direct experience of the problem and invite ideas and opinions. that your helper accepts that when he offers ‘naive’ ideas they are of actual help to you. etc. One approach in handling this would be to raise it conversationally at an informal face-to-face meeting (e. i. Show that you really value what they are saying. clearly and in a non-technical format 2. but the mutual obligations and understanding built up over time mean that contacts are likely to be much more productive. Face-to-face Networking Model The basic model is only workable if you are certain that your relationship with the helper is one of trust.g. It is essential that their expectations of your ability to use their ideas are realistic (see Step 4). Provide responsive feedback to the helper to show their contributions are appreciated. but at the same time minimise your influence on the content of what they say. If your helper feels undervalued. at the ‘golf club’. write down any ideas and thoughts they have about what they see as the ‘real’ problem and any potential solutions.Fresh eye’ and Networking The ‘fresh eye’ technique looks directly to ‘outsiders’ who are not so affected by the ‘tunnel vision’ that can be experienced by practicing problem solvers. 4.e. Write down your problem simply. Basic Model 1. further help towards yourself will not be forthcoming. You should anticipate the idea may be technically naive. Develop or re-interpret the ideas so that they become workable. over a drink in the pub. .

Each group member chooses a sheet and privately writes ideas onto it (they can write directly onto the sheets. The down side of this method. The writing should be large. repeat steps 3 and 4 or else close the idea-generating phase. displayed so everyone can see it (groups should be between 5-7 people). Position flip chart paper round the room. 5. Ideas are then pooled together. All participants should have the break at the same time.Gallery Method The Gallery method is a mixture of physical and mental activity whilst generating ideas. sorted. 3. walk around the room viewing ideas on the other flip charts and making notes. The statement should be discussed briefly for clarification. with the problem statement 2. . Participants return to their own work areas and continue generating their own ideas or building on the ideas of others. no anonymity is offered for idea generation and there is a risk of competition between participants during the break and view 1. they should be encouraged to take a break. so that certain members of the groups do not feel that others are looking over their shoulder whilst they are still generating ideas. The participants move past the ideas (as in an art gallery) rather than the ideas moving past the participants (as in the Pin-Card technique). or on post-its and stick these on the flip-charts). classified. When the group appears to be running low on ideas again. When the group appears to be running low on ideas. etc… as you require. 4. clear and concise to enable other to read it easily.

supersonic aircraft for distances greater than 700 miles are still not easily accessible. For example a study for the analysis of transportation technology. but all need improvement. Between walking and car travel. . there are many forms of transport available: • • • • Bus Motor scooter Bicycle Underground train None of these realize the need perceived by town planners for a mass transport system. using the aspects: • • • Speed Maximum range Demand Three areas well served by existing improvement are: • • • Pedestrian Motorcar Aircraft However. there are helicopters.Gap Analysis Gap analysis is a methodical investigation throughout the whole area of a given technology for ‘gaps’. short-take-off aircraft and hover-trains. car and aircraft. between these exist three gaps (between pedestrian and car. operating at a speed of about five times the walking rate. Thus highlighting inadequate areas in existing technology that are open to speculation with a view improvement. Between motor transport and conventional aircraft. possibly continuous. for distances of between half a mile and three miles. and beyond the aircraft range) in which consumers considered existing means of transport less satisfactory. Finally. These gaps are representative of areas where creative input in a descending order of demand is an option (the requirement of a mass transport system traveling at 20 miles per hour is a lot greater than a requirement for supersonic transport in terms of the numbers who wish to travel at these speeds). for instance.

restrictions and hindrances. is an external constraint because it is specific to this occasion. the hardness of its wood is an inherent difficulty because anyone chopping down that tree would have to deal with it. E. see the CATWOE checklist. List the needs implied by the problem. For a more involved set of logical criteria. I have promised to finish chopping down the tree for the owner by lunchtime today. List the external constraints that apply to this problem at this time e.Goal Orientation Goal orientation is a basic logical checklist for problem statements. 4. List the inherent difficulties that are preventing you from achieving your goal. by outlining what you are trying to achieve 3. ‘Inherent difficulties’ and ‘External constraints’ are listed separately because the options for dealing with these two types of problem are likely to be very different: the options for solving tree-hardness are clearly of a very different kind from the option for dealing with my ‘finish on time’ promise. 5. Now write a clear problem statement that illustrates all these requirements.g. Describe the problem by writing down a general description but in as much detail as possible 2. if I am chopping down a tree.g. . For a more inventive-based checklist see Multiple Redefinition The procedure is as follows: 1.

5.Greetings Cards Prior to introducing a group to a problem the Greeting card method invites the group to create their own stimulating problem solving environment. Split the main group into sub-groups of 4-5 individuals equipped with paste. thick A3 or A4 paper. 2. and felt-tipped pens. The supervisor encourages the participants to produce some motivational objects that will be of use in problem solving. Together or individually the sub-group member create several greetings cards (or ‘stimulus cards’) sticking pictures. each sub-group passes its cards to the next subgroup and repeats step 2. If participants feel uneasy about the ‘childish’ activity of making greetings cards. They then add their own ‘greetings-card’ style message. Each sub-group displays their greeting cards to other sub-groups. 3. magazines. collage-style on A3 or A4 sheets that are folded thus that they function as greetings cards. 4. Participants use the images on their cards to generate ideas to decipher the problem 3. It is essential participants are not aware the nature of the problem prior to the problem solving session. Time permitting. 5. This can be done several times if necessary. Members of the sub-group browse their catalogues and magazines. . Using it in problem-solving 1. A sense of comradeship is thus introduced and a feeling of ownership and involvement in the problem solving is experienced. Developing the environment 1. portray it as ‘assembling stimulus objects’. 2. All the ideas are gathered and appraised in any appropriate way. illustrated catalogues. scissors. A problem is put on view and deliberated by the sub-group members. cutting out at least 10 pictures of interest and relevance. 4.

5. a senior may be helpful if on your side. The group are now in a position to outline a specific plan (keeping number 4 in mind). If not.g. Negative brainstorming. 1. Hinders Action planning . More importantly come up with ways to get round those that will ‘hinder’ and are liable to prevent the scheme achieving completion. It is essential that you pay attention to the hindrances. and Stakeholder analysis. 3. but a serious hindrance if otherwise. to check if it is satisfactory and if the client will commit to it. and need to the take the problem-solving process through a further series of cycles. e. indicating dates and times allocated to each sequence in the plan. hinder method is a fairly simplistic procedure and comparable to Bullet-proofing. the group is required to identify the aspects they have omitted. The group now concentrate on how to enable the client to take on the support of the key ‘helping’ people and things. Helps Analysing the context Who? What Where? When? How? 2.Help. Finally the group reveal the plan to the client. The client can then emphasise what they feel are the most crucial factors ‘helping’ or ‘hindering’ their plan. It is possible that items may occur on both sides. A participant from each group identifies a few people (‘Who/’) and things (‘What?’) that they feel might help and hinder the client implementing his plan and note these on a table like the one below. Hinder The Help. Potential problem analysis. 4.

glitter design card decoration Coloured Coloured Coloured design. Floral design. Square poetic shape. sent message by post Coffee sized. poetic sent by post message Coloured Coloured design. . glitter design card decoration Coffee sized. poetic message. design. can be sent by post’.Heuristic Ideation Technique (HIT) Heuristic ideation technique (HIT) is an alternative variation to Attribute Listing. sent message by post 4. etc. ideal for gift packaged product. Listing. I might select a particular china mug with a floral decoration on it.g. try to identify any cells that look creatively thought provoking. etc. glitter Mug Mug. card decoration Square Square shape. ‘floral design. and each cell corresponds to a combination of one element from each product. That combination of dissimilar items (‘chalk/cheese’) work better than similar items (‘chalk/limestone’). 6. etc. The procedure is as follows: 1.g. card decoration Floral Floral design. Morphological Analysis. where the rows list the components of the one product the columns list the components of the other. e. but in need every more work. glitter shape card decoration Card Poetic Sent by post message Mug. 5. poetic design. 7. and a particular novelty greetings card. Square shape. Coffee Coffee glitter sized sized. if I sell novelty goods. sent by message post Floral design. That the core of many new product ideas can often be captured by a two-element combination.g. poetic Mug. Choose two items of interest that already exist. Make a list of each component. Construct a matrix. 8. sent by post’. The cards components might include: glitter decoration. Glitter decoration Mug. 2. Coffee sized. Floral design. the components of the mug may include: handle. e. poetic sent by post message Square shape. Looking at the table from another angle. Identify any cells that have market potential as they stand e. Develop the highlighted cells into workable ideas. ‘coffee sized mug. Cross out for elimination any cells that correspond to existing products. square shape. 3.g. can be sent by post. for initial developments (although it could be used in other areas). floral decoration. HIT comes from its use of the 3 ‘rules of thumb’: • • • That new ideas are usually combinations of elements of existing ideas. e. coloured china. coffee sized.

Starting from a large list of ideas (e. There are noticeable similarities to the KJ-Method and the Snowball technique. . does it have any ‘associations’. there is an important difference in that clusters are only created from items that are felt to be interesting or intriguing. Sort into clusters of related ideas.g. perhaps it has unusual consequences or implications? 4. the best of which are short-listed triggering discussion. Draw out ideas that seem intriguing or interesting (regardless of viability) 2. or combination of several ‘hotspots’. so that the clusters identify ‘hotspots’ – groups of related ideas that have ‘connected’ with someone’s imagination. Ideas are screened.Highlighting Highlighting is a straightforward and vigorous technique. from brainstorming): 1. However. 3. that best suit your needs. Recognise the ‘hotspots’ that mean something to you. which can be put into place with little training and capable of capturing attention and participation. each cluster being a ‘hotspot’. The final solution is the ‘hotspot’. Other clustering techniques tend to emphasise logical categorisation rather than strength of ‘association’. with the use of clustering.

Each case is then discussed and decisions made. if there are several strong cases several rounds of elimination will take place. say 3 – 6 of strong contender:s: 1. however. Assume that the group of original ideas for solving some issue has already been concentrated to a small number. or who would have to implement it would be ideal choice. The method has an Idea Champion to offer continual support and enthusiasm for a project in the development stage. If a particular case was illuminating then a straightforward selection can be made. 5. . Someone already familiar with the idea. 2. 4. 3. A participant (the ‘idea advocate’) is allocated to each idea to present a case for that idea. Ideas advocates then make presentations of their assigned cases to the relevant decision makers and other idea advocates. If required the ‘idea advocate’ is permitted a set amount of research time to prepare their case. The more sophisticated approach outlined in Dialectical approaches handle the balance between positive and negative evaluation better. or who initiated it. Ensuring there are no differences in power and status amongst the idea advocates is essential.Idea Advocate Idea advocate is a simplified form of the dialectical approach (qv).

You notice that it has a motor. When you feel ready. If your preference is to tape-record the script below rather than working from memory. Go through any standard Relaxation process. Your boat is carried gently towards it. Step into it and settle down comfortably. Listen to the lapping water. so you turn it on and can travel swiftly. let a fantasy on the lines of the script below materialise. [Pause] The lighter seems to be dimming and you notice that you have drifted into a kind of large underground channel. It seems brighter and brighter as you get nearer until you emerge in luminous sunshine. Trust that it will help. [Pause] You see a light approaching in the distance. Allow yourself to be quiet and still. However. take your leave and get back in the boat. [Pause] There is a small rowing boat bobbing gently close by. serenely along. There is ample of space for you and your boat. Let it go with the flow. clarifying its exact meaning to yourself 3. You drift along – gently and undisturbed. on a gently moving stream in a beautiful. Look around. but the movement of the water continues. the boat comes to a stop. similar to prayer or meditation. Step out onto the grass. quiet meadow. Define your question. recall your question (from 2). Script Envisage yourself at the shore of a large body of water. there is a structure as follows: 1. read it slowly with plenty of pauses. Sense the mild air and calm movement as you float slowly. It becomes shadowy and darker as you go into the channel. 2. [Pause] Someone or something will bring you a gift that has meaning for you – perhaps a message or an object or an image… wait for it to come… it may or may not make sense… don’t worry. 5. 4. Take whatever time it needs for this gift to come to you. [Pause] When you have received it. Placing the question aside. .Imagery for Answering Questions This technique draws on your own intuition for help. After a while. making yourself fully aware of it.

Step out of the boat.[Pause] Soon you find yourself back at the shore where you started. Onto the dry land again taking your gift with you. .

e. Form symbols. Select and Implement) that is fundamental to most problem solving methods. feeling etc. This may manifest itself in the pleasure and contentment clearly noticeable in the client by the helper.Imagery Manipulation Imagery manipulation is employed in a psychotherapeutic context and requires skilled helpers or should be carried out under supervision. adding detail. capable of critical judgement. Dissimilar to guides imagery activities. a symbol. o Filling in the picture (e.g. . A client should be supported to reject or undo inappropriate suggestions they should feel a sense of responsibility for the management of their own imagery. There comes a time when there is a natural sense of closure a ‘break point’. the green tree is in the background. Still working alone the client should give each of the identified key elements from 1. exploring behind it). In private the client should recognise their problem area and within that area identify say 3 – 6 key elements. 2. and an irritating colleague might be a squeaking door and so on. 3. The technique does not utilize the usual rational framework (Explore problem. Identify elements.g. The Helper is aware of the symbols produced but not the source situation or elements. Moving towards resolution and closure. The helper asks questions and suggests answers. The client is asked to form a mental image of the assembly of symbols and describe it to the helper. Joint exploration of image. and I can hear the squeaking door on my right. Generate ideas. auditory. adding more elements. while the client views the current state of images and attempts his own answers. and the exploration of the imagery is performed in a mater-of-fact way with both the helper and client in ‘adult’ mode. a new project may have the symbol of a tree. rotate them. The symbol can be visual. The helper and client then investigate and expand this image. in fact any efforts by the client to introduce ‘reality’ will hinder success. with more to do at a later date. Imagery for Answering Questions (qv) there is no preliminary relaxation phase required. Describe image. E. It often becomes apparent that the imagery drama is unfolding with a direction of its own and that it requires some further intervention with useful tactics such as: o Looking at thing from different perspectives o Moving the symbols about relative to one another.g. Alternatively a plateau may be reached whereby an intermediate resting point feels natural. The technique follows these 5 steps: 1. The process normally takes less than an hour. o Research possible transformations – what it might change into o Anchoring resources o Investigating other routes of intervention 5. It is unnecessary for the helper to be made aware of the real nature of the original situation or the final solution. 4. extending it.

e. substituting one of the imaginary elements.) Formulate a new problem statement.Imaginary Brainstorming Imaginary Brainstorming is like classic brainstorming. and identify which of the elements above (1) is the most directly tied to a successful solution. Brainstorm ideas for the imaginary problem Apply ideas from the imaginary brainstorming back to the real problem statement. but with a slight twist.who is acting a verb . Get drunk write a bid in half the normal time? 5. 1. . Define the essential elements of the problem. 2. Analyse all of the ideas (real.the action an object . are the same. When defining the problem make sure that it has • • • a subject .who / what is being acted upon. The ground rules etc. Earn a million. Propose imaginary replacements for the other elements. The PM. 7. 4. Donald Duck. the differences are. Original problem How do we Suggested replacements How do / does Children.g. 8. 6. imaginary and combined) and take forward those of most interest. in half the normal time? (This element is kept as the essential element. Teachers Build a house. Perform a classic brainstorming session 3.

is the organisational environment one of teamwork and cooperation or suspicion and distrust? Implementation checklist 2 (Isaken. are there any structural obstacles to surmount (e. its objectives and actions? o Can it be named/put together more constructively Complexity o Is it straightforward to understand? o Can it be clearly translated to different people? o Does it take long to communicate to others? o How might it be illuminated. the first by VanGundy and the 2nd by Isaksen.Implementation Checklists There are two implementation checklists presented here. Implementation Checklist 1 (VanGundy. 1988) • • • • • • • • • • Resources are the resources (time. are there any procedural complications to get over Structures. is the idea likely to come across any ‘closed thinking’ and/or resistance to change in general? Procedures. easier to understand? o Can I demonstrate the new idea/object effortlessly? Trialability . What official/unofficial policies need to be overcome? Risk. are there others with equal motivation and commitment required for successful implementation? Resistance. Dorval and Treffinger. do any power struggles exist relating to the idea that might obstruct implementation? Clashes. money. 1994) • • • • Relative advantage o Will the plan obviously progress what is currently in place? o What are the advantages/benefits in accommodating it? o Who will gain from it? o How will implementing it reward others or me? o How can you promote its benefits to all? Compatibility o Is it consistent with current practice/thinking? o Can it be demonstrated to meet a particular groups requirement? o Is it a better course of action to an existing shared goal o What group(s) would support it.g. information) sufficient for executing this idea? Motivation. will risk taking be tolerated by those responsible for implementation and if so to what level? Power. equipment. Each has subtle differences in their perspectives. are there any clashes of personalities that may hinder advancement in the implementation? Climate. made simpler. Dorval and Treffinger. personnel. bad communication channels)? Policies.

what then? o How can you alter it to make it more simplistic for trial? Observability o How easy is it for an adopter to locate/acquire it? Is it visible? o Can it be made more visible? How? o Is it possible to make it easier to understand? o Can it be better communicated? o Are there reasons for not making it visible now? Other questions to help gain acceptance for you Plan o What other resources could help? How best to use them? o What important obstructions are there? How can they be surmounted? o How to deal with challenges/opportunities it creates? o What might initiate action? … and the next steps? o How to build feedback into it to allow for potential improvements? o . but partial trials are insisted upon. before deciding to use it all? o How can you persuade adopters to try part of it? o Should it require full adoption.• • How can you reduce ambiguity concerning the ideas new elements? o How can the adopter try out section.

Private voting takes place and participants list on a card the item numbers of their top X items and ranks them in preferential order. or present a view for or against any item. but only permitted if all agree – no discussion. Participants may consider giving an explanation. Advance Preparation 1. depending on circumstances. 4. Explain how the meeting will proceed and ensure all participants have a pre-circulated list of ideas 2. 3. Collect anonymously any further ideas brought to the meeting and add to existing set. Further categorisation and voting may be needed. X can be larger (e. the leader gathers ideas anonymously and lists them as described earlier.Improved Nominal Group Technique (INGT) Improved Nominal Group Technique is a extension of Nominal Group Technique (NGT) with an additional pre-meeting stage which ensures full anonymity of contributions and speeds up transcription phases. Adaptation or amalgamated of items may be proposed. If you are trying to identify problems. 6. Explain fully what structure the meeting have. inviting observations on each one within agreed time limits. again on cards. 3. with anonymous input 2. Writing continues whilst the leader records the information from the cards onto the Flip chart. The Meeting 1. . Authorship remains anonymous and rules for adaptation or amalgamation of items as per step 3 above continue throughout. Circulate a numbered word for word list of the ideas submitted and request those participating bring to the meeting any additional ideas (on cards) or proposals for varying or combining ideas. Repetition of the writing/gathering rotation is maintained pending all the gathered cards being blank 5. List all ideas on a Flip Chart. Place all cards face down (those with no ideas submitting a blank card) and shuffle. Votes are tallied on a Flip chart once the cards are returned face down and shuffled. 15% of the number of items). Clarify the purpose of meeting with a prior problem recognition meeting. 3-5 items). Addition of items suggested by the discussion is acceptable. If you are trying to discover a solution it could be smaller (e. Circulate the agreed purpose of the meeting and request anonymously submitted ideas on cards by a well-defined cut off time.g. Participants write yet more ideas privately. Every few minutes.g. however debating is not permitted. Go through the full list of items.

When used for prioritisation. A computer then summarised the large number of pair comparison it asked for to produce a network illustration that demonstrated all the activities that had been compared.). giving a comparative ordering of all the items. which is prior (in terms of importance. In theory each group member should be able to obtain every possible pair of items. the comparison question might be: ‘Does A influence B or vice versa?’. Each pair then ends up with a score showing what percentage of group member put them in a particular order. 2. and you would like a group of people to reach an agreement with respect to ordering them in terms of some property such as: • • • • • Causality Importance Priority Severity Precedence Alternative approaches to the above problem are Paired Comparison and Q-Sorting. usually computer aided and capable of managing group input. Threats) (see SWOT) It is assumed these concerns have cropped up in a problem-solving activity. Opportunities. of causal relations. . 4. linked by arrows that have the meaning ‘A has a minimally higher priority than B’. Computer support is usually required because the number of possible pairing goes up as the square of the number of items. 3. Activities were all listed. ISM has been used to assist local government bodies to prioritise large number of activities in circumstances of sever cutbacks. and then each decision-maker was asked to compare pairs of activity in rotation and to suggest which of each pair was the higher priority. Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) (Warfield. Weaknesses. and asked to state. is an adaptation of Paired Comparison. the objective is a single rank order. e. severity. Issues Ideas Objectives Options 5. SWOT elements (Strengths.Interpretive Structural Modelling Presume that you have a compilation of say 20 – 50 matters concerning some of the following: 1. etc.g. In this case. but ISM can also be employed to create networks. 1982).

These initial thoughts could remind you of your last dream prior to awakening and with practice allow you to remember more and more of the dreams details. Regular discussion of your dreams and diaries will also help in understanding them. do not open your eyes. that you recall more and more of your dreams by being more aware of them. when I awake I will remember my dreams’ 2. and let you mind dwell on your initial thoughts. try not to miss days out. However and unfortunately most of our dreams are forgotten. lie quietly. keep the daily diary. any themes running through them and unconscious ideas. keeping a dream diary is helping in retaining the information longer. The building of the dream diary will demonstrate over a period of time. 3. Psychologists have revealed that each of us dreams every night. On awakening in the morning. You could try sketching your dreams or use a tape-recorder to record middle of the night dreams. . 1. Before falling asleep. Essential. The following morning these tapes could be translated into the dream diary. go over the following several times: ‘Tonight I dream. A notebook is essential alongside your bed.Keeping a Dream Diary To experience creative dreaming it is essential to come into better contact with your dreams. to record a diary of your dreams. Thus. 4.

training programme's. this can then be expressed as a deviation. The headings below provide a bare outline and it follows two main stages. other idea generation methods could be used. ‘communication problems’). 4. etc. Identify the potential cause(s) or contributory factors of the problem. Investigate and identify the problem deviation (what. 6. If the cause is immediately apparent you can pass straight to Decision Making (below). but its origins date from the 1950’s. Set up specific requirements: o Expected results (what type. and to what extent). worksheets. 5. Identify features that distinguish what the problem is from what it is not. 2. 3.g. money. where. it is essentially a method for fault diagnosis and repair rather than for disorganized or systemic problem domains. each has seven steps: Problem Analysis 1.Kepner & Tregoe Method This technique emphasises the ‘rational’ rather than the ‘creative’. Kepner and Tregoe (1981) describe the method below. checking that it is not only a potential cause. where. Develop optional supplies of action. Kepner-Tregoe suggests systematically investigating each requirement and identifying ways of accomplishing it. Alternatively. Ascertain provisional problem priorities (how urgent/serious or likely to become so) and pick a problem to work on. Decision-Making 1. comparing them and recognising a difference that seems important to you. when) o Resource constraints (personnel. Preferably you identify just one predominantly good contender. . The method is fully developed. You should know what ought be happening and what is happening.) 2. when. Prioritise your needs (distinguishing ‘musts’ and ‘wants’) 3. or those where freshness of vision is essential. that occurrence of this problem is always and only associated with occurrence of this cause or combination of causes). 7. how much. time. What the problem is rather than the problems absence. Now test the potential cause of the problem. power. materials. but also that it is the only cause (e. etc. these should be clear-cut events or changes that lead to the problem and are clearly associated with the occurrence of the problem. Break down unhelpful problem categories (e.g. with recommended techniques. what it is not. by developing hypotheses that would explain how the potential cause(s) could have caused the observed problem. Attempt to infer any likely causes of the problem.

Identify potential unfavourable consequences.g. flexibility. Plan implementation. location Quality. 5. Rate the alternatives against requirement priorities (e. 8. storage Security. handling. return Source. adaptability Relationships. including minimising adverse consequences and monitoring progress. Choose the best option as a provisional solution 6. law. timing Economy. Possible Adverse Consequences Motivation. A possible checklist is given in the table below: Specific Requirements People Money Material Ideas and processes Organisation Facilities/equipment Output External 7. health Capital. communications Space. competition. skills. outgoings. government . pace. availability. quantity.4. Comparison Tables).

and find any that seem to go with the one read out. A simple two-cycle version will do it once for problem definition and once for problem solution. and all contributors look through the cards in their own ‘hand’ of cards. The Basic Cycle. spread out and read carefully. similar to mind-mapping. 4. 5. Introduced by the Japanese. this step could be adapted to use Brainstorming or Constrained Brain writing. 2. The KJ-Method tends to place emphasis on the ideas being relevant. ignoring any ‘oddities’. repeat this iterative process at yet higher levels. writing notes as you go and being careful to differentiate personal interpretations from the facts contained in the chart. Cards that look as though they belong together should be grouped. 3. Grouping and naming: The cards are shuffled. One card is read out. it has become one of the ‘Seven management (New) tools’ of modern Japanese quality management and uses values of Buddhism intended as structured meditation. Card making: all relevant facts and information are written on individual cards and collated (Post-its would do). If you have more than about 10 groups. Redistribution: At this stage in the group-work version. 4. etc arrange them carefully on a large sheet of paper in a spatial pattern that helps you to appreciate the overall picture. Ideas for the solution are often developed whilst explaining the structure of the problem. the cards are collected and reallocated in order than no one is given their own cards. except it uses nested clusters rather than a tree structure 1. Multiple Cycles. but is neither too broad nor a simple aggregation of the cards in the group Chart making: Now that you have less than 10 groups. 3. Explanation: Now try to express what the chart means to you. A name is selected for the set that clearly portrays the contents of the cards in the set. some of which may contain sub-groups. Problem identification Defining the circumstances Diagnosis and problem-formulation Solutions and working hypotheses . The basic cycle can be used to build up a problem-solving method through repetition. 2. For each group write an apt title and place it on top of its group of cards. verifiable and important. In a group-work version. using new titles and any ‘oddities’ to create higher-level groups. A more complex six cycle version will do it for: 1. to generate a supply of ideas on cards.KJ-Method The KJ-Method is fundamentally similar to the Snowball Technique. sub-sub-groups. Repeat the group making. so building a ‘group’.

5. Programmed application of solutions. Activation of solutions 6. .

You could now ladder up from reduce waste either to technical or to nonhuman solutions (or vice-versa for the other two ideas). ones labelled in Japanese. give some examples of ‘small containers’.Laddering Switching to and fro between different levels of abstraction to create ideas is often known as ‘laddering’. pay employees more and improve management are human. What are the ‘recyclable containers’ examples of? ‘Waste reduction. ones used for primary school constructions…’ Ladder up again: Now make a list for ‘milk-bottles’ by laddering up. great big bottles of mineral water. something for holding fluids…’ Ladder down again: Put together a list for ‘A small container’ but this time laddering down. buckets. 7. ‘Boxes. G enerally. etc. . Ladder up: What wider categories could it is an example of? ‘A drinking vessel. green policies. 6. the huge. The sequence below is a ‘ladder’ of concepts in which the items lower down are all members or sub-sets of the ones higher up so that you move between the abstract and the concrete: 1. in a productivity problem. Laddering down allows you to focus down onto definite parts of these new areas. bottles with message in them… Give some examples of ‘soft-drink bottles’: ‘Plastic Coke bottles. repeatedly asking ‘So what?’ tends to ladder down. gas bottles. milk bottles. three ideas might be: o Pay employees more o Reduce waste o Improve management 3. but the third is different. try the following: ‘Why? /So what?’: continually asking ‘Why?’ normally results in laddering up. ink bottles. One possible distinction might be a technical vs. laddering up towards the general lets you to expand out into new areas. envelopes. things on my desk…’ Say you decide to build on ‘A drinking vessel’ then ladder up again. antique bottles. a present from my daughter. medium and small ones on the super-market shelves. posh soft-drink bottles made to look on in the fridge.. 5. For instance. Define the existing idea to start from: ‘This cup in my hand’. bags…’ Give some examples of ‘bottles’: ‘Soft-drink bottles. 2. something made of china. 4. If stuck. Laddering up is typically more difficult than laddering down. What could it be an example of? ‘A smaller container. a domestic utensil. human one: reduce waste is technical. ‘Construct-triad’ method: Choose any three ideas you already have and find some way in which two of the three go together. Alternating between the two helps you to investigate a wider territory. What are they examples of? ‘Recyclable-containers’. potential resources’. bottles.

how he became interested in the sort of thinking that computers could not do: creative and perceptual thinking. and has very much to do with perception. Lateral thinking is cutting across patterns in a selforganising system. A lateral answer! The term "Lateral thinking" can be used in two senses: Specific: A set of systematic techniques used for changing concepts and perceptions.Lateral Thinking Edward de Bono writes in "Serious Creativity". different concepts and different points of entry. The term covers a variety of methods including provocations to get us out of the usual line of thought. Lateral thinking is about moving sideways when working on a problem to try different perceptions. The other parent suggests it might be a better idea to put Granny in the playpen to protect her from Susan. One parent suggests putting Susan into the playpen. For example: Granny is sitting knitting and three year old Susan is upsetting Granny by playing with the wool. . General: Exploring multiple possibilities and approaches instead of pursuing a single approach. The entry in the Concise Oxford Dictionary reads: "seeking to solve problems by unorthodox or apparently illogical methods. and generating new ones.

shower. 4. ‘bath/shower’. ‘toilet/sink’. use centred free-association (qv) to come up with possible ideas: o What sort of new bathroom product does ‘bath/shower’ suggest to you? 5. etc. products.) Reduce your list to about 10-12 items. 1958) uses the products in a given are: 1. 3. sink. ‘bathroom’). ‘bathroom equipment) 2.g. as you can that exist in that area (e. for every possible combination).g.Listing Listing is a derivative of the Attribute Listing idea and in actual fact is a one-dimensional version of the Heuristic Ideation Technique – HIT (qv) method. however the Listing technique (Whiting.g. etc. and for which combination of elements are likely to suggest solutions. Sketch a triangular template in which the rows and columns are both labelled with the items in the narrowed down list that you have just created. toilet. as many objects. so that the units in the template correspond to the comparison of each item on the list with every other item on the list (e. which has elements that can be listed. For each unit. bath. etc. Choose the top ideas for additional assessment . HIT uses the components of existing products. stop step 4 becoming unwieldy. Identify a area in which these exist (e. Identify the sort of product you would like to produce (e. catalogue. Although used mainly for new product development in theory it can be used for any situation.g.

Marginal (i. by making a ‘short-list’ of potentially viable options. 3. with pros and cons stacked separately. with all criteria of equal weight. it is more likely that a situation is not that simplistic with little or no clear criteria. Pick out ‘Vital’ Options. working with larger numbers of options requires the following more systematic approach 1. Important (but not absolutely vital). or go to the cinema). and con criteria that are absent.e. by working through the options one by one and generate a realistic set of pros and cons for each (using creativity approaches if it helps). do not exclude it. good quality options. finish this job. Eliminate all options that score poorly at this stage. and which have useful additional properties 6. condensing the short-list yet further to only options that are feasible. However. ‘would be nice if…’). 2. deciding what you should do next from a set unrelated possibilities (Shall I go home. yet. Write each pro or con on a separate card or Post-it. Using the Pros and Cons approach with only 2-3 options lists the pros and cons for each and compares the results directly. These categories can be sub divided further is necessary. 4. to leave a list of feasible. pick out ‘Important’ options.Listing Pros and Cons If an established set of criteria already exists evaluation of the options becomes equivalent to Comparison Tables. If time is short an assistant could carry out the first iteration. clearly marked ‘+’(for a pro) and ‘-‘(for a con). counting the number of ‘important’ pro criteria that are present. Another technique should be sought to take the short-lists any further. This technique is used mainly for screening out clearly weaker options using vital/important/marginal distinction. any duplicates removed and a single master checklist of all pros and all cons prepared. For example. Collate the collection into an ordered checklist of criteria. Repeat with the ‘Marginal’ criteria. . However. Generate a comprehensive collection of Pros and Cons. Focus on the central issue you are working on and order the lists Vital (‘make or break’). 5. If unsure about an item. It does not make finer distinctions within a final short-list. From the ‘Vital’ short-list. of good quality.

‘Communication tools’ are: • • • • • • Basic physical items (standard oval. A series of standard presentation get-togethers Rules that produce clear and legible display Rules that provide effective communication. a common understanding is essential and a formulation of objectives. One possible arrangement: Organise a fairground-like set of. ensuring good communication. recommendations and actions plans is the goal. Opinions are developed. cooperation and high levels of understanding are achieved. in groups. and recording their votes at predetermined stages. (Business Week 1976). Groups are set up to focus on a problem and its possible solutions. Participants can choose which booths interest them most. Specially trained ‘facilitators’ administer the groups. etc. perhaps. co-operation within group discussions where key issues are recorded and displayed and the participants can put forward their ideas. joining in the discussions at each booth. The recognition of themes and the supervision of expectations for a major ‘market’ necessitate several months of prior planning. etc. 20 booths around a very large hall.Metaplan Information Market The Metaplan method. voting. each booth representing a predetermined theme or critical question and staffed by 2-3 trained ‘facilitators’. developed by a German consultancy firm uses a number of ‘communication tools’. cloud-shaped and rectangular cards of various colours Felt tipped pens Display boards. These tools allow the ‘facilitator’ to administer effective. and can move between them. . This method is also useful for large-scale meetings or ‘information markets’. His objective is to provide the group with the right sort of communication tools at the right moment so that the group is able to get to the bottom of the crucial matter with greater success and efficiency. initial meetings and an attempt at decision-making. Vigorous follow-up is imperative to ensure the process does not experience a lack of expectation from the participants.

To draw a mind-map: • • • • Layout a large sheet of paper in landscape and write a concise heading for the overall theme in the centre of the page. Computer-based maps have the disadvantage of the small screen. It may be appropriate to put an item in more than one place. Snowball. they have different optical impacts. etc. they often hold notes and documents. However. Each sub-sub-topic or sub-cluster forms a subordinate branch to the appropriate main branch Carry on in this way for ever finer sub-branches. Software packages are available that support with mind-maps. KJ-Method. cross-linking etc. Coding the colour. Alternatively you drawings in place of writing may help bring the diagram to life. cross-link it to several other items or show relationships between items on different branches. and are less flexible than hand drawn versions (e. start a new major branch from the central theme. notes. associated with the labels (so acting as a filing system). in far-reaching tree-diagrams. type of writing etc can do this. and label it. hierarchical tree diagrams. information. Radical tree diagrams.g you cannot usually make crosslinks). etc. Example mind map (click for a larger version) . and dissimilar abilities to characterize derived connections such as over-lapping. Highlighting) all use the same hierachical logic.Mind Mapping Mind mapping also called ‘spider diagrams’ represents ideas. clustering methods (cf. For each major sub-topic or cluster of material. making it easier to amend and reshuffle the map.

ideas. shape and mechanism. using arbitrarily chosen permutations to stimulate ideas. written on a card or Post-it. and has only a small number of items inside it. Brainstorm issues. say. 3-400 combinations. edge to edge). An alternative approach (see AIDA) is to recognize pairs of options that are clearly not of use. Some of which may already exists. Place the strips sis by side and slide them up and down to create different horizontal combinations. . is a workable range with the aid of a computer to systematically go through every combination. and those left over are prospective new products. gives up to nearly a million potential arrangements. 50-100 possible combinations.g. devices are available to make it easier to study multiple recombinations. with the name of the dimension at the top. as Post-its stuck one under the other. theoretically there are 72 (3x6x4) potential combinations of material. no systematic investigation is probable. each of which is a clear option. Up to 7 dimensions of 7 values. and with 4 kinds of mechanism. exclusion is automatic for other combinations that involved that pair. then group them and label the group (or mind-mapping). by eliminating a pair. Upto. making systematic examination out of the question. facts aspects. You could try eliminating less functional dimensions (or options) (e. Revert to Attribute Listing.g. Identifying Suitable Dimensions and Options One possible approach is to group techniques. various techniques/devices can narrow down this larger set of combinations. Imagine you have a product that could be made of 3 types of material. in 6 possible shapes. An illustration of this taken from Allen’s Morphologiser a vertical strip is produced for each dimension. This theory could be extended to any problem that has this type of structure. For still larger numbers. say. etc. the options spaced one under the other below it (e. However. a dimension such as ‘colour’ may well be of only minor significance). Up to.Morphological Analysis Morphological Analysis is an extension of Attribute Listing. associated with your problem. put each piece of information or suggestion on individual cards or Post-it. others will be unusable. Iterate over and over again until you have condensed your information to a small quantity of labelled groups each of which constitutes an understandable element.

Morphological Forced Connections The general use of a matrix in Creativity and Innovation is often known as a"Morphological" method. leaving six faces for ads. Here it is: 1. calendars. List the attributes of the situation. They give the following rules for their "foolproof invention-finding scheme" along with an example showing how their scheme works. One method of attribute listing is contained in The Universal Traveler which authors Koberg and Bagnall call "Morphological Forced Connections". once corner writes. inventions are often new ways of combining old bits and pieces. 2. When completed. Shape / Cylind er Faceted Square Beaded Sculptured Material Metal Glass Wood Paper Cap Ink Source Attached Cap No Cartridge No Cap Retracts Cleaning Cap Permanent Paper Cartridge Cartridge made of ink Invention: A Cube Pen. picking up a different one from each column and assembling the combinations into entirely new forms of your original subject. photos. Below each attribute. make many random runs through the alternates. After all. etc. place as many alternates as you can think of 3. .

if nothing comes to mind for a particular statement.’ ‘If I could break all laws of reality (physical. This method suggested by Tudor Rickards (1974).Multiple Redefinition Open-ended problems by definition are not well defined ‘the boundaries are fuzzy’ and different stakeholders may have varying boundary perceptions. try following this simple procedure: 1.’ ‘What I would really like to do is…. The solver is unlikely to have a suitable description at the outset of the exact problem in hand and finds redefinition of the problem throughout the project.but the main point of the problem is…. In your own time.’ To use this technique. It can be useful to have a break at this stage to allow time for deliberation.’ ‘The problem put in another way could be likened to …’ ‘Another. 4. However. You could also define this one as …. progress on to the next statement 3. way of looking at it might be….’ ‘…. 2. which you would like several answers leading to possible solutions. Taking as short or as long as required note down on a sheet of paper an open-ended problem of importance to you. . complete the above statements with reference to your particular problem. social etc. Return to your original definition ( 1 ). A variety of redefinition techniques exist (see Boundary relaxation).) I would try to solve it by …. is designed to assist the solver increase imaginative and original redefinitions through a series of questions that take you through unexpected mental modes • • • • • • Empathic Analytic Motivational Magical Metaphorical Off-beat The following checklist of provocative statements is suggested to bring about these feelings: • • • • • • ‘There is usually more than one-way of looking at problems. even stranger. The problem should be one. have any of the redefinitions helped? Can you see the problem from a different angle? Write down any thoughts or ideas you have at this stage.

Negative Brainstorming
Negative (or Reverse) brainstorming requires a significant level of effort analysing a final short-list (rather the initial mass) of existing ideas. (see Bullet-proofing and Potential Problem Analysis). Examining potential failures is relevant when an idea is very new, complex to implement or there is little margin for error. Negative brainstorming consists of a conventional brainstorming session (or any other suitable idea-generation method) that is applied to questions such as: ‘What could go wrong with this project?’ Often referred to as the ‘tear-down’ method, because of its negativity can be advantageous and seen in a positive light when training implementers to deal with hostile criticism. However, even this example needs to be followed up with a constructive debrief to ensure the implementer feels encouraged and secure. Brainstorm, Displaying a comment such as ‘How not to solve the problem, i.e. how to really mess up implementing project X’ will generate much humour and unexpected ideas (which should be noted) Identify a cluster i.e. comments said in different ways that mean the same thing ‘Staff only’; ‘don’t tell non-staff’, reverse the cluster to give a single positive comment e.g. ‘tell those involved’ Repeat step 2, ad lib as you go

Nominal Group Technique (NGT)
A structured from of brainstorming or brain-writing, with up to 10 participants and an experienced facilitator (or up to 3-4 groups of up to 10 participants, with a spokesperson for each group and a single facilitator overall)

Underlying Principles
NGT is based on three fundamental, research-based principles:

‘Nominal’ Groups are thought to generate more better quality ideas than interacting groups typical of classic brainstorming. A nominal group consists of several people (usually gathered in one room) who are prepared to work as a team to resolve a problem. This sharing of ideas (which are anonymously submitted) promotes a sense of involvement and motivation within the group. The ‘round robin’ element provides encouragement and equal opportunities for all members to contribute. Contribution from all participants is encouraged and every individual’s idea is given equal standing, whether unique or not. Reliable communication requires that the recipient’s understanding of a message be checked with the sender, especially in the case of ‘new ideas’ being put forward. Checks for accurate communication are built in to the technique.

Standard Procedure
Various forms of the procedure can be undertaken, however, the classical form suggested by Delbecq et al. uses the following steps:

1. Anonymous generation of ideas in writing, begins with the facilitator
stating the problem and giving the participants up to 10 minutes to jot down any initial ideas privately. The facilitator also writes down his own ideas. Round-robin recording of ideas, allows each person in turn to read out one idea, which the facilitator writes up on a flip chart for all to view and numbered sequentially. This is repeated going around the groups until all ideas are exhausted and any duplicates are eliminated. Serial discussion to clarify ideas and check communication is encouraged by the facilitator. Working through each ideas systematically asking for questions or comments with a view to developing a shared understanding of an idea. Discussions are calm and controlled to aid clarification of the idea, they are not heated debates Preliminary anonymous vote on item importance is usually carried out in the method described under Anonymous Voting (qv). Further discussion and voting, takes place if the voting is not consistent. Steps 3 – 4 can be repeated and any ideas that received votes will be re-discussed for clarification.




Adaptation for ill-structured problems
Modification of NGT, undertaken by Bartunek and Murnighan (1984), helps to deal with ill-structrued problems. Normal ideas are generated and listed, followed by the facilitator questioning if the ideas are relevant to the same problem. If not, the problem is said to be ill-structured and the ideas generated are clustered into coherent groups (see Snowball technique). These clusters of ill-structured ideas are then treated as problems in their own right and the NGT procedure is applied to them. Regular breaks are taken by the participants to ensure the group feel they are still working on the original problem

Adaptation for greater anonymity
Useful where low trust conditions exist i.e. the presence of significant status or stakeholder differences. (see Improved Nominal Group Technique INGT)

Nominal-Interacting Technique
This method is so called as it alternates between ‘nominal’ and ‘interacting’ modes. The ‘nominal’ mode allows individual perspectives on the problem to be shared. Refreshment breaks occur at appropriate times, i.e. when discussion between participants is relevant and helpful. Participants are encouraged to share opinions, exchange facts and challenge views, in contrast with the non-interactive ‘nominal group’ mode. Example based on NGT, structure may look like this:
• • • • •

• •

Outline the problem Private, contemplation of ideas Round-robin collation and displaying of ideas o Break (where differences of opinions are identified) Whole group discusses the displayed ideas o Break (differences of opinion readdressed) First attempt at prioritising ideas o Break (final differences of opinion within the group are addressed) Final prioritisation of ideas Votes are confidential, however individuals can request one another’s ranking and its justification

Notebook An ‘ideas diary’ kept in a convenient. . conferences. Keep the problem ‘alive’ at the back of your mind throughout the event. i. small and portable notebook gives you the benefits of brainstorming whilst on the move.g. etc. training workshops.e. which is small enough to be portable wherever you go. Routinely note down any ideas that transpire at unusual times. Display output for a few days – A ‘Poster Notebook’. which are then open to discussion. lists of ideas. Left on display for several days (e. can ‘trigger’ ideas for a problem that you are trying to resolve. you may even have an opportunity to ‘bounce’ your ideas off others attending. regardless of their relevance. stuck on a notice board) allows others to come up with alternative ideas. Using idea notebooks at stimulating events. Keep an ideas notebook. or construction when displayed could benefit from other viewing it. in the form of drawings.

Observer and Merged Viewpoints
A problem can be viewed from two distinctive viewpoints, an observers and a merged: The observers viewpoint, is when a problem is approached with imagination and observation (the object being something you see or hear) with thoughts such as:
• • • • • •

‘Stand back’ ‘See something objectively’ ‘Remain detached’ ‘An arms length view’ ‘Put things in perspective’ ‘Remain separate’

The merged viewpoint is when you are the object (or person or whatever). Having become the object/person, you see, hear and feel as the subject would, often called ‘projective identification’. It can be interpreted as pure fantasy (i.e. imagining what it would be like to be a wheel). However if used in an adept manner, can be extremely empathetic, bringing to mind phrases such as:
• • •

‘Getting inside their skin’ ‘Seeing the situation through their eyes’ ‘Standing in the other person’s shoes’

Care must be taken to ‘imagine that someone else is like you when they aren’t’. The merged viewpoint uses ‘I’ to refer to whatever you are imagining, e.g. for the wheel: ‘my outer feels pressure from the ground as I am rolled’. Merged observation is an involved state, you identify with the object you are considering, e.g. to resolve a technical problem with the wheel you become the wheel, right down the scale, workings and trying to ‘experience’ its role, thus getting a feel for how it would operate better. The NLP method makes a distinction between dissociated and associated states. An associated (or merged) state being when some local event triggers a past memory, and you feel you are re-experiencing the same feelings. If a good memory has been triggered, useful, energetic, good and positive vibes are invoked. However, if the memory is a bad one negativity is recalled. The dissociated method is useful for recalling negative, bad memories as a detached experience. Thereby neutralising the bad times, overlaying them with vivid energetic positive feelings. Observed or Merged, Detached or Involved, Dissociated or Associated, both/all strategies have their usefulness in creative thinking

Osborn’s Checklist
A basic rule of brainstorming is build onto ideas already suggested. Osborn, the originator of classical brainstorming, first communicated this. A checklist was formulated as a means of transforming an existing idea into a new one. The checklist is designed to have a flexible, trial and error type of approach. A derivation of Osborn’s checklist is SCAMPER. The Checklist:
• • • • • •

• • •

Put to other uses? As it is?… If modified?.. Adapt? Is there anything else like this? What does this tell you? Is the past comparable? Modify? Give it a new angle? Alter the colour, sound, odour, meaning, motion, and shape? Magnify? Can anything be added, time, frequency, height, length, strength? Can it be duplicated, multiplied or exaggerated? Minify? Can anything be taken away? Made smaller? Lowered? Shortened? Lightened? Omitted? Broken up? Substitute? Different ingredients used? Other material? Other processes? Other place? Other approach? Other tone of voice? Someone else? Rearrange? Swap components? Alter the pattern, sequence or layout? Change the pace or schedule? Transpose cause and effect? Reverse? Opposites? Backwards? Reverse roles? Change shoes? Turn tables? Turn other cheek? Transpose ‘+/-‘? Combine? Combine units, purposes, appeals or ideas? A blend, alloy, or an ensemble?

Other People’s Definitions
Allowing other people to air their own perspectives or challenge your views provides an opportunity to understanding the problem from an additional approach. It is a very direct application of the basic creative principle of valuing differences: 1. Your client briefly outlines the problem and framework and writes up on the flipchart their attempt to summarise the essence of the problem, using the form ‘How can I or we…’ or ‘How to…’ 2. The participants ask the client any questions for clarification that occur to them, but avoid recommending solutions, offering explanations or making judgements. 3. The client answers the questions factually, and avoids making any justifications or defences. 4. Following the questioning, each participant of the group (client and helpers) writes down privately their own attempts at expressing the essence of the problem in the same ‘How can I or we…’ /‘How to…’ format. Helpers should avoid being provocative in their versions – e.g. expressing what they have ‘read between the lines’ as well as what the client has told them. 5. When everyone feels ready, all the ideas and thoughts are written up on the flipchart, explained and discussed. 6. Finally the client decides on an ultimate version based on all the other versions and the discussion that has taken place. The client has the last word! 7. The helpers are actually operating as consultants and their assignment is not to decide how they would deal with the problem, but to help the client settle on a perspective that is most helpful to her or him. As the client has the last word, carefully worded suggestions that are sensitive to the client’s focus are likely to be more productive.

Other People’s Viewpoints
If anything concrete is to happen, the real ‘last word’ is that of the organisation and personnel whose approval and compliance are essential. Therefore it is vital to understand their viewpoints. DeBono and others, suggest this exercise that is particularly suited to people problems where three or four parties have different views about a situation, and works well with a group of 16 or so. It proposes a means of achieving multiple perspectives on the issue under consideration. 1. Create a list of the key three or four people or roles in the problem area and get the client to describe the people and roles concerned and to answer enquiries. 2. Separating the group into small teams, allocate one role to each team then each group should attempt to ‘get into the shoes’ of its role, role-playing it in the full theatrical sense if they are inclined. The intention is to be able to look at the world from this party’s viewpoint. 3. Either descriptively or as a role-play, each group should give a presentation of its characters viewpoint to the other groups. The viewpoint should comprise both personal and role-related issues. For instance any particular role may have some concerns to do with current projects, etc., and others to do with family and personal career, and yet others to do with attitudes, habits, prejudices, etc. 4. This can be taken on to a second stage by forming a series of negotiating teams where each has one representative from each of the original role teams. Each negotiating team has to try to reach agreement about the issue. 5. Finally each group reports back to the others on how they got on. 6. Take time out to carefully reflect on the events. 7. A fundamental negotiating technique is to try to spot areas of agreement, partial disagreement and major disagreement, then try to increase the un-controversial areas by attempting to reach agreement on the least tricky areas, where there is partial agreement, leaving the major disagreements till the end. Even in apparently impossible situations, this technique can be surprisingly productive.

if a larger comparison is necessary then you can use the same principle with computer aided methods such Interpretive Structural Modelling (qv) This example matrix shows a personal choice amongst seven different fruit Total stars for (A)Appl (O)Orang (M)Melo (K)Kiw (B)Banan (P)Pea each fruit over e e n i a r whole table C C C C C C Cherries get 9 *** * ** * * * O M A B P Apples get 2 *** * ** * * M O B P Oranges get 5 * ** * * M B M Melons get 6 ** * ** B K Kiwis get 2 * ** P Bananas get 4 * Pears get 3 (C) Cherries (A)Apple (O)Orang e (M)Melon (K)Kiwi (B)Banan a (P)Pear 1. thus Cherries get a total score of 9. You could also show how strong each preference is as the example illustrates.e. Clearly. 2. O for Orange in the example). 4. . followed by Melons.Paired Comparison Paired comparison is a practical technique for comparing up to.g. say 10-15 items (ideas. Bananas and Pears. Arrange a matrix as show above. For instance. too many to rank easily just by inspection. so Oranges get a total score of 5. options or criteria etc. Now sum up the total number of preferences or ‘*’s each item has. in the example o ‘C ***’ means: Cherries very much preferred o ‘B *’ means: Bananas slightly preferred’ 3. giving each item a unique one-letter abbreviation (e. These total scores are shown in the right-hand column. However. For instance: o There are 6 cells where Cherries are preferred (‘C’) which between them have 9‘*’s. o Conversely there are only 2 cells where Oranges are preferred (‘O’) with 5 ‘*’s between them.) – i. but not so many that the table size becomes unmanageable. Mark each cell in the matrix to indicate which fruit you prefer of the two items it represents. Cherries win by quite a wide margin.

Each problem is presented in a comprehensive (up to 2 pages). In much the same way as the previous phase though possibly with more analysis the selection panels endeavour to reach consensus. implying a many-layered hierarchy. to come up with ideas. it required a lot of clerical and administrative support. therefore sensible decisions can be made based on discussion and voting. carefully chosen for their shared familiarity of the field. if repeated nowadays. Screening Phase: The 4-500 ideas are divided up randomly between 15 screening panels of 15 people each. Problem statement. this phase needs to generate at least 4-500 ideas. checks time-keeping.Panel Consensus The panel consensus technique was designed for use in large organisations (e.g. the idea of a series of hurdles that underlies Progressive Hurdles). etc. making it much simpler operationally. indeed the method read like an awesome explanation for delayering! However. .f. For the latter phases to make sense. There is no time is built in for research. Idea generation phase: 24 hours are given to individuals with some knowledge of the problem. working via a discussion and by assigning each idea a value on a five-point rating scale. To begin: Each panel is staffed by a neutral administrator who looks after the paper-work. Originally (1972). leaving small numbers of high-powered people to deliberate in more sophisticated ways on the resulting short-lists. though this time they have to write statements justifying their choice. and must have been a very cumbersome process. This results in a short-list of 75 (15 x 5) ideas to pass on to the next phase. it is assumed that due to large number of people involved that the necessary knowledge is available. each has 3-4 hours to reach consensus about what it considers the 5 best ideas. Description of how it might be implemented). Strict anonymity is preserved. The early phases engage large numbers of less skilful people using fairly straightforward methods to remove less suitable options. standardised way (Title. 1972). much of it might be computer and network based within a much flatter structure. when it was described. Key points of the idea. helps with weighting calculations. Each panel is given 3-4 hours to reach consensus about the best five of the ideas allocated to it. are given identical sets of clean copies of these 75 ideas. each of 5 middle managers selected for their expertise in the field. and there are also an overall controller and administrator. The underlying picture is that of progressive filtering through a series of selective funnels (c. Again. Selection Phase: 3 Further panels. a military service) with a capability for generating a large number of ideas (perhaps 4-500 or more) that would then need to be narrowed down (Taylor.

of course. as the three panels are working independently in parallel. develop or combine ideas as long as their basic material remains intact. Decision Phase: A further panel of five top managers come to a decision on their preferred option to pursue and how it shall be implemented . additionally they may simplify. with cases justifying their choices.There may well. Refining Phase: One panel of 5 highly experienced upper-middle managers takes these 15 ideas and narrow them down to a final short-list. be duplicates amid the resulting 15 (3 x 5) lists.

or to trigger different streams of ideas about possible solutions. look at the example below. . substitute them one at a time with other words that have the equivalent general meaning. Paraphrasing as such can be used either to alter the problem statement itself. See also Boundary Examination. Replacing Key words with Synonyms This method devised by De Bono (1970) requires you to identify key words in the sentence. many of which correspond to very different meanings. just using the synonyms in the table above. which an average word-processor thesaurus gave the direct and indirect synonyms for the 3 key words in the problem statement: ‘We haveUnderused Overcapitalise We have d We have Wasted We have Squandered We have Derelict We have Superfluous We have Excessive We have Bountiful We have Generous We have Redundant We have Ignored Reprographic Duplicating Resources’ Capital Copying Property Remaking Machines and people Transcribing Mechanisms Facsimile Holdings Mimicking Agency Mirroring Investment Reproducing Means MimeographingBelongings Cloning Facility Altering just one word at a time produces very distinct shifts in the meaning and boundary assumptions such as: • • • We have over-capitalised reprographic resources We have underused cloning resources We have underused reprographic belongings Obviously the amount of potential paraphrasing is very large. E. and the software packages: Batmemes. and create different emphases and a different rhetoric.Paraphrasing Key Words This technique requires you to alter the meanings of key words in the problem statement (or any sentence that contains key words) to reveal assumptions and generate alternative perceptions. and Paramind. It can be achieved in a simple and informal way from general knowledge. this simple problem statement may well be reworded in at least 1000 (10 x 10 x 10) ways. or at a deeper level with imaginative use of a thesaurus.g.

etc…. not really. adjective-noun). and then uses word pairs generated from the 2 synonym lists to stimulate ideas. from mimicking agency: Develop an agency to make copies of photos.: mimicking agency. Use these to trigger ideas: e. .g. generates lists of synonyms for each word (as above). but perhaps a service to print cheque-books or pay-in books or toy money for children …. verb-noun. cloning capital. transcribing investment.g.Use Synonym Pairs to Trigger Ideas A variation of the method above devised by Olson (1980) takes just 2 key words from the problem statement (ideally a grammatically linked pair such as noun-verb.g. For example: Select grammatical keyword pair: I choose: Reprographic resources (adjective-noun pair). verb-adverb. develop a service for transcribing handwritten records. Generate synonyms: e. Select some interesting word pairs: e. start to forge bank notes (!) – well. mimeographing belongings etc. the two right hand columns of synonyms in the table above.

Phase of Integrated Problem Solving (PIPS) The phases of integrated problem-solving (PIPS) technique (Morris and Sashkin. The authors of the PIPS technique also provide a . Evaluate match original goals? Are self-expression and product and Identify any new problems offers of support easy? process created What has group learned Any future actions needed? about itself? To work effectively PIPS requires: • • • • Problem-solving Tasks Search for information about the problem Detailed understanding of problem situation Agreeing group goals Brainstorm ideas Elaborate and refine ideas Develop tentative list of solutions Problem-solving group A Facilitator An observer to monitor the problem-solving tasks An observer to monitor the inter-personal tasks In theory the observer’s roles should be rotated. in addition to defining the range of analytic steps required. Action Planning Identify resources needed Group adequately evaluates Assign responsibilities for each available resources step Develop real commitments Success measures for each All contribute to developing step success measures Timetable to measure All comfortable with time5. is a variation of the classic Creative problem Solving (CPS) method (qv). Select a tentative solution Consensus building List steps needed for All participate in listing implementation steps 4. Plan Evaluation progress against table Contingency planning in case Real commitments for steps need modifying contingency plans How much group How well do effects of solution participation overall? 6. PIPS also defines the inter-personal actions needed for each step. Ideas into of each idea Resolving conflicts over Action Try combining good ideas combining/ modifying ideas. Problem Open sharing of problem Definition information Consensus building Encourage all to brainstorm 2. 1978). Solution Encourage ‘no criticism’ Generation Encourage co-operation when listing solutions Avoiding non-productive Evaluate strengths/weakness criticism 3. at the end of each phase the previous observers would swap with others in the problemsolving group. as shown in the table below: Inter-personal Tasks Does the information search involve everyone? 1. However. in as much as.

but which the observers fill in. but may prove beneficial for training. and members only go on to the next step when all the tasks of the previous step have been satisfactorily completed. Thus the general rule of placing explicit inter-personal goals alongside the task goals of any problem-solving method has a lot to be said for it. The complete PIPS process is almost certainly too cumbersome for routine problem solving. . There is a general review at the closing stage of each step of the process issues.questionnaire (considerably more detailed than the table above) which all participants have for reference.

6. private idea listing followed by a round robin). Newspapers and magazines are an obvious source. When the flow of ideas starts to trickle. it can help if the picture is open to a variety of interpretations.g. they can be collected using a round robin when ready. Sometimes the group creates the pictures first (see Gretings Cards and Component Detailing). and input from Schaude (1979) describing visual Synectics. go over steps 2-4 as often as you feel necessary. so that group members can envisage their own scenarios for what is happening. The BBB approach provides each participant a folder of 8-10 prepared pictures. The choice of relevant picture criteria is important as the following suggestions show: o Aim for easily understood pictures that represent or imply something going on (e. Brainstorming . If the ideas are being generated in private. Brainwriting and Excursion . 3. 8. Participants can either use the pictures as triggers for Free Association (qv) or for Excursions (qv). via any standard ideagathering techniques occurs at the outset (e. 7. 2. avoid abstract patterns.Pictures as Idea Triggers There are various descriptions by several authors where pictures are used as idea triggers. . etc). When you have sufficient ideas. revulsion). 4. in a group environment it is not usually worth introducing special idea triggers until the direct methods are beginning decline. introduce the pictures. dislike.g. whereas Schaude recommends displaying one picture at a time to the whole group (using a projector or large poster). however it is more regular to use the pictures as part of a wider battery of idea triggers. but if possible with impartial or positive associations rather than negative ones (despair. advertisements often have eye-catching and stimulating material. 5. Initial exploration of the most obvious ideas. Facilitators are inclined to assemble collections of pictures that they have found functional. rather than on there own. If pictures are being used one at a time. et al (1975) put together a description ‘BBB’ – Battelle-BildmappenBrainwriting – developed at the Batelle Institute in Frankfurt. feel and simplicity/complexity. o Aim for a wide assortment of material. The problem statement is put on view and discussed until clearly understood. o Aim for pictures that present scenes unrelated to the problem. they are evaluated. A generalised method might look like this: 1. anger. Warfield.

3. The leader writes the problem up where everyone can see it. but is not anonymous. thus the card is passed around the table. The leader reads each card out in turn. 8. This can be used to investigate possible combinations of ideas. 2. throwing it open to discussion to make sure it is fully understood. 5. This open climate promotes high trust. Each time a participant requires inspiration. 7. The cards or Post-its are gathered after about 20-30 minutes and positioned on a large display board and sorted into first round categories (see also Snowball Technique and KJ-Method). The colour coding on the cards or Post-its allows the questions to be directed at their authors. 5-8 participants group round a table. with pen and cards or post-its. If the categories are positioned in columns. . writing one idea per card or Post-it and placing it in a pile for their right-hand neighbour. The leader should actively promote card circulation to avoid accumulation between particular participants. anticipating questions and comments to clarify the meanings. et al. which will help subsequent identification if each member’s pack is of a different colour. Participants work quietly. The pin cards that can be small cards or post-its (each person having their own colour) are passed to the person on the immediate right. 1. Categories can be adjusted and items re-categorised if appropriate. 4. the layout is comparable to that of the Allen Morphologiser (see also Morphological Analysis). at the same time being cautious not to develop an excessively competitive or pressurised environment 6. Fresh ideas triggered by this are written on new cards or Post-its and as usual these are placed on the pile on their right (along with the trigger card).. Thus the cards are transported round the table in the same direction from left to right of each participant. This encourages turn-taking and individual contributions and is basically self-facilitating. 1981) has associations with other brainwriting methods (see Brainwriting 635 and Brainwriting Pool (qv)). they pick a card or Post-it from the pile created by their left-hand neighbour.Pin Cards The pin card technique (Geschka.

points of interest PMI Score. Interaction) A ‘spin-off’ of the technique ‘Pros and Cons’. negative reasons Interesting.g. Minus. . Plus. (Plus) + (Minus) + (Interesting) For each reason/point in each category a score (positive/negative) is assigned.PMI (Plus. positive reasons Minus. The final PMI score will be the result of adding each categories scores together. A list or table with the categories Plus/Minus/Interesting should be formulated e.

or "Deming Cycle" as it is often called. Act. Act: Adopt the change if the desired result was achieved. Plan: Determine the root cause of the problem then plan a change or a test aimed at improvement. and to improve the process that delivers them. Although this is a continuous cycle. what or if anything went wrong. Do: Carry out the change or the test. The PCDA cycle. If the result was not as desired. . preferably in a pilot or on a small scale.Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) Dr Deming's pioneering work in quality management gave rise to a continuous process to achieve better quality products and services. and what was learned. repeat the cycle using knowledge obtained from the previous cycle. The gap between reality and requirements will enable you to determine if you need to Act To use this as a problem solving technique it does rely on there being a process already in place. Do. As a problem solving process you would normally start at the Check stage. Check: Check to see if the desired result was achieved. you need to start somewhere. which can then be modified. Check. A more refined version of PCDA is the 7-Step Model for problem solving. consists of four stages: Plan. checking what the requirements are and reality is.

g. The development of each idea is quite time consuming and therefore the technique is more appropriate for use on a short-list of ideas than for general screening of large numbers of ideas. Your ‘concerns’ about the idea. . 3 or more ‘plusses’ (Strong points) 2. money…) o How to pre-test it (e. Taking into account step 4. 5.Plusses. o The resources required (people. Potentials and Concerns Plusses. 4. materials. Starting with the most important idea make notes on how you can overcome each concern (or at least the main ones). Limitations and Unique Qualities (qv)). Prepare your ideas into a form such as: ‘What I see myself/us doing is…’ Then list: 1. In order to keep the momentum going. 3 or more ‘potentials’ (Spin-offs. undated) and is closely related to the ‘developmental response’ (see also Receptivity To Ideas (qv) and Advantages. with at least one step to be done within the next day. potentials and concerns are a technique that constructively evaluated an idea (Firestien. try to improve your original idea: for instance: o How to get people to understand it and become enthusiastic for it o Its advantages and disadvantages (and how to surmount the disadvantages). put in place the opening steps of a suitable action plan. etc) 3. are there particular times or locations you might use?) o How to identify when implementation is complete 6. using the layout: ‘How to…?’ And putting them in order of importance. researchable possibilities.

Who Is affected by the problem? Else has it? Says it is a problem? Would like a solution? Would not like a solution? Could prevent a solution? Need it solved more than you? When Does it occur? Doesn’t it occur? Did it appear? Will it disappear? Do other people see your problem as a problem? Don’t other people see your problem as a problem? Is the solution needed? Might it occur again? Will it get worse? Will it get better? Where Where is it most noticeable? Is it least noticeable? Else does it exist? Is the best place to begin looking for solutions? Does it fit in the larger scheme of things? Why Is this situation a problem? Do you want to solve it? Don’t you want to solve it? Doesn’t it go away? Would someone else want to solve it? Wouldn’t someone else want to solve it? Is it easy to solve? Is it hard to solve? What Might change about? Are its main weaknesses? . a checklist that is recommended for selective use.Preliminary Questions Preliminary Questions is a technique that is essentially a development of Five Ws and H.

Do you like about it? Do you dislike about it? Can be changed about it? Can’t be changed? Do you know about it? Don’t you know about it? Will it be like if it is solved? Will it be like if it isn’t solved? Have you done in the past with similar problems? Principles underlie it? Values underlie it? Problem elements are related to one another? Assumptions are you making about it? Seems to be most important about it? Seems to be least important about it? Are the sub-problems? Are your major objectives in solving it? Else do you need to know? .

its suitability is dependent upon the leaders sensitivity to group process . not people-.Presentation of the Problem and relevant Information Situation-.Initial discussion of the situation • • • • Look for guarded expressions of resentment Leave long pauses to encourage expressions of feeling Accept expressions of feeling Understand. related Avoid suggesting solutions Incorporate mutual interests Include only one specific objective Keep it brief: • • Present only essential clarifying information Separate facts from interpretation 5 minutes at a maximum Give assurance to group members: • • • Be realistic Tell members that they do not have to accept any change Allow expressions of feeling to be released in harmless channels: 2.these behaviours cannot be applied mechanically.Continued Discussion Involve all group members in discussion Minimal leader participation: • . Developed by Miner (1979) from the original ideas of Maier (1963) the technique outlines a particular scheme of stages. thoughts and feelings 3.Problem-Centred Leadership (PCL) Problem-Centred Leadership (PCL) The problem-centred leadership (PCL) technique identifies key requirements for someone facilitating a problem-solving group. although it could be adapted to fit other stage schemes. but don’t evaluate. it is summarised briefly below: Stage Suggested Leader Behaviour Problem-Centred Leadership (PCL) • • • • 1.

detailed. summary of the final decision Ask group to check summary and modify as required • .• Perhaps provide occasional summaries Perhaps ask questions that raise still-unexplored issues Stimulate the generation of solutions: • • • • • Prevent premature closure Separate ideas generation from evaluation Deal with agreement and disagreement Summarize discussion periodically Assist in evaluating and selecting solutions: 4. Determination of Decision acceptance • Provide a careful. Solution Generation and Decision making • • • • • Examine pros and cons of each suggestion Explore supporting evidence Use stalemates constructively Explore solutions for knock-on problems Create short-list by voting and by combining choices Deal with disagreement by methods such as: • • Combining disputed options Analysing and trying to improve each separately Treating failure to agree as a separate problem Final leader summary: • 5.

The world is full of opposites.Learn to see things backwards. Change a positive statement into a negative one. The "What-If Compass" The author (Charles Thompson) has a list of pairs of opposing actions which can be applied to the problem. list all the ways you could make customer service bad. Turn defeat into victory or victory into defeat 1. 3. fuel-efficient cars. The Method 1. 2. A small sample:• • • • Stretch it/Shrink It Freeze it/Melt it Personalise it/De-personalise it ." and plug in each one of the opposites. it is the interaction that is creative. any attribute. concept or idea is meaningless without its opposite.. Doing what everybody else doesn't For example. . Change the direction or location of your perspective 5. Lao-tzu wrote Tao-te Ching which stresses the need for the successful leader to see opposites all around: The wise leader knows how to be creative.... Japan made small. State your problem in reverse. Just ask yourself "What if I .. Figure out what everybody else is not doing... Make the statement negative For example..Problem Reversal From "What a Great Idea" by Charles Thompson. and upside down. In order to lead. You will be pleasantly surprised at some of the ideas you will come up with. Flip-flop results 6. In both cases. inside out.. the leader learns to live simply. 2.. 3. All behaviour consists of opposites.. Of course. Use the "What If" Compass 4. if you are dealing with Customer Service issues. Apple Computer did what IBM didn't. the leader learns to follow. In order to prosper.

4. Change the direction or location of your perspective Physical change of perspective. If I lost all of the files off this computer. 5. think about decreasing them. what good would come out of it? Maybe I would spend more time with my family?! Who knows! . think about the positive aspects of the situation. or doing something different. Flip-flop results If you want to increase sales. Turn defeat into victory or victory into defeat If something turns out bad. Manage by Walking around. What would you have to do? 6.

but is often referred to as the Batelle method after the Batelle Institute where it was created. normally in sub-stage groups. The culling stage(s) consist of screens built from low-cost yes/no criteria – e. The rating stage(s) uses screens of medium-cost (in general a factor of 10 more expensive) criteria. thereby reducing the informationhandling load (see also Q-Sort and Paired Comparison). The criteria are expected to involve analysis and measurement. and the idea might pass the sub-stage if it gets at least one ‘yes’. Originally designed to look at ideas for business development opportunities.g. 5. but at the same time ensure that the screening process is clearly rational and impartial. this must exceed a pre-set figure if the idea is to pass the substage hurdle. 3. It is essential that the chosen ideas are practical and viable. the first of which being the most inexpensive to operate. and it is now necessary to sort out a small number of ‘best’ ideas to put into practice. and that it reasonably economical.g. A succession of hurdles are encountered.g. Reference to ‘Cost’ conveys the investment needed to get the information required to evaluate and idea. making it possible for weak points in one area to be traded against strong points in another. though the criterion is still probably a yes/no pass/fail threshold e. so that the highest cost investigations are used only on handful of ideas that have endured all former hurdles. Thus freeing up time to put all your effort into a handful of promising short-listed ideas. . Combination at set sub-stages gives an overall score. These questions may be grouped into sub-stages. Any idea that fails a sub-stage is not developed. the four main stages suggested by the method are: 1. Problems can be encountered with this method for example: 2. questions such as: ‘Do we have the technology to manufacture this product?’ that can be answered inexpensively from locally obtainable information. ‘is the average travelling time for this business opportunity > 10% of working hours’. medium or good or at broad band estimates of the likely grown rate of the market. it presupposes that a fair amount of plausible ideas have been derived from an initial idea-generating process.Progressive Hurdles The progressive hurdles technique was developed by Hamilton (1974). The final in-depth analysis involves the few remaining ideas that have endured all the preceding hurdles and can now be subject to a full-cost business and market analysis. Progressive hurdles extend the existing well-established method of rapidly discarding the items that can obviously be seen to be of lesser quality (see also Listing Pros and Cons). 4. a sub-stage might have 3-4 yes/no questions. These conditions are likely to give numerical measurements with each idea being tested to give a weighted score on each criterion. e. The scoring stage(s) involves screens that could potentially be yet another factor of 10 more expensive and involve quite complex questions such as whether the return on investment is likely to be poor.

o o You cannot assume the cheapest tests are automatically the best for early screening or it may not be feasible to devise a suitable series of independent tests (e. . The method can also be discredited. if groups of alternatives are strongly inter-dependant.g. or demands to re-evaluate rejected options.g. such as senior people pushing through their pet ideas. or if they are basically different from one another). e. by efforts to misrepresent or avoid the procedure.

you should go back to step 2 to provide additional information. participants could be made to feel they are being manipulated as to how they go about the natural thinking processes. 3. choosing the most appropriate stages to reveal further factual information. Try to avoid biasing the idea generation. The problem is initially presented in a very theoretical. the group use the previously generated ideas as triggers to generate actual solutions to the original problem. Generating ideas by participants using any appropriate idea generation method.Progressive Revelation William Gordon of the Arthur D. generalised form. The method is outlined below.e. because that often makes it easier to thinking openly about it. Repeat steps 2-3 when the idea flow slows down. it assumes that participants must not already know what the problem is: 1. therefore it could be beneficial to explain the rationale behind the technique before using it (see step 1 above). Issues to take into consideration The procedure needs sensitive handling by the facilitator. present a problem in a very theoretical form initially. non-specific form and the more factual details are made known gradually step-by-step. Example . This avoids premature closure and can help maintain the excitement and novelty of any type of brainstorming or brain writing session so that it doesn’t ‘tail off’. In the example above once the .A problem about car parking might be presented as follows: • • • • Extremely abstract and generalised: ‘methods of storing large things’ Slightly less generalised: ‘ways of storing objects weighing over a ton that need to be taken in and out of storage frequently and easily’. Explain what is going to happen – i. repeating this cycle and providing increasingly factual information each time until you have finally presented the whole problem. 5. that you are going to 2. The presentation of the problem is presented in a very abstract. Little consulting firm developed the progressive revelation technique (often referred to as the Gordon-Little progressive revelation technique). 4. Finally once the full problem has been revealed. Approaching the real problem: ‘what if the objects had wheels and were motorised?’ The actual problem: ‘the actual problem is how to improve on the vehicle parking arrangements for DIRETOBRASIL.

it is less likely to be seen as a travel problem has been introduced as a storage problem. as a way of displaying personal wealth or as a security problem. . etc.

imagine making the statement 'Houses should not have roofs’. the structure of our brains makes it difficult for us to link this in. or houses with glass roofs. Statements need to be stupid to shock our minds out of existing ways of thinking. These would allow you to lie in bed and look up at the stars.Carrying Out Thought Experiments Provocation is a technique that requires lateral thinking. similar to Random Input. While we may know the answer as part of a different type of problem. it involves moving your thinking out of the established patterns that you use to solve problems normally. Edward de Bono popularised Provocation by using the word 'Po'. our judgement is then suspended and the statement is used to generate ideas. Once you have made the provocative statement. all too often we do not venture outside of these patterns. such reactions come from our past experiences and logical extensions to those experiences. in which something we take for granted about the situation is not true. The technique requires you to make deliberately stupid statements (Provocations). you can use this checklist to examine all its aspects: • • • • • • • The consequences of the statement What the benefits would be What special circumstances would make it a sensible solution The principles needed to support it and make it work How it would work moment-to-moment What would happen if a sequence of events was changed Etc. Normally this would not be a good idea! However this leads one to think of houses with opening roofs.Provocation . This does rely on all members of your audience knowing about Provocation! Generally we think by recognizing patterns and reacting to them. 'Po' stands for 'Provocative operation'. Provocations give us original starting points for creative thinking. He suggests that when we make a Provocative statement in public we should label it as such with 'Po' (e. Once we have made a provocative statement. .g. 'Po: the earth is flat'). For example. The Provocation technique often helps you to generate completely new concepts.

makes the task tedious and items could possibly pass through unobserved Example A Delphi survey produces 70 items that are to be sorted into 9 levels of importance ranging from most (A) to least important (I) 1. With standard statistical tables to work out how 70 randomly selected items would be expected to be distributed over nine equal bands of importance Bands A to I would look like this: A B C 2 4 6 D 13 E 20 F 13 G 6 H I 4 2 Total 70 2. beyond 100 items. . should be put in boxes A and I. The remainder goes in category E. complex and partially overlapping items. using the example above. 1953) helps facilitate the awesome task of ranking or prioritising valuable. 3. Followed by choosing the from what remains the 4 ‘most important’ and 4 ‘least important’ items for categories B and H. Less than 40 items. and so on for C and G. it reduces information processing demands making it faster and more reliable (ideal for 60-90 items). would be best served by alternative methods. the first 2 ‘most important’ and the 2 ‘least important’ items. Establish the likely distribution of this amount of items over this number of categories. assuming the importance is a roughly normal distribution (bell-shaped curve) for this ‘population’ of items. then finally D and F. Select items to match this pattern.Q-Sort The Q-sorting technique (Stephenson.

forcefield analysis (see…... considered Final solution is put forward to manager and implemented by the Quality Circle group . notice boards etc… are utilised Problem areas are put forward by the group Problems are prioritised Information is collated. • • • • • • • • 5 – 10 people attend the meeting in work time Supervisor is nominated and runs the meeting Flip Charts. costs.) etc… Effectiveness. savings.Quality Circles Quality circles are regular short meetings set up to aid work-related problems. ideas are generated via brainstorming. consequences to other departments etc.. audiovisual equipment.

an idea to be built on. pick another and keep trying. etc). Some variants to try: Combining fixed and random elements: Choose a specific element of the problem and name it the ‘fixed element’. what effects it has. position. Select 2-3 grammatically random stimuli: • • • • Noun + verb Adjective + noun Verb + adverb Noun + verb + noun Try to create an unusual phrase. opening a newspaper. Now select a new random stimulus. On the other hand you could go for a full Excursion (qv). size. etc.g. repeat the process with the same ‘fixed element’ and after several cycles of this choose a fresh fixed element and repeat. this could be done using simple Free Association (qv) 4. 3. You can convey these directly to the problem. 5. Identify your criteria for ideas – e. stroll round parts of your work place you don’t usually have contact with. Although the concept is often used informally. for example if you observed a school and a plane flying overhead. Lateral Thinking. Spend some time on this stage for better-quality outcomes later. Should a random stimulus fail to work. what it does. You could free associate further phrase combinations from the one created so ‘flying school’ might generate ‘elevated learning’. Problem-Solving through Creative Analysis). etc. a formal approach may look like this: 1. 2. how it is used. which suggests there is a fundamental significance for being open to possibilities from everywhere. throwing a dice at random or any other method that appeals to you. dictionary. book of pictures. Now select a random stimulus via any chosen method and free-associate way is which these 2 elements could be combined. a hypothesis to be investigated. Pick a stimulus at random. catalogue.Random Stimuli of Various Kinds Several authors have recommended the use of random stimuli of various kinds (see Creative Thinking. ideas for solving a problem or tackling some aspect of it. Go out of your way to attempt something ‘alternative’ – chat to people you wouldn’t normally choose to (even if it’s the office bore!). take different . by looking or listening to everything around you indoors and outdoors. if something catches your attention be curious and explore the thought. or use the 2-element combination itself to trigger additional ideas. by describing the stimulus (how it works. Followed by ‘force-fit’ pieces of this comprehensive description back to the problem to recommend relevant ideas. that might yield phrases such ‘flying school’ or ‘teaching flying’. You should now relate this random stimulus back to your original problem. something that catches your attention.

transportation to and from work. work or at the gym. Without too much effort. build ideas around it. Encourage incubation: Be aware of the problem. make notes if ideas spring to mind unexpectedly (see also Bunches of Bananas). subconsciously in your day-to-day life. as you go for walks. . shopping. When you have found something that seems different.

.Rawlinson Brainstorming Rawlinson Brainstorming is useful for untrained groups because there is no interaction between group members.e.. he then gives simple background on routes he has tried and have failed. all other participants) are invited to have a creative warm-up session and then offer solutions to the problem as two word descriptors the problem owner focuses on those ideas that give him new viewpoints .. and what would represent an ideal solution the resource (i. all ideas are directed towards the facilitator/scribe • • • the problem owner simply describes in a headline the problem.

Developmental Response • • After the paraphrasing you need to work towards transforming the idea into a workable solution. listing at least one more pro than come easily. However if this is not the case. going from constructing fresh ideas into ultimate concepts. but more subtly shows you are interested in what the speaker is saying. If the speaker agrees that what you have repeated. repeat them back to him using your own words. hard-to-give pro. This stage is essential because it double checks you understanding of what is being suggested. start with ‘how to’. redirecting discussion toward solving the problem. It expresses a manager’s intention to . The final solution may barely resemble the original thought. phrasing each one so that it encourages solutions. This thought process is particularly relevant when responding to nonexperts. whilst it is accepted that they do not understand the area they are talking about. those ideas often overlooked in the initial rush to identify imperfections. For example if the con is ‘its expensive’ try saying ‘how can we make it less expensive?’ As you consider each con in turn. This acknowledges the contribution of the speaker and creates better understanding of the problems components o Cons should be looked at one at a time. often a valuable avenue of thought is opened by that last. get the speaker to explain further. am I right in saying that the core of your idea is that…’ Continue with this paraphrasing until the speaker confirms your understanding. for instance you could say ‘If I understand this you are suggesting that…’ Do not evaluate or give an opinion on his thoughts. let try again. motivating participants along the way. and try again saying something like ‘Ok. Harriman (1988) describe two Synectics (qv) techniques to improve receptivity: Paraphrasing • • Once the speaker has offered his thoughts. similarly they are not indoctrinated by conventional wisdom about ‘what cant be done’. A developmental response centres attention on the parts of the idea to be preserved. then you can move swiftly on to the next stage. evaluation comes at a later stage. It is a process of transformation. The method recommends that you be more receptive to such ideas as they could contain the seed of a ‘prize’ idea. you are trying to establish a mutual starting point and understanding.Receptivity to Ideas This technique suggests that you turn around your traditional way of approaching ideas offered from other people that may initially seem ‘half baked’ ‘off the wall’ or naïve. but keeping as close as possible to the essence of their idea. correcting it will transform the original idea. Divide your response into positive elements (pros). and negative elements (cons) o Pros should be precise and genuine.

dismissing nobody in the process.resolve the problem and aims discussion to what needs to be accomplished. .

‘We haven’t changed our teaching methods for some time’ (stagnate). the horse is gone the horse is gone!’ for the stallion had run away. He was now in plaster and could do no work. his only helper on the farm. 1979) demonstrates this theory succinctly: A farmer who had just acquired a stallion came to the Zen master in distress. that we don’t have the time to fit into the timetable’. As both evaluations are true. soldiers came conscripting all the young men in the area. Try to restate each example so that your evaluation of it is reversed but still true for instance: o The unchanged teaching methods could be re-stated as: ‘We have a stable and well understood teaching practise’ o The new science hour could become: ‘We have created a science hour. What are the implications of taking the alternative evaluations seriously? Return to Step 3 again. saying: ‘Master. because his only son. saying: ‘The horse is back and has brought two mares with him!’ The master replied: ‘Who know is it is good or bad?’ Three days later the farmer was back crying. and his back had been broken. The master replied: ‘Who know if it is good or bad?’ The farmer returned to his work feeling sad and miserable. The farmer was overjoyed and went back to the master.g. Again the master replied: ‘Who know if it is good or bad?’ A few days later.g. ‘We have developed the new science hour’ (Innovate).Reframing Values This technique is about re-opening choices – for instance much of what we see. as ‘the way that things are’ is really just ‘the way that we choose to see them’. ad lib. But they left the son because he was in plaster… .g. ‘How to improve our school’) Brainstorm bipolar strategic concepts relevant to the concern e. Two days later the stallion turned up and brought with him two mares. you can choose which to focus on at any one time. stagnate/innovate) Identify firm examples of each pole from your area of concern – e. This method could be very useful in reframing SWOT evaluations.g. • • • • • • • Recognize a concern or issue that you want to work on (e. o Stagnate/innovate o Grow/decline o Compete/collaborate Select just one of these bipolar concepts that comes across to you as interesting or relevant (e. The following Zen story (adapted from Vaughan. had been thrown by one of the mares.

‘except’. It could also be used as a starting point technique in any form of ideageneration. some forms of Random Stimuli. 1970). the method is almost certainly better used selectively – e.g. ‘though’ etc. Whilst you could use the technique by working through every relational word on the list. So if you have ‘garage sale’ as an idea.Relational Words This technique takes any existing word(s) and strives to add in relational words (e. Listing. should one of these techniques generate the combination: ‘room’ and ‘kettle’ the relational words might suggest idea-stimulating variants such as : • • • Room-beside-kettle Kettle-in-room Room-kettle-within etc. ‘under’. or to encourage further development (devised by Crovitz. ‘garage sale where’ or ‘sale in garage’. Morphological Analysis.) to modify or expand the meaning of the original word(s). Below is a table of frequent English relational words: About Above Across After Against Along Amid Among And Around As At Because Before Behind Below Beneath Beside Between Beyond But By Down During Except For From If In Into Near Not Now Of Off On Opposite Or Out Over Past Round Since So Still Then Though Through Throughout To Toward Under Up Upon When Where While With Within Without The method was originally designed to supplement methods that generate word pairs.g. For example. ‘about. by having the words on a wall chart and taking a quick look at them whenever you need inspiration. and Paraphrasing Key words. . by taking any suitable idea and adding the relational word. see Attribute Listing. you can explore possible meanings of ideas such as ‘within the garage sale’.

very relaxed indeed. For instance. Script My feet are very relaxed. close your eyes. I feel warm and comfortable. so I am becoming more and more relaxed. it is therapeutic in its own right. when you say ‘relax the left foot’. As you do so. so relaxed. my left ankle is relaxed and as my left foot relaxes. many similar relaxation tapes are available commercially. all the muscles in my right arm are very limp and relaxed. Now my left calf muscle is becoming very relaxed. . The relaxed feeling is spreading throughout my body. I am becoming more and more calm. very comfortable. just like the remainder of my body. You should find a place where you feel secure and comfortable. I feel my whole body is deeply relaxed. The muscles in my right arm feel soft. just like the remainder of my body. Now my right calf muscle is becoming very relaxed. deeply relaxed and the whole of my right leg is extremely relaxed. It may be more beneficial for you to dictate the script described below onto a cassette since it is difficult to relax whilst reading the instructions. begin breathing leisurely and then repeat the following recommended script to yourself (the detailed wording is not critical – it is fine to do it roughly from memory).Relaxation Relaxation techniques are helpful in their own right as anxiety alleviators. my right ankle is relaxed and my right foot is relaxing. just as all the other muscles have relaxed and are going to carry on feeling soft. all the muscles in my left arm are feeling very limp and soft. Now the muscles of my left arm are relaxing. focus your attention on your left foot and so on up the body. my right foot is relaxed. my left foot is very relaxed. now the whole of my left leg is extremely relaxed. however they can also play a significant role in different visualisation methods. the relaxation is spreading up my left leg and into my left thigh. my pelvis is very relaxed and all the muscles of my stomach are very relaxed. now my left hand is also starting to relax. however. they are very. focus your attention on the part of the body being referred to. they feel floppy and relaxed. With practice you can learn to accomplish a relaxed state very quickly and so can dispense with the script. though the particular script described below is adapted from Schone (1984). they are becoming very limp and less tense. My feet are very relaxed. and now my right hand is also starting to relax. Hewitt (1982) describes an array of relaxation methods. My shoulder muscles are now relaxing. It is as though there is something radiant and warm inside me radiating warm glows that are spreading throughout my body. preferably lying down. and now my chest muscles are relaxing.

all the muscles of my face and head are so soft just like the rest of my body. ears and around my eyes are relaxing. . all the tension is disappearing from my neck and muscles are start to feel limp and floppy. The muscles of my brow and relaxing. Yes all the muscles in the back of the neck are becoming totally relaxed and now the muscles of my face. yes they are becoming very relaxed.The muscles of my neck are loose.

We can sometimes be constrained in our thinking for instance putting a lot of thought into ‘how to get rich’ but very little effort into ‘how not to become hard-up’. you need to recognise why it has been made worse and then re-reverse to identify ways in which the situation could be made better in these respects. Direct importing of solutions: The general method for any form of alteration is to ask yourself: ‘how would I solve the distorted (in this case reversed) situation. you ought to attempt generating options by investigating ways to eliminate them. There are various combinations of reversal several of which are listed in the table below (using the problem: ‘I require lots of capacity in my Reprographic Department to manage a few key peak loads. not the off-peak idle Reverse phase time Transpose responsibility It is not my problem – it is his Transpose stereotypes See ‘Bloggs the Bore’ as fascinating Change of sign (+/-) The service needs to be less cost-effective Reverse roles Exchange manager and operator? Instead of jobs flowing into Repro. Thus being forced to think about ‘what would make me hard-up?’ and then re-reversing that to say: ‘and so what would prevent me from becoming hard-up will give a very different perspective than directly addressing: ‘how to get rich? Recognising that you currently do these unhelpful things! If you feel that many of the ‘ways to make the situation worse’ are in fact present in the situation in progress. and could some adaptation of this solution be functional to the real situation?’ Because the sign of the problem . and allowing you to take an alternative view on the problem in hand.Reversals Reversals are a derivative of the idea-generating transformations in Osborn’s Checklist (qv). Z. but this means that for much of the time much or it is idle’): Type of Reversal Turn problem into opportunity Reverse values Reverse word order Invert problem Example Reprographic over-capacity would let us do X. … Could wasting resources be a good thing? I need peak loads to cope with my capacity The machines are being overused Worry about the peaks. Y. it flows into Reverse direction of flow them The 3 ways you can use reversals: • • • Double reversal: Initially the reversal identifies ways to make the situation worse rather than better. and like most of the other conversions in that list (see also Exaggeration) it offers a way of materializing background assumptions.

Get the group to charge certain people with checking that these rules are observed. Encourage humour and when they have finished. and to identify the most important.may have been transformed. . Ask them. say. in a lighted hearted way to list as many imaginative ways as they can think of to interfere with the meeting. but are refuse to give in to it in subtle ways. A unique account of his technique can be helpful in a group situation where people are required to come up with a decision. ask them to reverse all their methods of interference to create rules of good conduct for the meeting. this process may not work as well with reversal as with. exaggeration.

however. generated by a nameless person removes any embarrassment. Viewing problems and solutions from a different standpoint. whereby you take on another identity.Rolestorming An evolution of ‘brainstorming’.’ Brainstorm (or use other idea-generating techniques) in separate identity Change roles. • • • • • Use traditional brainstorming or other idea generating technique as a start point Invent an identity or use that of someone you know Assume that identity or refer to the fictitious person as ‘this person would suggest…. Unusual ‘off the wall’ ideas may seem radical/’silly’ if ‘you’ present them.. . Now try another identity obviously this can be done many times for many different characters.

Identify and verify the root causes Construct a cause & effect diagram. Implement the solution Communicate the plan and review the plan regularly amongst all concerned. Reflect and act on what you have learnt Assess the problem solving process to obtain lessons learnt. Develop a solution and action plan Generate potential solutions. tighten the definition to accurately describe the problem 2.7-Step Model This is a modified version of PDCA Plan 1. Check 6. review and identify the root cause.Continue the improvement process where needed. 3. 4. rank these and then generate the tasks to deliver the solution. . Describe the current process Create a flowchart of the current process and use performance measures to validate it. Review and Evaluate Use the performance measures identified in step 2 to review and evaluate the results of the change Act 7. Describe the problem Look for the changes required.Construct a details plan Do 5.

. modify attributes (e. R . colour) P .Rearrange . It is an extension of his earlier SCAMPER technique. reduce to core functionality R . use part of another element M .remove elements.g.Combine . change function. longer.Substitute .Reverse . people C .mix.change the order.SCAMMPERR SCAMMPERR (Michael Mikalko.Magnify -Make it enormous. materials. integrate A . overstated.Modify .components.Eliminate . interchange components. You can use these changes either as direct suggestions or as starting points for lateral thinking. added features M .increase or reduce in scale.Put to another use E . combine with other assemblies or services.turn inside out or upside down. The changes SCAMPER stands for are: S . change shape. higher. change the speed or other pattern.alter. simplify. Thinkpak) is a check list that helps you to think of changes you can make to an existing product to create a new one.Adapt .

.Modify . or computer chairs etc… By using SCAMPER in this instance we have been able to identify possible new products.increase or reduce in scale.alter.Substitute .Combine . combine with other assemblies or services. change shape. use high quality paper Modify – produce different shape. people C . but some ideas could be good starting points for discussion of new products.Reverse . simplify. materials. integrate A . use part of another element M . SCAMPER would give you: Substitute – use of high tech materials for specific markets – use high-speed components? Combine – integrate computer and printer. printer and scanner Adapt – put high quality ink in printer. will assist you in thinking of changes you can make to an existing product to create a new one via a checklist.SCAMPER The SCAMPER technique (created by Michael Mikalko). colour) P . these can either be used directly or as starting points for lateral thinking.remove elements.g.mix. colour ink etc… Reverse – make computer desks as well as computers and printers.Put to another use E . imagine that you are a producer of computers and printers. The changes SCAMPER stands for are: S . Example For instance. change function. size and design of printer and computer Put to another use – printers as photocopies or fax machines Eliminate – eliminate speakers. colour screens. reduce to core functionality R .Adapt . modify attributes (e. Many of the ideas may be unfeasible or may not suit the equipment used by the manufacturer.turn inside out or upside down. and you are looking for new products.Eliminate .components.

string.Sculptures This technique entails physical production of a 3dimensional theoretical ‘sculpture’ of a problem and promoting physical activity. etc. Sculpting materials (paper. wire. collaborative work and the playful attribution of new meanings to physical materials (originally described by Ole Faafeng of the Norwegian Management Institute). perhaps to create a change of mood or tempo If you want to use task strangeness as a creativity trigger If practical construction is a preferred expressive medium for these participants If a team-building element is needed – group construction work can be good for this. bits of wood. cardboard boxes.e. word lists. small items of furniture like waste-bins that may be to hand) . modelling clay. garden canes. sticky tape. felt-tipped pens. music or dance) can help bring unspoken imagery and understanding to the surface and supply a wealthy means of expression for discussion and idea generation. Of course individuals could construct their own sculptures. Joining materials (glue. staplers. Reaction to particular media varies widely from person to person. Brain Sketching. Advance Preparation Assemble a wide range of materials that could be included in the sculpture. Visual Brainstorming). Drawing. objects like tin cans. etc). A more elaborate and time-consuming exercise such as 3-dimensional construction might be worth including: • Site Layout Home Services Creativity Techniques A to F G to L M to R S to Z Puzzles Quotes Forum Contact Us Related Links Previous Technique: SCAMPER Next Technique: Search conference Related Techniques: • • • If it feels appropriate to introduce a different medium or mode of working. pencils. Story Writing.) for ideageneration are usually the most convenient (see Component Detailing. Essay Writing. such as: • • • Tools (scissors. etc). but in reality ‘paper and pen’ representations (drawing. The representation of a problem by the use of any new means (i. but Faafeng describes a group approach. paper-clips.

The facilitator clarifies the task and sets an overall time limit. including any work they may already have been attempted on the problem. magazines. A break would be appropriate when the time limit is up. natural objects such as leaves or branches. Once the flow of ideas slows down. A little time can now be spent by the group experimenting to see what can be done with the tools and materials they have so far. and can be as serious or as lighthearted as the group wish.• Encourage group members to bring along material they have gathered themselves A possible procedure 1. rather than being formally designed and planned. or used drink cartons. . It is probably best if the sculpture simply ‘emerges’ in a relaxed and crude way as the group collectively and individually work with the materials. Participants then return to the work area and spend a few moments considering their sculpture. The group then starts to assemble a sculpture that is felt to characterize some feature or property of the problem situation. or found objects like old keys. 3. Alternatively this exercise could be combined with a walking Excursion (qv) activity in which participants gather materials they find and that strike them as interesting – e. 6. 8.g. Familiarisation of the problem with open group discussions. writing down privately any solution ideas that the sculpture and the experience of building it suggest to them. 7. 5. leading to open discussion and brainstorming. those that they have come up with are shared with the rest of the group via a round robin. 4. There is no requirement for an explanation as to why they think it represents the problem situation. 2.

Responses are combined to provide a picture of ongoing changes in their environment over which they have little direct control. as distinct from the standard creative problem-solving process where you choose a particular future you want. Each search conference involves the following steps. Participants are requested to give their views of trends in society as a whole. 1979) is useful for both problem solving or planning. Constraints of restricted resources and existing structure and culture are then reviewed. This method ‘goes with the flow’ rather than trying to direct the way the flow happens. 4. their desired future. 3.Search Conference The search conference technique (Williams. The group formulate strategies for planned adaptation. Participants look at the development of their own organisation or community. 5. o The requirement for stakeholders to confront and synthesize conflicting views into a mutually satisfying design of and plan for the future 8. The group deliberate the steps necessary to initiate the agreed-upon changes. and make worthwhile judgements with respect to any aspirations. and how to get there by drawing on their experiences and values and assembling their knowledge of the system and its environment. o Focussing on desired futures rather than on current constraints. . which can be adapted locally where required: 1. Observe the distinction between this approach of visualising where your world is going and then considering how best to fit into. 7. 3 characteristics of this process appear to enhance creativity: o The encouragement of a new and broader perspective by looking initially at the environment rather than the system involved. 6. and then try to see how to achieve it. 2. Aimed towards the stakeholders of a system to help develop mutual perceptions of their existing circumstances.

bearing in mind that each stage id dependant on its neighbours.Brooks. (or combinations of them) which appear of significance. Study the order in its entirety and see if it can be altered or changed around in any way. plug.g. it at least draws attention to their existence. think about how it might be adapted. or a problem-solving method. an administrative procedure. a drill can be thought of as an interdependent sequence: hole. Checklist of generic modifications(any suitable checklist would do) Eliminat Substitut Rearrang Combin Increas Decreas Separat e e e e e e e x x x x x x x x x x x x x x Stages in a process Loaf of bread Take out a slice of bread Put the bread in the toaster Set the time you require Toast until the timer pops the toast out Table for applying a checklist to a set of sequentially constrained items • • • • • Create a 2-dimensional table as above and a checklist of generic modifications listed across the top (though any equivalent checklist. and in cases where the components are stages in an overall process. Whilst Brooks’ method does not give a great deal of help in its handling of sequential constraints. power) Checklists such as Osborn’s Checklist (qv). and many of the attribute based idea-generating methods. handle. Select any of these modifications. simply applies product modification checklists to items that consist of a sequentially connected element – for instance a production process. interdependence is particularly strong. It is also useful for physically connected sequences of components (e. Apply any appropriate idea-generating and evaluation methods to work out ways of achieving these changes and to identify the most promising. screw. However.D. are inclined to handle lists of components and attributes as if each item could be altered independently of the others. originally developed by J. would suffice) Review each stage in turn applying the checklist. such as Osborn’s Checklist.Sequential-Attributes Matrix The sequential-attributes matrix. . this is rarely true.

The human eye usually comes in pairs. delicate. or if the missing elements might add to your original problem object. start on a list of differences. Write down all the similarities you can think of between your problem object and the comparison object. This can be as simple as they are both white. This can be anything. . It is then a case of first looking at the similarities and determining if the functionality completely overlaps. and can include actions they perform or abstract characteristics they have. From the similarities the question comes as to the moving of the human eye vs the fixed nature of some IR sensor. These have obvious similarities (optical system. but things of an organic nature often work best. the IR sensor may not. Therefore if you think that the technique sounds weird and you feel strange doing it its working. These should refer to actual characteristics of one object or the other and is likely to result in a much longer list. The human eye has variable resolution across its field of vision. Then decide on another object. An Example Perhaps your problem object is an IR (Infra Red) sensor.Similarities and Differences Similarities and differences tries to free your thoughts from their usual tracks by deliberately introducing the unusual and strange. The human eye constantly maintains small movements which can be used to enhance apparent resolution (literally taking another look). but the IR sensor is usually singular? Conclusion Taking these finding together gives the innovator the opportunity to think outside their usual understanding and potentially find new ideas for further investigation. Once you have run out of similarities. but vibration may be seen as a fault in an IR sensor. and your comparison object is the human eye. rather than an action. Once you have a completed list you can group similar elements together. image forming. You can then move on to the differences and determining whether the way that a function or characteristic is exhibited by the two objects can be used to provide new ideas for your problem object.) which suggest that the two are closely related. From the differences other questions arise. The process Start by deciding on your problem as an object. etc.

but a will be more expensive. so the criteria are much closer to the creative process: v: ideas that are feasible as they stand. rather than objective evaluation (see Anonymous voting) Simple/Hard/Difficult (Moore. the other two categories reflect intuitive appeal. The v?W approach can be more realistic in that v is only used for cases where implementation is relatively obvious. ?: ideas that are not feasible as they stand. each idea should be marked: · Simple: Feasible with a minimum of time and money. but both the approaches have the disadvantage that they may lead to a rather superficial and potentially unreliable sorting of ideas and may ignore other criteria. they are very useful for quick initial screening. . v?W Note: the v here should really be a tick. I've put it as a v to make sure it diplays on all screens Comparable to the above method but aimed at cases where the creativity team will do their own evaluation. or in the future. but have potential with more thought or research. 1962) The creativity group are expected to work through their list of ideas and make judgements as to the priority rating they feel is appropriate. or under special circumstances. · Hard: Feasible. W: stands for ‘weirdos’ – ideas that are bizarre and totally unfeasible as they stand. but have the potential as De Bono intermediate impossibilities’ for further idea generation (see Using ‘Crazy’ ideas). · Difficult: Feasible but much more expensive. they are generally ideas you would be happy to show to the client.Simple Rating Methods The two simple rating method techniques described here are used for the initial sorting of large numbers of ideas.

where completion and implementation of one cycle of creativity leads straight into the next cycle of creative improvement (see the 8 stage cycle that simplex uses below) 1. Problem Finding Discovering the right problem to resolve is the most difficult part of the creative process. This gives you the depth of knowledge you need to: • • Use the best ideas your competitors have had Understand customers needs in more detail . which takes the DO IT method to the next level of sophistication. Do not worry about this until step 3! 2. The problem may be obvious or need to be flushed out using rigger question such as: • • • • • • • • What would your customers want you to improve? What could they be doing better if we could help them? Who else could we help using our core competences? What small problems do we have which could grow into bigger ones? What slows our work or makes it more difficult? What do we often fail to achieve? How can we improve quality? What are our competitors doing that we could do? What is frustrating and irritating? These questions deal with problems that exist now. Simplex views it as the uninterrupted cycle it should be.Simplex This technique is an industrial-strength creativity tool. Fact Finding The next phase is to locate as much information relating to the problem as possible. Rather than seeing creativity as a single straight-line process. At this stage you may not have enough information to formulate your problem precisely.

you may end up fixing symptoms of a problem. components. then you will never have enough resources to answer them effectively.• • • Know what has already been tried Fully understand any processes. It is important not to let your ego get in the way of your common sense. it is time to decide on the best one. 3. Remember bad ideas often trigger good ones. services or technologies that you may need to use Ensure that the benefits of solving the problem will be worth the effort you will put into it This phase also involves assessing the quality of the information that you have. Selection & Evaluation Once you have come up with a variety of possible solutions to your problem. then it is important to think through the criteria you will use to select the best idea. if your problem is one of plants overgrowing. You should now develop the exact problem or problems you want to resolve. You can waste years of your life developing creative ideas that no one wants. When you have chosen an idea develop it as far as possible. Paired Comparison Analysis and Grid Analysis. Min Basadur (who created the Simplex Process) suggests using the question 'Why?' to broaden a question. ask 'Why do I want to kill them off?' This may broaden the question to 'How can I maintain the quality of our environment? 4. It is essential to solve a problem at the precise level. For example. If you ask questions that are too broad. rather than the problem itself. If your idea does not give big enough benefit. Idea Finding This phase requires you to generate as many ideas as possible. The top solution may be obvious. There are several good methods for this. Then it is essential to evaluate it to see if it is good enough to be worth using. . If you ask questions that are too narrow. or restart the whole process. through programmed creativity tools and lateral thinking techniques to Brainstorming. 5. Here it is worth listing your assumptions and checking that they are correct. and 'What's stopping you?' to narrow it. Problem definition You should now have a rough idea of what the problem is and should have a good understanding of the facts relating to it. particularly useful techniques may be Decision Trees. then either see if you can generate more ideas. if it is not. this can be done using any range of techniques from asking other people for their opinions.

Now you will have to sell the idea to the people who have to maintain it. 8. Planning Now you have selected an idea. This might be your boss. For large projects it may be worth using more formal planning techniques. 7. The best way of doing this is to set this out as an Action Plan. Sell Idea Up to this stage you may have done all this work on your own or with a small team. comes action! This is where all the careful work and planning pays off. Action Finally. Why and How of making it work. . this is the time to plan its implementation. to continue improving your idea. a bank manager or other people involved with the project. What. which lays out the Who. When. return to stage 1. after all the creativity and preparation. Where.6. and are confident that your idea is worthwhile. but also things such internal politics. Now the action is securely under way. hidden fear of change. Problem finding. etc. In selling the project you will have to deal with not only the practicality of the project.

. The hats must never be used to categorize individuals. The key point is that a hat is a direction to think rather than a label for thinking. The method promotes fuller input from more people. de Bono organized a network of authorized trainers to introduce the Six Thinking Hats.Six Thinking Hats Early in the 1980s Dr. information needs and gaps. everybody wear the same hat at the same time. That is. and look at the data base. The six hats represent six modes of thinking and are directions to think rather than labels for thinking. "Putting on my red hat. de Bono. When done in group. figures. de Bono invented the Six Thinking Hats method. APTT organizes the trainers and supplies the only training materials written and authorized by Dr. The six hats system encourages performance rather than ego defense. "I think we need some white hat thinking at this point. I think this is a terrible proposal. Advanced Practical Thinking (APTT). feelings and emotions." Red Hat thinking This covers intuition.." Ususally feelings and intuition can only be introduced into a discussion if they are supported . The method is a framework for thinking and can incorporate lateral thinking. Valuable judgmental thinking has its place in the system but is not allowed to dominate as in normal thinking." means Let's drop the arguments and proposals. Dr. licenses the training in all parts of the world except Canada (and now. Europe). even though their behavior may seem to invite this. of Des Moines. Iowa USA. the hats are used proactively rather than reactively. In de Bono's words it "separates ego from performance". The red hat allows the thinker to put forward an intuition without any ned to justify it. People can contribute under any hat even though they initially support the opposite view. Everyone is able to contribute to the exploration without denting egos as they are just using the yellow hat or whatever hat. This putting on and taking off is essential. White Hat thinking This covers facts. The key theoretical reasons to use the Six Thinking Hats are to: • • • encourage Parallel Thinking encourage full-spectrum thinking separate ego from performance There are six metaphorical hats and the thinker can put on or take off one of these hats to indicate the type of thinking being used.

Blue Hat thinking This is the overview or process control hat. the system in use. provocations and changes. or the policy that is being followed. Green Hat thinking This is the hat of logic. the blue hat is concerned with meta-cognition. proposals. but can also be used to find something of value in what has already happened. The black hat must always be logical. It can be used in looking forward to the results of some proposed action.The red hat gives full permission to a thinker to put forward his or her feelings on the subject at the moment. The rior or negative hat. It looks not at the subject itself but at the 'thinking' about the subject. It is a most valuable hat. I feel we should do some more green hat thinking at this point." In technical terms. what is interesting. It is not in any sense an inferior or negative hat. the available experience. Usually the feeling is genuine but the logic is spurious. alternatives. . Why something will work and why it will offer benefits. Yellow Hat thinking This is the logical positive. The black hat is used to point out why a suggestion does not fit the facts. "Putting on my blue hat. Black Hat thinking This is the hat of judgment and caution.

4. Take each attribute at a time and try thinking of ways to change or improve it. Stive to make your thinking more fluent & flexible . The process is 1.Slice and Dice Slice and Dice is an attribute listing technique by Michael Michalko and is defined in detail in his book Thinkertoys. State the problem 2. Analyse the problem and list as many attributes as you can 3.

The slips of paper are viewed and then grouped ‘like with like’.Snowball Technique Involves concentrating groups of ideas pertaining to the same problem and assigning them a theme.e. • • • • One slip of paper (or ‘post-its’) is used per idea generated or possible solution offered A meeting is set up of up to 5 people. Duplicates can be created if the idea/solution is relevant to more than one group Patterns and relationships in the groups are observed . i.

To identify stakeholders the following checklist may prove useful: • • • • • • • • Who Who Who Who Who Who Who Who are the sources of reaction or discontent to what is going on? have relevant positional responsibility? do others regard as ‘important’ actors’? participate in activities? shape or influence opinions about the issues involved? fall in demographic groups affected by the problem? have clear roles in the situation (e.Stakeholder Analysis Stakeholder analysis (Mason and Mitroff. and if so are there any of his or her assumptions that could have a considerable effect on your project? How could this stakeholder be influenced to change their point or course of action. . Impact Likely My Chairman of the Impact. or plot the scale of the stakeholders influence (high or low) against whether they would support or oppose your project. using Assumption surfacing (qv).g. stakeholders can be plotted and categorised both by the chance of their affecting the situation. check that you have really included everyone.Would be high Key Chief accountant customer Impact. adviser)? are in areas adjacent to the situation? Using a matrix like the one below. if it manager Board occurred. carefully assess the list. if it Reprographics My occurred. especially in relation to the stakeholder for whom they have been derived.g. friend. Ask yourself does this actor have any special power in the situation. 1981) looks at how groups of people might affect the outcomes of a proposal by the way they react.Would be low Department secretary Impact Unlikely Listing any assumptions that stakeholders are making could prove helpful e. customer. Should any quadrant in the matrix appear empty. and by the scale of impact they would have if they did.

A short-list of the top 5 is made This is not a deeply analytic method.Sticking Dots A popular. all the groups enter into a discussion on any patterns. Give each group a different coloured set of dots. Allow the group time to deliberate over the ideas they wish to vote for. Once all the groups are ready. quick method which involves voting. Once all the dots are placed. but a short. and general observations. one person from the group sticks their dots by their preferred top 5 ideas. i. group A have red dots. sharp measure of the current thinking of the task in hand .e. Nameless voting tends to work best. • • • • • • • Ideas are itemised clearly on a flip chart (or similar aid).

Stimulus Analysis A method whereby digressing from the original problem to stimulate alternative ideas may generate an accidental solution. Finally analyse the final (lengthy) list of ideas in any applicable way . Select one of the ideas and discuss in detail all its characteristics. Look at each on of these characteristics and go into finer detail trying to generate yet more ideas. • • • • • • Identify the problem and enter into a discussion Produce a list (10 or more) of arbitrary ideas totally unrelated to the problem. Continue through all 10 original ideas till you have exhausted all further ideas.

Examining how you instinctively react in a given situation could be a path to understanding feelings and thoughts you find difficult to put into words. Thus, giving you insight into your own deeper motives, and acting as warning signs of personal anxieties and frailties that may affect how well you can respond. This are could be accessed by creating or finding a story or parable that is clearly fictional, but nevertheless has some parallels to a real situation you are facing. Ideally you would tell it yourself (or you could draw your own picture of – see Drawing – whichever you feel most comfortable with). There are no requirements for technical skill (stick figure drawings or amateur narration are ample), or for anyone else to see it or read it if you don’t want them to, though it is usually more productive if you can get someone else’s understanding reactions. As the story is clearly not an objective description of your actual situation, you are at liberty to be entirely subjective – you can make things happen as you wish them to, you can present things in particular ways just because they ‘feel right’ that way, you can note what has to happen to you to feel comfortable and how you react to things that make you uncomfortable and so. You are definitely not saying that ‘this is what will happen’, but you are, tentatively, holding it up as a mirror to yourself, and noting the sorts of beliefs; expectations, feelings, judgements, anxieties, reactions, etc. that you may well find yourself bringing to such a situation. Putting it into words in this way makes it easier to describe your concern to others, and may increase the range of metaphors and images you can use naturally in talking to others. Should some areas of the story summon strong feelings, this may suggest a need for finding positive ways to handle similar feelings in the real situation, for instance, getting a colleague to help you out in situations you may not handle too well. Similarly, if you find yourself being judgemental about someone in your story, you may need to develop some way to help yourself see such people more compassionately. In time you may become aware of cultural assumptions and expectations – what ‘ought’ or ‘ought not’ to happen by your (but perhaps not other people’s) conventions. If you are working with someone else (who preferably had done the same as you, so that you are each supporting the other) show them your picture or story, tell them about it, let them ask questions, and say what they find striking. Work jointly to unpack the fundamental beliefs, expectations, feelings, judgements, anxieties, reactions, etc. and to see what needs to be done.

To use it on your own, pin it up on a wall where you can see it, and over a period of days, not down any features of the story or drawing that strike you as interesting.

Strategic Assumption Testing
Strategic Assumption Testing examines other people’s opinions and assumptions to ensure they are consistent.

1. Stakeholder Identification, list those involved as stakeholders. If in 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
• •

groups, each group should make their own list privately and then collate. Identify Factions, if necessary group stakeholders into factions, ‘points of view’ or ‘interests’. Group Formation, establish one or more working groups from the ‘sub-groups’ (steps 4 – 7). Assumption Surfacing, in each sub-group, discuss each stakeholders reasons (assumptions) and prioritise them. Assumption Testing, members of the sub-groups debate if these assumptions were reversed and it made no difference should we ignore it. Assumption Ranking, member of the sub-group rank their assumptions: Effect if the assumption occurred Possibility of it occurring

Results are exhibited as a 2 x 2 matrix of High/Low potential versus Likely/Unlikely occurrence.

7. Action Planning, members of the sub groups analyse the 2 x 2
matrix and its possible consequences. 8. Inter-Group Debate, each sub group puts forward their 2 x 2 matrix and plan, this generates an open debate. Issues are identified and fundamental assumptions are challenged. Ultimately a common ground is sought.

Strategic Choice Approach
A repetitive technique used for complex problems and their sub-problems, consisting of 4 basic principles
• • • •

Shaping, involves identifying the problem areas Designing, recognising what can be done, looking at possibilities and drawbacks. Comparing, various ideas, evaluating the best possible way forward Choosing, the best ideas for solving the problems. Compiling a plan of action, acknowledging any uncertainties.

trends Selection. a selection of strategies is examined through Stakeholder Analysis and Resource Analysis. define as many positive solutions to meet the SWOT analysis and future vision. Situational Assessment. a serious of evaluation programmes are devised. run in-house usually by a Strategic Management Group. feasibility. blame free SWOT analysis of the present situation 3. identify issues from points 1 and 2 above and acknowledge the relationships that exist between points 4-7 4. determine priorities for action Within these 3 basic steps. acceptability and effectiveness. Strategic Options. examination of previous trends and the emergence of a future vision for the way ahead 2. Historical context. Strategic Issue Agenda. Within each stage above. 4 alternative criteria are used to assist using the best technique • • • • Quality Acceptance Innovation Preservation . 5. Feasibility Assessment.Strategic Management Process This is a six-stage process. A useful method for public and voluntary organizations 1. 3 basic steps are followed • • • Search. 6. Implementation. to evaluate the stakeholders’ predictions. It is supported by various consultants and accessible to external stakeholders. Define strategies. observation of patterns. for ideas and information Synthesis. and outline costs.

and the merged map is worked on until everyone finds it acceptable. 5. At this point it is important to decide who the participants will be and what the outputs will be in order to manage expectations. They are often located at where causal arrows tend to come in from the wider environment. Client interviews: Here the key people involved with the issue are interviewed. or using several computers and appropriate software.these are generally the factors that feed in more or less directly to the goals. 3. In summary it is a methodology for helping someone understand the various viewpoints of a problem area. map can be used to determine the. Check-back interviews: To check with the interviewees that the causal maps have correctly interpreted their views.these are typically the activities that feed into the medium level strategies. agreed. If not. Presentation: Both the individual and combined maps are presented to the participants. Whilst the detail of any projects is tailored to the specific problem. in a relaxed format. Planning meetings: Where the project is set up and an initial view of the problem / situation is achieved. allocation and implementation: Now that the goals. . 4. Development of causal maps: Causal mapping is used to get depict the interviewee’s perception of the situation. Action selection. o High level goals – these are usually where the causal arrowheads that emerge from the map but don’t go any further. for an hour or so to obtain their individual views of the problem area / situation. This allows the whole group to understand all the viewpoints and to have ownership of the final map. 1. 6. these need to be allocated to people for implementation 2. they are modified until they are a true representation. This is best done on a computer with projector. o Medium level strategies . the general steps are. strategies and tactics: The completed. 7. o Low level tactics and operational targets . Merging the maps: The individual maps are combined to form a single map. 8. strategies and targets have been determined.Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA) The SODA (Strategic Options Development and Analysis) was developed in the late 80's. Interpret the map in terms of goals.

this is a good method for generating ideas In the latter stages of idea generating. allowing every idea a value (see also Receptivity to Ideas) • • • • • A group of approximately 6 individually jot down their own list of ideas for solving a specific problem Two members of each group read out one of their ideas. This stage is repeated until all ideas are exhausted and detailed on the overall list. Overall. which is integrated by the other members of the group with the previous ideas to create a fourth idea. the ‘best of ideas’ can be integrated with each other to create a list of exceptional ideas The advantages of this method are • • • The skill of building upon other peoples ideas Encourages constructive convergence Ensures all ideas are carefully considered . the remaining members try to integrate the two offered ideas into a third idea (this is added to the overall list) A third member of the group offers an idea.Successive Element Integration Successive element integration generates solutions by gradually developing all ideas into lists of ideas – a form of constructive evaluation.

The cluster should meet the following 3 criteria • • • Representativeness. or client-organisation personnel’ etc.Super Group This method is primarily used for ‘new-product’ development. score well on creativity tests (or similar) or be reputed for imaginative thinking. The ‘newproduct’ status often justifies an increased level of expenditure. . the individuals should be representative of their particular market area i. their background training and skills that characterise this distinctive approach and not the actual procedure used.e. Clusters of consumers from a specific market area meet to determine the needs and inclination of their market area.e. each individual should have some background in creative problem solving This ‘super-group’ then generates ideas based on the CPS method. as a focal group. ‘general domestic consumers’. all individuals selected should be demonstrably creative – i. Demonstrable Creativity. Training in a Suitable Method. It is the chosen individuals in the group.

7. Spiderman.) and use their ‘super’ characteristics to trigger ideas. this means that (a) people tend to think outside of the norm and (b) having a role allows people to express more unusual ideas that they might not normally express. evaluate them as usual. 6. This could include name. When you have sufficient ideas. This technique is good for creating an atmosphere of light-hearted fun in which energy is high and fantasy and metaphor are acceptable.Super heroes Super heroes is really a fantasy-based version of Rolestorming is similar to other boundary-stretching techniques such as exaggeration and reversal and is a form of excursion. etc. Participants pretend to be a fictional (or real) super-hero (Superman. from any viewpoint (see Observer and Merged Viewpoints). Sherlock Holmes. or low trust conditions. Perhaps if superman and wonder woman worked together they could produce an improved solution. . More extravert groups will get into the role (I will heat the chemicals instantly with my laser eyes whilst freezing the container with by breath…). It can be useful to use brainstorming or brainwriting to list the more obvious ideas. Batman. Allow other super heroes to trigger off the others ideas. where Rolestorming would be more suitable. special powers. Prepare in advance a set of general information on each superhero. 4. James Bond. Get them to think a little about that superhero and talk to them about what life is like as a superhero in order to help them get into the role. You can also provide props if you have an extravert group. or from your information pack). and can therefore help people to express wishes It may be less suitable for very ‘serious’ or introverted groups. 1. 5. background. the Incredible Hulk. Wonder Woman. weaknesses. 3. 2. pen picture. The super hero characters are then used as the basis of an excursion. Super-hero stories also have strong elements of wish-fulfilment. Display and discuss the problem to ensure everyone understands the issue. All ‘superheroes’ have skills and capacities that are outside ‘normal’ behaviour. Start by getting each super hero to voice a few ideas. Selects a superhero for each participant (they can choose one themselves. picture etc. More introvert groups will tend to be happier talking in the third person (Superman could heat the chemicals with his laser eyes…).

what obstacles to you face? How are your competitors fairing? Could changes in technology threaten your position? Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems . Consider this from your point of view and that of others.  Local event Threats. Weaknesses.(Strengths. Opportunities. Opportunities. add to this a list of your characteristics. what do you do well? What are your advantages?.SWOT Analysis . What is done badly? What could be improved? What should be avoided? Consider this question from and internal and external perspective – is it possible others see weaknesses you do not? Are your competitors doing better? Be realistic. What are the interesting trends? Where are the opportunities available to you? o Useful opportunities can arise from  New technology. lifestyle changes etc. Be realistic but not modest.. Weaknesses. hopefully some of these will be strengths. changes in the market place  Alterations in government policies related to your field  Changes in social patterns. population profiles. looking any unpleasant truths face on. The SWOT analysis requires you to write down answers to the following questions: • • • • Strengths. Threats) A successful technique for identifying your Strengths and Weaknesses and study any Opportunities and Threats you face.

Synectics Synectics is based on a simple concept for problem solving and creative thinking .Whilst this may be stating the obvious the methods used to perform these two tasks are extremely powerful. and you need to evaluate ideas. but if you really want to find out about these methods I suggest you arrange for one of our Creativity and Innovation need to generate ideas. . An overview of synectics is provided here.

5. 3. It is then expressed in one or more ‘big wish’ statements of the form: ‘I wish (IW). The assumption is that within any springboard will be creative possibilities that can usefully be explored. A wide range of springboard triggering techniques have been developed. 4. This checks that there are genuine problem owners.g. the process can always be repeated. The springboards use the same formats as the ‘big wish’ (IW. the essential paradox/book title technique. 7. Ideas to help achieve the selected springboard are generated using the trigger techniques mentioned in Step 2 (or any other idea-generation methods). 2. within their authority.’.) Select an interesting springboard. The mood now switches to a more focused approach than in Steps 1-2. An idea is selected for the Itemised Response.. helps to ensure realistic expectations about results. the background. what has been tried.. various uses of analogies. 6. wanting new options that they themselves can implement. so the choice is not critical. rather than analytically. and allows you to agree team membership. Problem owner and group members choose their favourite springboards (more on the basis of interest or appeal than on the basis of logical relevance). The mood here should be expansive and unconstrained. but articulate further wishes to open up space for invention: ‘It would be nice if we could do X but we don’t yet know how to. They are not ideas for solutions.. a single concern / problem / issue is expressed as a problem for solution (e. how it is experienced. etc. However. and the possible scope of action.. and others (free association. drawing techniques. various types of excursions. Recycle or end. They share their choices. imaging. NB that this is not a ‘problem definition’ but a wish reflecting the way the issue is experienced. Every conceivable positive features of the selected idea is listed. Itemised response. until sufficient ideas for this spring board have been explored. Group generates large numbers of ‘springboards’. gives a feel for the number and quality of solutions needed. but final choice rests with the problemowner. Check understanding of these by paraphrasing them and checking with their authors until the paraphrase is correct. helps you to understand the problem-owners' perceptions of the problem area. hold a preliminary planning meeting with the problem owner(s).’. Procedure during the session 1.’. The group listen imaginatively. Then back to 3... Then (and only then). e. Solutions for these are expressed by all in terms of ‘What you do is (WYDI). ‘How to .). for another .’). The problem-owner selects some that seem interesting.. Back to 4.Preliminary planning In advance. etc.’ or ‘How to (H2) . Problem owner provides headline and wish: They describes the issue. H2.g..


5. Initial Introductions. They are requested to ‘identify their main issue in their daily work’. each participant selects their ‘No. 4. Each participant now ranks their five problems. all staff are encouraged to sit at tables of four. Each participant clips their pink ‘problem’ slips and green ‘solution’ slips together in a cluster and the workshop closes Subsequent Analysis. Coffee/lunch taken and during the break. Each cluster is collected. 7. Ranking the Five Problems.e. . Each individual must now complete the ‘how to’ sentence with what they feel the company does that prohibits the workshop sorting out their highlighted problem. Involving staff at the planning stage. The Meeting 1. If the workshop was 2. write this on the coloured paper. another set of differently coloured paper is handed out (say red) with “how to” written across the top. allowing them to put forward their ideas and preferred conditions etc… makes the implementation of ‘change’ somewhat smoother. Each table has a short ‘buzz’ session discussing their solutions.Systematized Direct Induction (SDI) Systematized direct induction is a useful method for tackling ‘people issues’. i. 3. after the break….. marking the most important pink slip ‘1’ and the least important ‘5’. They need to ensure that the Stakeholders are suitably presented at the meeting. 9.1’ pink slip problem. 8. 6. completing the ‘how to’ sentence four more times. A Planning meeting held by an elected staff member and a small group of the organizational staff will outline the problem/issue. Workshops involving from 4 up to 100 individuals are organised using members of same or different departments (see also Metaplan Information Market). collated and analysed to generate a management report. and writes a solution for it on a green slip. ‘can we improve our sales performance. to encourage inter-departmental mixing and supervisor/supervisee combinations. The problem to be addressed is described and displayed and participants are reassured that all suggestions will remain anonymous Practice exercise. Each participant completes another four red slips. Workshop Ends. yet more slips are placed on each table of a different colour (say green) Cycle of Generating and Discussing Solutions. Break. if so how’ and decide if which staff (if any) need attend. which are then collected Identifying and discussing the Key problems. This method addresses issues that members of staff may have with ‘change’. Each table has a 5 – 10 minute ‘buzz’ session discussing their thoughts Identifying up to Four more Problems. This process is repeated for all 5 pink slips creating 5 matching green slips. a specific coloured slip of paper (say yellow) is issued to all participants.

.large a small team may be required to do this. Incorporating company staff as well as external consultants will likely affect the final relevance and acceptability of any ‘changes’ that are implemented as a result.

. 1970) involves keeping a ‘monitoring log’ to record: • • • • Date Event and Technical Economic Date Possible Significance Things to Consider The ‘eureka moment’ is often subject to the convergence of advances in several technologies over several years. The concept (Bright. hence the need for continuous monitoring.Technology Monitoring Technology monitoring requires methodical monitoring of technological progress in areas that pertain to you. The quality of any results are only as good as the time and effort disposed.

A variety of alternative ideas. .Think Tank ‘Think-Tanks’ are essentially a body of experts and academics collaborating to a common goal. guidelines and supplementary information is suggested by the think-tank to aid accomplishing a possible solution to a problem.

but precise (fewer than 6 words) o linked to customer demands (if developing a new product / service) Examples could be "Feels like home" and "designed for the target market" Step 3: Construct an association matrix. which is a function or attribute that the final solution must have. • • • TILMAG is much more of a targeted process than many other creativity tools and it tries to use the ideal solution as a starting point. created by Helmut Schlicksupp. More detailed explanation Step 1: State the problem clearly • • • use Backwards Forwards Planning or similar technique to clearly identify the problem use Brainstorming or Brainwriting to identify the most obvious ideas for solutions. Create no more than 6 ISE's.. Connecting 2 or more of the Ideal Solution Elements. which are then used to construct a matrix. write the ISE's on each axis • • • The matrix size will depend on the number of ISE's List all ISE's sequentially.TILMAG TILMAG "Transformation idealer Lösungselemente mit Assoziationen und Gemeinsamkeiten". provides associations that are then transferred back to the problem to provide possible solutions. An example could be "to provide the ideal hotel" Step 2: Identify / define Ideal Solution Elements (ISE's). Overview The process starts with the problem definition. Cross out all cells for each ISE paired against itself or duplicate pair Option a ISE 1 ISE 2 ISE 3 ISE 4 ISE 5 ISE 1 X . The team identifies the ISE. these should be o Described in a positive manner o free of jargon o specific to the problem o brief. roughly translates from the German as "transformation of ideal solution elements with a common associations matrix". on both axes. Once the problem is defined. then you identify and define the ideal solution elements (ISE).

Continue the process until all the cells not crossed out have been addressed by the team. Taking the examples from above "feels like home" and "designed for the target market" could lead to "Ann Summers Parties". • • Using each association and its underlying principles link this back to the problem. "the british pub" Step 5: Use the underlying principle of each association and bring it back to the original problem.ISE ISE ISE ISE option b 2 3 4 5 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X ISE 1 ISE ISE ISE ISE 5 4 3 2 ISE 2 ISE 3 ISE 4 X X X X X X Step 4: Brainstorm and record associations for each paired ISE • • • • For each cell not crossed out identify 2 or 3 associations between the paired combinations of any 2 ISE's. If an entire row or column is blank it usually means that the ISE is not an applicable ISE for the problem. Define the underlying principles of each association Step 6: Bring together the best ideas from the original brainstorm (Step 1) and the TILMAG associations and principles (Steps 4&5) .

A sequence of stages between ‘sponsor’ and ‘planner’ is followed: • • • • Formulation sponsor formulates requirements and planner interprets the problems Conceptualisation sponsor suggests ideas and the planner endeavours to construct a model Detailing planner employs model and formulates initial plan. Evaluation planner and sponsor discuss costs and benefits. reaching agreement on both perspectives . Sponsor analyses the plan.Transactional Planning Transactional planning is a structural means of solving a clients’ (‘sponsors’) preblem through a consultant (‘planner’).

6.2.3. the order goes Sessions Trigger Sessions are a good way of getting lots of ideas down from untrained resources. followed in turn by other members The last member reads out his original list and his “Hitch-hiked” list and procedure is repeated counter current (ie. .5.3. • • • • • The Problem owner defines the problem Each member of group writes down his ideas in shorthand (2 minutes only) One member reads out his list .2.2..3.others silently cross out ideas read out and write down “Hitch-hiked ”ideas The second member reads out his list of ideas not already covered. Everones paper is then collected and can be typed up into a single list of ideas .1.4.4.all duplicates should have been crossed out during the session.5.. if there are 6 folk.) A good group will be able to manage severn passes.

Trigger Method The trigger method is analysis based on repetition. One idea triggers another and another and so on until as many thoughts as possible are generated. • • • • Problem is defined. Debating and discussing boosts teambuilding . debated and ideas noted A selection of these ideas are collected then 5 – 10 are randomly chosen The 5 – 10 are displayed and used as ‘triggers’ to generate more ideas.

If you are interested.TRIZ TRIZ is the creation of a Russian called Genrich Altshuller. it is possible to find several books on many cases the same basic approach is used time and time again. and a number of sites on the Internet specialise on developments in the TRIZ field. . Often it can be shown that the solution to a problem was obvious. but a full understanding of TRIZ requires much more study and information than can be presented. It is also possible to classify problems and solutions into groups. It is an attempt to improve on a random approach to innovation and invention by structuring the creativity in paths which have been shown to yield results. if the techniques of other domains was known . and to simply examine a predefined list of possible solutions to that particular type of problem. including: • • • • • • • Innovation Situation Questionnaire Problem Formulation Contradiction The Ideal Design System Modeling Substance-Field Analysis Patterns of Evolution Some of these have been touched on here. The TRIZ approach encompasses a number of different tools and techniques for specific domains.

original possibly ingenious concepts.Using 'Crazy' Ideas When ideas cease to flow. the use of ‘crazy’ ideas can inspire far sighted. possible methods: • • Free Association Bunches of Bananas .

Expert Surveys. Meetings are video recorded. • • Expert to expert sessions involve collaboration of experts with questions meeting experts with answers. (related to Delphi) involves questions in the format of a survey distributed to approximately 20 precisely selected experts.Using Experts More advantageous in the final stages of a project. likely market. technical feasibility and rival technical developments is required. Using experts employs two alternative methods (below). . when concise information on costs.

on what is actually done. if any. • • • • Public values brainstorm short-list ‘what are my/our primary concerns’ Hidden values brainstorm short-list ‘what hidden values lie behind this primary concern’ or ‘what does this matter’ Rank and Clarify Rank short-list hidden values and define what each means Consider Implications now contemplate what can be done to action the ranked results .Value Branstorming Perceives single or group values observing their effect.

a glass to hold a fluid. if it cannot hold a fluid is it unusable Identify its Secondary Function e. This ‘bit by bit’ methodology helps to break down the ‘bigger picture’ (overall problem) enabling a better understanding. The technique can be used in situations where an expensive commodity exists but is thought to possibly be of little value.Value Engineering Value engineering endeavours to maximize the usefulness of a product via the most cost effective means: • • • • • Identify its Basic Function e. but make the product look more desirable Cost-Effectiveness calculate how much it costs to implement each function. non essential.g. colour. design on glass. .g. strength or colour of glass are not essential to hold the fluid. i.e. Ideas to Improve each Function Systematically go through each function and try to generate more effective and cheaper ways to achieve them. the fluid could be in a bag Identify its Supporting Functions i.e.

preventing any critical thought processes to intervene. Present your idea-sketches. set a high target: e. 5. visual brainstorming using graphic ideation may be a useful alternative Idea Generation Phase.g. Quick. If in groups you could begin with private sketches which you then pool. With a collection of sketched ideas. 1.Visual Brainstorming When traditional thinking has become stale or dried up. . so looking at them from another perspective 3. using different coloured pens to denote initial ideas. Log all the ideas that come to mind throughout the session. impulsive ideas put into sketch can help to avoid undeveloped ‘lost’ thoughts/ideas. Rapid response to an idea with an immediate sketch creates momentum. trying to observe them with as much imagination as possible 2. these varying tactics may inspire yet another idea 4. Evaluation Phase. make comparisons. they can now be evaluated. place complex ones with simplistic ones. perhaps a round robin. cover top of bottom half. more ideas could be generated at this stage. Think of yourself as a critic. Clustering all the sketches together. to generate 20-30 basic idea-sketches on a specific problem in 1hr. continuing ideas and then final more paramount ideas. Rotate the sketches. Comparison. place images on images.

make clear admission. Once goal has been attained. thinking of it in the present tense as already in existence. making it part of your daily routine and a natural thought rather than one that uses up unreasonable levels of effort. . or indeed the goal alters in your mind. reason etc. Concentrate on it regularly. Pursue the goal. relationships. pat yourself on the back and move onto the next goal. target. others energetically and enthusiastically endorse commitment to the goal. Think strong positive definitions of achieving the goal. happier state of mind etc. home. Dispelling any doubts. and encouraging thought. until it is achieved or you no longer wish to continue its pursuit. of the situation exactly as you would like it. This can be related to job.Visualising a Goal Once you have acknowledged a goal. • • • • • • Set your goal by settling on the aim. Generate a concise idea or picture. Make it a positive. Incorporate as much detail as your imagination allows.

but just listen attentively. Working with a Partner. The questioner asks the set question (‘Who are you?’. imagine looking in the mirror when you are very old. In the first round person A asks the question while person B comes up with the answers. stay with it and try to pursue more deeply thought out answers. Problems that frequently give a vague sense of disquiet. What do you see? How you feel about yourself? Who are you? Take a retrospective look over your whole life – what really mattered? What would you have like to have done differently? Are you ready to die? . you can continue for as many rounds as you feel beneficial. infant born into a particular environment Imagine being 5. after a few minutes. how did it feel to be 5? Can you picture images and memories from that time Imagine being 12. In round 2 the roles are reversed. if prompting is required. the above method actually works better with a partner. The techniques below help to explore these deeper levels angled more towards the personal perspective (‘what do you or your team want to do or be?’) rather than the external perspective (‘what business area might offer the most prospects for success?’) Exploring the question directly Working Solo.. imagine you are now 5. The questioner should not comment. 40. quiet environment then: • • • • Imagine your infancy. straightforward answers. very old. dependant. several rounds of question and answers sessions take place. 25. followed by as many answers as you can generate. Sitting opposite each other for an agreed amount of time (say 5 – 10 minutes). project your imagination to what you were like when you were 12. Continue making notes on your thought and try to push the boundaries of your normal thinking. Write ‘who am I?’ (or ‘who are we?’ if it is for a team) at the top of a sheet of paper. you have no clear thoughts of what the ‘right’ direction might be. smile. a sense of things not going in quite the direction you had planned however. in your imagination think back to when you were a small.Who Are You? This method explores problems at a ‘deeper’ almost subconscious level. nod. He suggests using your imagination to look back at decisions from your deathbed as a basis for trying to make a current decision. Imagine being very. After the first few quick. helpless. if necessary it may be repeated. did you worry? What was important to you? What was your world like? Using the same method of thinking ask yourself the same questions for age 25 and 40 and 65. frown etc. not evaluating. 65. ‘What is the team?’). Begin by relaxing in a calm. Life Review This exercise follows an idea suggested by St Ignatius Loyola (some 500 years ago).

• • • Imagine your death. anywhere at anytime as anything you desire. imagine you are going to be reborn. You can be reborn. what would they be thinking about you? Imagine being reborn. What would your choices be? Return. gradually look around you as if seeing everything for the first time. or when you feel ready. after a few. what are your thoughts as you imagine yourself dying? Imagine your closest friends and relatives. . When you feel ready to open your eyes.

o 'WHY?’ Encompasses: o ‘What is the reason for?’ o ‘What is the cause of?’ o ‘What is the consequence of?’ o (See also Causal Mapping) Membership o ‘What are the parts of?’ o ‘What is this a part of?’ o ‘What belongs to it?’ o Parts could include sub-categories. – Repeatable Questions Repeating questions over and over generates as much or as little information as the quantity and type of questions demand. or they could belong to a wider system (see Hierarchy diagrams) Sequence. you ask why C happened and the answer is related to another event B and so the same question can be reiterated. because A did o WHY did A happen. A group of questions are considered until they exhausted. o 'What is the context of C?’ o ‘What is the context of that context?’ o This idea suggests a multi-layered hierarchy of one event dependant on another Emptying Questions • Unlike the Serial questions above. Differentiation between the 2 types of repeatable question gives serial questions.’What else?’.. because B did o WHY did B happen. o WHY did C happen.. because (etc….e.’Where else?’ etc. i.‘Why?’ etc. o ‘What happened before and after C?’ exploration of the timing behind the events Frame..) .) Causation. these are not infinitely repeatable. Serial • • • • • Where the question and answers are related.e. i. o Who else went to X? Sue o And who else? Phil o And who else? No-one (category exhausted) The most frequently asked questions containing ‘else’ (‘Why else?’. used indefinitely and emptying questions used until the subject concerned is drained.

i. ‘I wish I could convince my manager my deadlines are unrealistic !’ could be rethought as: ‘I wish I could re prioritise my work to reduce the pressure on myself’ Active wishing may start with a unusual/frivolous wish which is worth exploring to uncover its deeper routed message. • • • • • • Try to visualise something you aspire Question why/what will it do for you.Wishing The Wishing concept literally means imagining a target with thoughts along the lines… ‘I wish I could’… Such thought processes can be used in day to day situation.e. letting the vision alter if need be Repeat this as often a you feel necessary until the true wish you desire is fully revealed Drive this clearer vision into the distance (‘zoom out’) Begin walking towards it You may now feel more able and better aware on how to get to that distant desire .

Think about what you have learned from progressing the dream and what you now understand about how you live in the dream world and how you might live? Invite your unconscious to take in and put together these various understandings and perspectives. what would I do? . Combine the viewpoints by returning to the dream as the main dream character. flying high looking down on it. event… move into it. Are you able to put a name to it? Is it familiar? Go into the dream. attitude or personal quality you need in order to live this dream so as to feel really enhanced at the end of it. Is there anything familiar about them? Discover the dream taking a ‘birds eye view’ of it. Take the time to let them sink in. including your view of the dream itself. noticing what comes to mind about the dream and the dream self. the left. etc. behind. has a communication that you as dreamer need to hear. building. what do you want to tell me?’ Become the dream and answer.e. features. i. underneath. either in your mind. whether it is a person. in front. just say to yourself: o If I did have that quality o If I were like that. Should you find it too difficult to imagine acting differently. Try to put the lessons in words as clearly as you can. note what you see: o Do you notice anything significant? o Is there anything obvious you can do to improve the quality of the dream? o What would you like to whisper to the dream self? o Look at the dream from different angles. or by picturing it on a chair opposite and switching seats. Adaptating and progressing the dream more successfully by visualizing what new approach. object. and the situation. Developing the images can be achieved by discovering the most striking feature of the dream – person. Every piece of the dream.Working with Dreams and Images This technique was originally developed by Glouberman (1989) and takes for granted that you have memorized a significant dream you have had and now wish to enhance it to allow it the opportunity to be of some function (see also Keeping a Dream Diary). Try reliving it with this new approach or personal quality. relationships. scene. Possible suggestions of you how you may go about this are: • • • • • Locate the dream and get the feel of any atmosphere. or between the various features. perspectives. the right. Transform into each important feature in turn – what does each feel and see? Have conversations between the dream self and any of these features. Talk about yourself and your viewpoint. Identify feelings. Look intently around at all the characters. and think about what each have told you. Talk to the dream as a whole: ‘Dream. and experience the atmosphere. a table or a movement. o Envisage that the dream stage situated centrally in a room and physically walk around it.

and after that? Validate out the new approach you have just tried from the various perspectives you explored before. What do the other characters.If you get stuck anywhere. What happens next. re-examining. paint the dream or express it in some other medium. below and the various sides? If there are any further shifts that seem appropriate. thank your unconscious for giving you the dream. Try to find a way to live the dream so that it feels good. leave the dream and reconsider whether you need anything else in order to go forward. and to present you a new dream in the near future that will characterize your new state. features. looking forward and surfacing occurs when you feel good about the dream. think about the relevance of your understandings to your life. . Prior to and following emerging. try them out. • Understanding. and thank your conscious self for working so hard. Continue this reworked dream into the future. Request your unconscious to put together your new understandings. etc. Where in your life are you relating to the world as you did in the dream? How could you operate differently? Write down your experience. think? What does this new dream look like from the ‘birds eye view’.

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