||Baby, Toddler, Pre-Schooler, Child, Adolescent,Adult,Retired
||Milli-seconds, Seconds, Minutes, Hours,Morning/Afternoon/Evening, Days, Weeks, Fortnight,Month,Quarters, Years, Decades, Century
||Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet,Black, White, Brown, Pink, Crimson
||Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Dinner, Supper, Snack
||Who, What, When, Where, How, Why
Think of the very popular books produced by Rick Smolan (photographer)
which included A Day in the Life of Australia and his more recent A
Day in the Life
of Cyberspace. My using morphological analysis, you could replace
A Day with
the list of time units, Life could be replaced with Birth/Death/Growth/Decay
and the last word could be replaced with a list of your areas
of interest, eg
My Family, My Country, My Dog.
As you evaluate the combinations, you will encounter such combinations
Year in the Death of my employer' which could prompt you
to examine the decline
of your employer following your retrenchment. (I speak from experience!).
How many ideas are really original?
It is quite valid to imitate other ideas as a preparatory step
thinking. Try what all the 'great' creators have done:
imitate. After you have imitated enough, you will find your preferences
what you are doing into a distinct style. Originality is a natural
sincere creative pursuit.
Isaac Newton said:
'If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulder
Just as the Beatles started out playing cover tunes, J.S. Bach
went blind in
his old age copying scores of other musicians (for personal study),
played on the themes of his time, and Jazz musicians insert popular
into the middle of bizarre atonal solos. Ideas are constantly
on the move, much
to the annoyance of patent copyright lawyers! Certainly,
ideas may be
exploited by the materially minded, just like anything else.
But if you truly
comprehend an idea, it is yours.
Dean Willian R. Inge said:
'What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.'
T. S. Eliot said:
The immature poet imitates; the mature poet plagiarizes.
The human brain is very different from a computer. Whereas a computer
a linear fasion, the brain works associatively as well as linearly
integrating and synthesising as it goes.
Association plays a dominant role in nearly every mental function,
themselves are no exception. Every single word, and idea has numerous
attaching it to other ideas and concepts.
Mind maps, developed by Tony Buzan are an effective method of
useful for the generation of ideas by associations. To make a
mind map, one
starts in the centre of the page with the main idea, and works
outward in all
directions, producing a growing and organised structure composed
of key words
and key images. Key features are:
* Key Words
* Visual Memory - Print the key words, use color, symbols, icons,
3D-effects,arrows and outlining groups of words
* Outstandingness - every Mind Map needs a unique centre
* Conscious involvement
Mindmaps are beginning to take on the same structure as memory
itself. Once a
mind map is drawn, it seldom needs to be referred to again. Mind
Because of the large amount of association involved, they can
be very creative,
tending to generate new ideas and associations that have not been
before. Every item in a map is in effect, a centre of another
The creative potential of a mind map is useful in brainstorming
only need to start with the basic problem as the centre, and generate
associations and ideas from it in order to arrive at a large number
different possible approaches. By presenting your thoughts and
a spatial manner and by using colour and pictures, a better overview
and new connections can be made visible.
Mind maps are a way of representing associated thoughts with
than with extraneous words something like organic chemistry. The
associations almost instantaneously, and 'mapping' allows
you to write your
ideas quicker than expressing them using only words or phrases.
More information is available in a Mind Mapping FAQ (Frequently
Notes from Books by Tony Buzan
* 'Use Both Sides of your Brain' Plume 1989
* Chapter 6 - Mind Maps Introduction
* Chapter 7 - Mind Maps - The Laws
* Chapter 8 - Mind Maps - advanced methods and uses
* Chapter 9 - The Mind Map organic study technique (MMOST)
* The Mind Map Book - How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximise
* The Mind Map Book
* The disadvantages of standard notes
* Mind maps use pictures.
* Harnessing the full range of your cortical skills
* Summary of the Mind Map Laws
* The mnemonic mind map as a mirror of creativity.
* Creative Thinking Mind Maps
* Computer Mind Mapping
* The Book of Genius (Details coming soon)
Mind Mapping Software
The Software section of this web site contains details of several
Mindmapping. Programs for mind-mapping include...
* Axon Idea Processor
* Mind Maps Plus
* Mind Mapper
* Mindmap from emagic
Other Mind Map Web Sites
* Tony Buzan's Web Site
* World Wide Brain Club
* Buzan at Cityscape
* Mind Mapper Software
* Joyce Wycoff's page on MindMapping
* Jan W.A. Lanzing's Concept Mapping Homepage.
* Mind Mapping Sitein Germany (the contents are in German).
Produced by Maria
Beyer - Mind Mapping trainer, and seminar leader.
Some templates developed by Charles Cave to use as starting points
mapping a problem. Feel free to send me your mind maps for inclusion
page! GIFs, JPEGS or Windows Bitmaps are preferred.
* The six questions
* The five senses
* Life planning - spiritual, physical, etc...
Storyboards go back to the very beginnings of cinema, with Sergei
using the technique. In the world of animation, Walt Disney and
developed a Story Board system in 1928. Disney wanted to achieve
and for this, he needed to produce an enormous number of drawings.
thousands of drawings and the progress of a project was nearly
Disney had his artists pin up their drawings on the studio walls.
progress could be checked, and scenes added and discarded with
Story-Boarding is a popular management told to faciliate the creative-thinking
process and can be likened to taking your thoughts and the thoughts
and spreading them out on a wall as you work on a project or solve
When you put ideas up on Story Boards, you begin to see interconnections,
one idea relates to another, and how all the pieces come together.
ideas start flowing, those working with the Story Board will become
the problem. People will 'hitch-hike' onto other ideas.
To implement a Story
Board solution you can use a cork board or similar surface to
allow pinning up
index cards. Software programs are now available such as Corkboard
Start with a topic card, and under the topic card, place header
containing general points, categories, considerations, etc that
will come up.
Under the header cards you will put sub-heading cards ('subbers')
the ideas that fall under each header; they're the details ideas
the creative-thinking session, ideas that develop or support the
Story Boarding works well in group sessions and there are four
major types of
Story Boards (according to Mike Vance in his 'Creative Thinking'
program): Planning, Ideas, Communication and Organisation boards.
story-boarding session, consider all ideas relevant, no matter
they appear. Think positively, hold all criticism until later,
and hitchhike on
other's ideas. Creative Thinking sessions are held separately
Leonardo da Vinci used to put ideas up on the wall and examine
Story-Boards give total immersion in a problem as you can see
The term Synectics from the Greek word synectikos which means
together' or 'bringing different things into unified
Since creativity involves the coordination of things into new
creative thought or action draws on synectic thinking.
Creative behaviour occurs in the process of becoming aware
problems, deficiencies, gaps in knowledge, missing elements,
disharmonies, bringing together in new relationships available
information; identifying the missing elements; searching
solutions, making guesses, or formulating hypotheses.
- E Paul Torrance
Creativity is the marvellous capacity to grasp mutually distinct
realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition - Max
A man becomes creative, whether he is an artist or scientist,
finds a new unity in the variety of nature. He does so by
likeness between things which were not thought alike before
Buckminster Fuller summed up the essence of Synectics when he
said all things
regardless of their dissimilarity can somehow be linked together,
either in a
physical, psychological or symbolic way.
Synectic thinking is the process of discovering the links that
disconnected elements. It is a way of mentally taking things apart
them together to furnish new insight for all types of problems.
William Gordon set forth three fundamental precepts of synectic
* Creative output increases when people become aware of the
processes that control their behaviour
* the emotional component of creative behaviour is more important
intellectual component; the irrational is more important than
* the emotional and irrational components must be understood
and used as
'precision: tools in order to increase creative output.
1. The Synectic Attitude
* Synectics encourages the ability to live with complexity and
* Synectics stimulates creative thinking
* Synectics mobilises both sides of the brain, the right brain
and the left brain (the reasoner)
* Synectics provides a free-thinking state of consciousness
In a free-thinking state, analogies between perceptions,
even systems and abstractions tend to occur repeatedly. -
Creativity demands flexibility and imaginativeness but also
organised thought processes, matched by a high degree of
and psychological freedom. - R. L. Razik
2. The Synectic Trigger Mechanisms
* Synectic Trigger mechanisms catalyse new thoughts, ideas and
* Synectic Theory is based on disruptive thinking - similar
to the PO
operation of Edward de Bono
The creative process is a matter of continually separating
bringing together, bringing together and separating, in many
dimensions - affective, conceptual, perceptual, volitional
physical - Albert Rothenberg
3. The Synectic Ways of Working
* Synectics is based on the fusion of opposites
* Synectics is based on analogical thinking
* Synectics is Synergistic. Its action produces a result which
than the sum of its parts.
The world is totally connected. Whatever explanation we invent
moment is a partial connection, and its richness derives
richness of such connections as we are able to make. - Jacob
The Synectic Pinball Machine
Synectic thinking is like a mental pinball game. Stimulus input
the scoring bumbers (the Trigger Questions) is transformed. Ordinary
perceptions are turned into extraordinary ones; the familiar or
prosaic is made
strange. Synectic play is the creative mind at work.
Let's get started!
Ideas are not born in a vacuum. First of all, you must identify
the problem you
have and write it down. Next, you must gather information about
it to mix in
with the information already stored in the brain.
Now do something. Take creative action by using the Trigger Questions
transform your ideas and information into something new. These
tools for transformational thinking and may lead you to some great
Design Synectics - Stimulating Creativity in Design
Nicholas Roukes, Published by Davis Publications 1988.
Synectics by W.J.Gordon (possibly out of print)
The Practice of Creativity by Gordon Prince.
The Axon Idea processor contains a set of Synectics questions
as part of its
MacSynectics is a Hypercard stack (for Apple Macintosh) of trigger
allowing the user to be presented with questions at random, and
to record the
ideas generated during the session. Go to the Hypercard Software
People tend to think of the mind as analogous to current technology.
last few centuries, the mind has been likened to a steam engine,
exchange, and recently, a computer. The mind is more than a computer!
A metaphor is a soft thinking technique connecting two different
meaning. Examples: Food chain, flow of time, fiscal watchdog.
The key to
metaphorical thinking is Similarity. The human mind tends to look
similarities. A road map is a model or metaphor of reality and
explaining thing, the Dolby Sound system is like a sonic laundry.
Excessive logical thinking can stifle the creative process, so
use metaphors as
way of thinking differently about something. Make and look for
your thinking, and be aware of the metaphors you use. Metaphors
so long as we remember that they don't constitute a means of proof,
definition a metaphor must break down at some point.
Imaging within another sensory or conceptual frame can help, eg.
images of spring which inspired Vivaldi's 'Prima Vera',
the dream that led to
Berlioz's 'Symphonie Fantastique,' the art exhibition
illustrated in 'Pictures at an Exhibition,' and so on.
This exercise involves starting with a central theme or problem
outward, using ever-widening circles or 'petals.' Central
themes lead to ideas
that themselves become central themes, and so forth. The unfolding
trigger new ideas and new themes.
1. Copy the diagram above [by clicking on the image above for
a larger image,
or downloading an Excel 4 spreadsheet]
2. Write your central theme or problem in the diagram's center.
Think of related ideas or applications and write them in the surrounding
circles (those labelled A through H). For instance, one company's
was 'establishing a creative climate.' They surrounded
this statement in the
central box with: 'offer idea contests,' 'create
a stimulating environment,'
'have creative-thinking meetings,' 'generate ways
to 'get out of your box','
'create a positive attitude,' 'establish a creative-idea
committee,' 'make work
fun,' and 'expand the meaning of work.'
4. Use the ideas written in circles ADH as central themes for
So, if you had written 'create a stimulating environment'
in circle A, you
would copy it into the circle labeled A directly below, where
it would become
the central theme for a new box, and so on.
5. Try to think of eight new ideas involving the new central theme,
them in the squares surrounding it. Use the idea stimulators to
generate ideas. Fill out as many boxes as you can.
6. Continue the process until you've completed as much of the
diagram as you
7. Evaluate your ideas. One of the ideas a company adopted was
to provide a
special room for creative thinking. They stocked it with books
videos, educational toys and games, beanbags, modeling clay, and
so on. It was
decorated with pictures of the employees as babies, as a reminder
that we are
all born innocent and creative.
An unemploued marketing executive used the lotus exercise to generate
needed to land a job. His central theme was 'job'. One
of the ideas surrounding
this central box was 'create a resume.' 'Resume'
then became a new central
theme and, using the idea stimulators, he came up with a number
on the idea of a resume. For example, he took out ads in several
the bold headline, '$50,000 Reward.' The fine print
underneath explained that
an employer could save $50,000 by not paying a headhunter to find
a person with
his marketing talents. When interested employers called the number
the ad, they heard a recording of his resume. He received forty-five
Practitioners of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a.k.a. the
subjective experience', have produced a number of techniques
that can be used
to describe the strategies used by highly effective people.
Essentially, experts are carefully studied and analyzed (or modeled
parlance) as a way to make conscious and unpack the mental strategies
to get expert results. Once the strategies are decoded, they
are the available
for others to enhance their own expertise. Milton Erickson, the
hypnotherapist, and Virginia Satir, one of the world's best known
therapist were among those who were modeled by NLP practitioners.
Interestingly, it appears that people can be modeled even after
they have died!
A case in point: Robert Dilts (one of the creators of NLP) recently
Walt Disney. He studied his writings, observed films of him doing
his work and
interviewed people that worked with him. From this he extracted
Creativity Model, which will be briefly described below.
The basis strategy for modeling people is to either observe them
performing or to have them mentally go back to a time when they
extremely well, and to have them describe (while reliving a particular
of great human performance) the thought patterns, physiology and
supported the performance
The modeler might also choose to elicit a strategy that lead to
performance or a failure to get the same results as a 'counter
model.' This is
done to provide a contrast that clearly points out the distinctions
two states of 'success' and 'failure'. NLP
provides a set of linguistic and
observational tools that ensure useful descriptions and models.
Dilts concluded that Walt Disney moved through three distinct
states when he
produce his work. Dilt's called them Dreamer, Realist and Critic.
these three stages have a distinct physiology and thought patterns
and can be
consciously employed by individuals who want to improve their
It is beyond the scope and mandate of this FAQ to elaborate any
Dilt's work. If you want more information, consult his books:
Dreamers' and 'Skills for the Future'. Details
are in FAQ Part 1.
NLP techniques are also useful to help you remember, at an instant,
psychological state you must be in to be creative. NLP practitioners
'anchor' a particular state in which you are most creative.
In fact, you
anchor these state yourself. Many people have to be in a certain
standing or walking, or in some particular context in order to
be creative. The
context is the anchor that reminds you mind/body to be creative.
A Demo on using NLP As An Aid to Creativity
The next time you find yourself creative, e.g. you are noticing
it easy to
generate a lot of ideas or you finding it easy to elaborate on
an idea, notice
the position of your body and observe the context in which you
Record as much as you can about how you 'made yourself'
creative. You can then
use that information (the more details the better) to set the
state for being
creative in the future, i.e. put yourself in a matching body
posture and in a
similar particular context as before.
Another technique is to make a tape recording of everything that
is going on in
your mind and body when you are being creative. If you're with
have them tell you everything they noticed you doing. (Tell them
to focus on
behaviors, not interpretations of the behavior, e.g. the observation
smiling' is not as useful as 'the corners of you mouth
were turning upwards').
Then, listen carefully to their report and use that information
to recreate the
context the next time you want to be creative.
A Caution And An Invitation
Keep in mind, the suggested activities outlined in the last two
not, in any way, do justice to the sophistication of NLP techniques.
interested in NLP as a way to enhance your creative potential,
read, talk with
those who know a lot about NLP, and find a good trainer.
Other NLP Resources
http://www.capmedia.fr/nlp Web site.
NLP FAQ and Resources The home of the alt.psychology.nlp newsgroup.
. NLP and DHE Neuro-linguistic programming and design human engineering.
A useful technique of generating ideas is to list the assumptions
problem, and then explore what happens as you drop each of these
individually or in combination.
For example, I used to work in the Customer Service division of
company. When customers purchase software, they are encouraged
support agreements for a cost of 15% of the software value. The
this maintenance funds the support personnel who answer telephones.
The assumptions of this situation are:
* Customers purchase maintenance agreements
* Customers pay 15% of the software's worth for support
* Support is a product and should therefore be sold
* The software vendor provides helpful, timely support
Now think about the situations as each attribute is dropped.
What happens if support is free? - Maybe the software price should
and the support given away, creating the impression of free support.
Don't support the product - Don't offer support. The vendor doesn't
support it, so doesn't have to employ support staff. If anyone
rings for help,
tell them to buzz off! This could lead to customers forming their
groups (user groups) or turning to other areas such as the Internet,
boards, newsletters, independent support specialists and so on.
Even more assumptions could be dropped. What if the vendor gave
software. You are most likely reading this file with Netscape
Microsoft Explorer. Did you buy that software? How do you think
money if most people don't pay for the browser?
Free form assumption dropping
Assumption dropping is a great way to relax and think of crazy
ideas. How would
you answer these questions?
* What if gravity stopped for one minute every day?
* What would you do if you didn't have to sleep?
* Describe your working week if you only had to go to work (or
one day a week? Or one month of the year?
More examples can be found in a document on Escape Thinking.
Ask 'Why' a problem is occuring and then ask 'Why'
four more times.
1. Why has the machine stopped?
A fuse blew because of an overload
2. Why was there an overload?
There wasn't enough lubrication for the bearings
3. Why wasn't there enough lubrication?
The pump wasn't pumping enough
4. Why wasn't lubricant being pumped?
The pump shaft was vibrating as a result of abrasion
5. Why was there abrasion?
There was no filter, allowing chips of material into the pump.
Installation of a filter solves the problem.
The Six Universal Questions
Idea Generators should be aware of a simple universal truth. There
are only six
questions that one human can ask another:
This technique is fully described in the book The Art of Creative
Robert W. Olson and published by Perennial Library (ISBN 0-06-097051-0)
The name is based on the following abbreviation:
The pattern of the DO IT process emphasises the need to Define
yourself to many possible solutions, Identify the best solution
Transform it into action effectively.
The ten DO IT catalysts, designed to help us creatively define,
and transform, are...
* Mind Focus
* Mind Grip
* Mind Stretch
* Mind Prompt
* Mind Surprise
* Mind Free
* Mind Synthesise
* Mind Integrate
* Mind Strengthen
* Mind Synergise
The DO IT Process and Catalysts
The DO IT catalysts may be used effectively separately for quick
solving, or together as a process when very importatn or difficult
to be solved. They are designed to accelerate and strengthen your
creative problem-solving ability and to stimulate a large number
diverse ideas for solutions to your problems.
Write down a statement of the problem!
Define the problem carefully to make sure you are solving the
real problem and
to help engage your unconscius and conscious minds to the problem.
Write down the most optimal statement of the problem
||1) Ask why the problem exists. This may lead to a broader statement of the problem.
2) Try to subdivide the problem into smaller problems. This may lead to a narrower restatement of the problem.
||Write down at least three two-word statements of the problem objective. Select the combination of words which best represents the precise problem you want to solve. Use this to write a new, more optimal and effective restatement of the problem.
||List the goals, objectives and/or criteria which the solution of the problem is to satisfy. (Think of the obstacles which must be overcome.) Then stretch
each goal, objective or criterion and write down any ideas which are stimulated.
Open yourself to consider many diverse solution ideas. Delay judgment
generated until the Identify step. First, list any ideas which
are on your
||Ask other people with diverse backgrounds, knowledge and intelligence for solutions to your problem. Use their solutions as prompters for your own ideas.
||List ridiculous, laughable ideas. Use them to trigger more reasonably, possible usable solutions to your problem.
||Stimulate fresh ideas by forcing similarities between your problem and things wich aren't logically related to your problem.
1 - Write down the name of a physical object, picture, plant or animal.
2 - List its characteristics in detail.
3 - Use the listed characteristics to stimulate insights into and ideas for the solution to your problem.
||Circle the best of ideas generated so far during the Define and
Identify the best solution to your problem and modify it until
you are ready to transform your idea into action.
||Review your goals, objectives and/or criteria then trust your own gut-level feeling to select the best idea from the already circled ideas.
||List the negative aspects of your idea. Be vicious! Try to positive the negatives. Then modify the solution to reduce the negative aspects.
||Exaggerate the worst and best potential consequence which might result from the implementation of your solution. Modify your solution to minimise bad consequences
and maximise good consequencxes. Proceed to the transformation step if you are sufficiently energised.
Carefully write down a statement of your final solution idea
Transform your solution idea into action. Use the DO IT process
again to help creatively solve the problem which you now have
of 'How to
transform your solution idea into action.'
Important Note: When time allows, take advantage of incubation
thinking) and research processes (find out what ideas have already
Most of our everyday personal and professional problems are solved
in a few
minutes or instantly. Therefore you will probably find it advantageous
only one or a few of the catalysts at a time.
Unconscious Problem Solving
Unconscious Problem Solving
This method relies on the unconscious mind to be continually processing
various sensory inputs stored in short-term and long-term memory.
Using your unconscious to solve problems is a process of listening
readiness to record ideas as they percolate into your conscious
Some of the greatest thinkers were great relaxers. Einstein was
and spent much of his relaxation time sailing on a lake. Ralph
It's all very well to work hard on a problem under the stressful
deadlines, but the opposite condition of relaxation and not working
problem is very valuable.
A practical application of this technique is to saturate yourself
problem and then take a break. Write down the problem on a writing
leave it by your bedside. The next morning, take that pad and
down your ideas. Aim to write three full pages of anything that
comes to mind.
Explore your dreams.
We all dream, and we all dream a lot more than we think we do.
As you get into
bed, say out loud: 'Tonight I am going to dream about ....'
(including a brief
description of the problem). When you wake up, lie and bed and
think some more
about the problem.
The important thing is not to try too hard. Go with the flow.
Edward de Bono writes in 'Serious Creativity', how
he became interested in the
sort of thinking that computers could not do: creative and perceptual
The entry in the Concise Oxford Dictionary reads: 'seeking
to solve problems by
unorthodox or apparently illogical methods.
Lateral thinking is about moving sideways when working on a problem
different perceptions, 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 cutting across patterns
self-organising system, and has very much to do with perception.
For example: Granny is sitting knitting and three year old Susan
Granny by playing with the wool. One parent suggests putting Susan
playpen. The other parent suggests it might be a better idea to
put Granny in
the playpen to protect her from Susan. 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, and generating new ones.
* General: Exploring multiple possibilities and approaches
pursuing a single approach.
Coming soon to this page will be a summary of de Bono's fundamental
and a nutshell guide of techniques.
Six Thinking Hats
Six Thinking Hats
A summary by Sylvie Labelle
Early in the 1980s Dr. de Bono invented the Six Thinking Hats
method is a framework for thinking and can incorporate lateral
Valuable judgmental thinking has its place in the system but is
not allowed to
dominate as in normal thinking. Dr. de Bono organized a network
trainers to introduce the Six Thinking Hats. Advanced Practical
(APTT), of Des Moines, Iowa USA, licenses the training in all
parts of the
world except Canada (and now, Europe). APTT organizes the trainers
the only training materials written and authorized by Dr. de Bono.
Organizations such as Prudential Insurance, IBM, Federal Express,
Airways, Polaroid, Pepsico, DuPont, and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph,
possibly the world's largest company, use Six Thinking Hats.
The six hats represent six modes of thinking and are directions
to think rather
than labels for thinking. That is, the hats are used proactively
The method promotes fuller input from more people. In de Bono's
'separates ego from performance'. Everyone is able to
contribute to the
exploration without denting egos as they are just using the yellow
whatever hat. The six hats system encourages performance rather
defense. People can contribute under any hat even though they
the opposite view.
The key point is that a hat is a direction to think rather than
a label for
thinking. The key theoretical reasons to use the Six Thinking
Hats are to:
* encourage Parallel Thinking
* encourage full-spectrum thinking
* separate ego from performance
The published book Six Thinking Hats (de Bono, 1985) is readily
explains the system, although there have been some additions and
changes to the
execution of the method.
The following is an excerpt from John Culvenor and Dennis Else
Creative Design, 1995)
White Hat on the Hats
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. This putting
taking off is essential. The hats must never be used to categorize
even though their behavior may seem to invite this. When done
everybody wear the same hat at the same time.
White Hat thinking
This covers facts, figures, information needs and gaps. 'I
think we need some
white hat thinking at this point...' means Let's drop the
proposals, and look at the data base.'
Red Hat thinking
This covers intuition, feelings and emotions. The red hat allows
the thinker to
put forward an intuition without any ned to justify it. 'Putting
on my red hat,
I think this is a terrible proposal.' Ususally feelings and
intuition can only
be introduced into a discussion if they are supported by logic.
feeling is genuine but the logic is spurious.The red hat gives
to a thinker to put forward his or her feelings on the subject
at the moment.
Black Hat thinking
This is the hat of judgment and caution. It is a most valuable
hat. It is not
in any sense an inferior or negative hat. The rior or negative
hat. The black
hat is used to point out why a suggestion does not fit the facts,
experience, the system in use, or the policy that is being followed.
hat must always be logical.
Yellow Hat thinking
This is the logical positive. Why something will work and why
it will offer
benefits. It can be used in looking forward to the results of
action, but can also be used to find something of value in what
Green Hat thinking
This is the hat of creativity, alternatives, proposals, what is
provocations and changes.
Blue Hat thinking
This is the overview or process control hat. It looks not at the
but at the 'thinking' about the subject. 'Putting on my blue
hat, I feel we
should do some more green hat thinking at this point.' In
technical terms, the
blue hat is concerned with meta-cognition.
This was an excerpt from Edward de Bono's 'Why Do Quality
Efforts Lose Their
Fizz?' Quality is No Longer Enough, The Journal for Quality
The Discontinuity Principle
The Discontinuity Principle
The more you are used to something, the less stimulating it is
When you disrupt your thought patterns, those ideas that create
stimulus to our thinking do so because they force us to make new
order to comprehend the situation. Roger van Oech calls this
a 'Whack on the
Side of the Head', and Edward de Bono coined a new word,
PO, which stands for
Try programming interruptions into your day. Change working hours,
get to work
a different way, listen to a different radio station, read some
books you wouldn't normally read, try a different recipe, watch
a TV program or
film you wouldn't normally watch.
Provocative ideas are often stepping stones that get us thinking
Abutting ideas next to each other, such that their friction creates
thought-paths a technique that flourishes in the east (haiku poetry
koans) but causes discomfort in Western thinking.
Alex Osborn in his pioneering book Applied Imagination talks about
as spurs to ideation', and outlines about 75 idea-spurring
questions in his
The simplest set of questions comes from the six basic questions
the Ask Questions section of the Creativity Web.
* Why is it necessary?
* Where should it be done?
* When should it be done?
* Who should do it?
* What should be done?
* How should it be done?
The What other uses? is a good question for by adding uses we
can often add
value. By piling up alternatives by way of other uses, a still
better use is
likely to come to light.
Osborn went on with the following questions:
Michael Michalko, in his book Thinkertoys describes the rearrangement
above questions (by Bob Eberle) into the mnemonic SCAMPER (Substitute,
Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate, Reverse).
Start applying these questions to your problems and see what ideas
The term Brainstorming has become a commonly used word in the
as a generic term for creative thinking. The basis of brainstorming
generating ideas in a group situation based on the principle of
judgment - a principle which scientific research has proved to
productive in individual effort as well as group effort. The generation
is separate from the judgment phase of thinking.
In Michael Morgan's book Creative Workforce Innovation he gives
Brainstorming is a process that works best with a group of people
follow the following four rules.
* Have a well-defined and clearly stated problem
* Have someone assigned to write down all the ideas as they
* Have the right number of people in the group
* Have someone in charge to help enforce the following guidelines:
* Suspend judgment
* Every idea is accepted and recorded
* Encourage people to build on the ideas of others
* Encourage way-out and odd ideas
In Serious Creativity, Edward de Bono describes brainstorming
as a traditional
approach to do deliberate creative thinking with the consequence
think creative thinking can only be done in groups. The whole
brainstorming is that other people's remarks would act to stimulate
ideas in a sort of chain reaction of ideas.
Groups are not at all necessary for deliberate creative thinking,
Creativity describes techniques for individuals to use to produce
ideas. In a
group you have to listen to others and you may spend time repeating
ideas so they get sufficient attention. Thinking as a group using
can certainly produce ideas, but individual thinking using techniques
those described by de Bono should be employed.
de Bono believes that individuals are much better at generating
ideas and fresh
directions. Once the idea has been born then a group may be better
develop the idea and take it in more directions than can the originator.
Forced analogy is a very useful and fun-filled method of generating
idea is to compare the problem with something else that has little
in common and gaining new insights as a result.
You can force a relationship between almost anything, and get
new insights -
companies and whales, management systems and telephone networks,
relationship and a pencil.
Forcing relationships is one of the most powerful ways to develop
develop new insights and new solutions. A useful way of developing
relationships is to have a selection of objects or cards with
pictures to help
you generate ideas. Choose an object or card at random and see
relationships you can force.
Use mind-mapping or a matrix to record the attributes and then
of the problem at hand.
Corporation as a matchbox
Robert Olson in his book The Art of Creative Thinking describes
the problem of
examining a corporate organisation structure by comparing it to
|Striking surface on two sides
||The protection an organisation needs against strikes
||Six essential organisational divisions
|Sliding centre section
||The heart of the organisation should be slidable or flexible.
|Made of cardboard
||Inexpensive method of structure - disposable
Marriage as a pencil
Betty Edwards in her book Drawing on the Artist Within shows the
example of a
pencil used to examine aspects of a marriage.
||Clean the tub. I share depression too often with family
||Too timid. Harold needs to know my true feelings.
||Dull daily routine. Change activities
||6 things to do: Budget, Take a class, Improve discipline, be more assertive, start now!, improve communications.
||Rub him out! Forgive and forget past mistakes.
||Spend too much. Need a budget. Take a job.
||I feel inferior to my husband.
||Feel closed in. Need other interests. Am I getting shafted?
||Get the lead out! Do It! if I press any harder I will break.
||Send a note telling Harold that I love him.
Notes from 'Creating Workforce Innovation' by Michael
Morgan - published by
Business and Professional Pubolshing 1993
Attribute listing is a great technique for ensuring all possible
aspects of a
problem have been examined. Attribute listing is breaking the
problem down into
smaller and smaller bits and seeing what you discover when you
Let's say you are in the business of making torches. You are under
from your competition and need to improve the quality of your
breaking the torch down into its component parts - casing, switch,
bulb and the weight - the attributes of each one - you can develop
a list of
ideas to improve each one.
Attribute Listing - Improving a torch
|Switch||On/Off||On/Off low beam
Attribute listing is a very useful technique for quality improvement
complicated products, procedures for services. It is a good technique
to use in
conjunction with some other creative techniques, especially idea-generating
ones like brainstorming. This allows you to focus on one specific
part of a
product or process before generating a whole lot of ideas.
From 'What a Great Idea' by Charles Thompson.
The world is full of opposites. Of course, any attribute, concept
or idea is
meaningless without its opposite.
Lao-tzu wrote Tao-te Ching which stresses the need for the successful
see opposites all around:
The wise leader knows how to be creative. In order to lead,
leader learns to follow. In order to prosper, the leader
live simply. In both cases, it is the interaction that is
All behaviour consists of opposites...Learn to see things
inside out, and upside down.
* State your problem in reverse. Change a positive statement
into a negative
* Try to define what something is not.
* Figure out what everybody else is not doing.
* Use the 'What If' Compass
* Change the direction or location of your perspective
* Flip-flop results
* Turn defeat into victory or victory into defeat
1. Make the statement negative
For example, if you are dealing with Customer Service issues,
list all the ways
you could make customer service bad. You will be pleasantly surprised
of the ideas you will come up with.
2. Doing What Everybody Else Doesn't
For example, Apple Computer did what IBM didn't, Japan made small,
3. The 'What-If Compass'
The author has a list of pairs of opposing actions which can be
applied to the
problem. Just ask yourself 'What if I ........' and
plug in each one of the
opposites. A small sample:-
* Stretch it/Shrink It
* Freeze it/Melt it
* Personalise it/De-personalise it
4. Change the direction or location of your perspective
Physical change of perspective, Manage by Walking around, or doing
5. Flip-flop results
If you want to increase sales, think about decreasing them. What
would you have
6. Turn defeat into victory or victory into defeat
If something turns out bad, think about the positive aspects of
If I lost all of the files off this computer, what good would
come out of it?
Maybe I would spend more time with my family?! Who knows!