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Introduction to Creativity

100s of definitions of creativity An imaginatively gifted recombination of known elements into something new - Miller A means of expressing inner conflict that otherwise would issue in neurosis, a mental purgative that keeps men sane. - Freud Something that has novelty or value; is unconventional (modifies/rejects previously accepted ideas); requires high motivation and persistence over a considerable time span or at high intensity; initially vague and illdefined. The Process of Creative Thinking Newell, Simon, Shaw Many studies show it can be taught/enhanced, likewise inhibited/suppressed

The Creative Problem Solving (CPS) model

CPS evolved from the scientific method CPS stages have Divergence / Convergence activities: 1. Opportunity delineation/problem definition 2. Compiling relevant information 3. Generating ideas 4. Evaluating, prioritizing ideas 5. Developing implementation plan Cost-effective model to use ROIs of 200% or more are common

Couger Variant of the CPS Model


Opportunity Delineation, Problem Definition

Compiling Relevant Information

Generating Ideas

Evaluating, Prioritizing Ideas

Developing Implementation Plan


Boundary Examination Manipulative Verbs Progressive Abstraction Wishful Thinking

5Ws/H Brainstorming/ Manipulative Brainwriting Verbs Analogy/Metaphor 5Ws/H Wishful Thinking Wildest Idea Problem Reversal

Force-Field Progressive Abstraction


Divergence Guidelines
At start of each phase we want to expand range of choices: Defer Judgment - give peoples ideas a fair hearing Quantity Breeds Quality - more possible a good idea will appear Hitchhiking is Encouraged - piggybacking on ideas of others is encouraged Combine and Modify Ideas - synergy leads to improvement Think in Pictures - visualize your ideas Stretch for Ideas - when all appears dead, continue

Convergence Guidelines
At the conclusion of each phase we want to narrow choices: Be Systematic - identify all appropriate factors for evaluating alternatives Develop Evaluative Measures - rating and ranking Use Intuition - dont discount feelings and hunches Avoid Quickly Ruling Out an Area for Consideration dont rely on pat answers, company policy, or status quo Avoid Idea-Killer Views - dont converge too quickly Satisfice - quit when an acceptable solution identified Use Optimizing Techniques if Possible - example: linear programming

Relevance of CPS model to IS

Creativity Techniques have been applied to: Addressing shortage of qualified employees for a fast-growing, internationally-based commercial software development firm Evaluating pilot tests for a new system in a leading express mail company Developing an enterprise model for a microelectronics manufacturing firm Improving receptivity to CASE tools for a firm in the petroleum industry Reducing programmer/analyst turnover in an insurance company

Generating Ideas
An incubation period during which your subconscious often supports your conscious creative efforts Requires preparation including a knowledge of the area of interest and the ideas of others as well as discipline Can be planned: make conscious habits to aid subconscious process - relaxing, recording, and, humor/exercise

1. Pick a problem/opportunity where each person has knowledge/motivation to contribute 2. Define the problem in neutral terms. 3. Record the ideas on flip charts where all can see. 4. Suspend evaluation or judgment until all ideas given. 5. Stretch for ideas, do another round even considering outrageous ideas and accept them all. Quantity over quantity. 6. Encourage embellishment and idea building. Brainwriting differs in that ideas are written mitigating dominant participants, social disapproval, and authority

Analogy - similarity between things otherwise dissimilar, "make the familiar strange and the strange familiar" Metaphor - term applied to another, unrelated term to create a non-traditional relationship 1. Withholding evaluation, generate a list of objects, persons, situations, or actions that are similar but unrelated to the problem. 2. Select one analogy and describe in detail w/o relating to original problem. 3. Examine the items generated and translate to statements that apply to problem/opportunity in question. 4. Examine each statement and discuss its application to problem/opportunity

Interrogatories (5Ws/H)
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Helps to expand view and ensure all problem aspects considered 1. Develop a question for each W and the H. For example, Who will be affected by the new application? How might an application be used for other purposes? Why provide this service to our customers? What customer category would best use this product? 2. Develop responses to each of your questions. 3. Evaluate alternative approaches suggested by your responses to your questions.

Wishful Thinking

Expand your horizons in viewing a situation and not be confined by your understanding of constraints 1. Develop a problem statement 2. Open solution space to all possibilities anything is possible 3. State alternatives in terms of wish/fantasy 4. Convert wishes to practical statements 5. Repeat steps 3. and 4., if necessary Wildest Idea Technique - generate bizarre wild ideas

Problem Reversal
Premise: reversing your assumptions about a problem provides new perspectives in thinking 1. Write the problem statement in question form. 2. Identify the "verb" or action content of the statement. 3. Reverse the meaning of the verb or action content and restate the problem in question form. 4. List answers to the reversed problem statement. 5. Reverse the answers stated in step 4.

Suggested Readings
Creativity & Innovation in Information Systems Organizations, J. Daniel Couger Creative Problem Solving and Opportunity Finding, J. Daniel Couger Creative Thinking in the Decision and Management Sciences, James R. Evans

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