5 Minimize Negative Thinking

Unless you are an exceptional person, you are a natural critic. From an early age we have learned to analyze and criticize anything new. Now that we are adults, being critical is second nature. We are experts at it. What is your typical first reaction when someone proposes a new idea Do you usually say something like That's fantastic, That's a great idea, or That's really interesting Probably not. Although there may be a few exceptions, most of us come preprogrammed with the automatic no...

Modular Brainstorming Handout

To illustrate this activity, suppose you are a facilitator who agreed to help a company improve a common door lock. You ask group members first to list components such as knobs, latches, pins, tumblers, keys, bolts, springs, and a striking plate. Next, they list subattributes of each component. For instance, springs have such characteristics as being spiral in shape, under tension, capable of being stretched, and varied in size. After group members draw pictures of the individual components,...

2Test Assumptions

Testing assumptions is probably the second most important creative thinking principle, because it is the basis for all creative perceptions. We see only what we think we see. Whenever we look at something, we make assumptions about reality. Optical illusions, one form of creative perception, depend on this phenomenon. Most psychology students, for instance, are familiar with the picture that combines an old woman and a young woman (see Figure 2.1). Which of the two women we see depends on how...

Problem Solving

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Debrief Discussion

Ask the participants to discuss the following questions Why is deferring judgment so important Is it more important than the other three brainstorming principles Why or why not How feasible is it to defer judgment in practice How might groups overcome obstacles to deferring judgment Why are the other three principles important Also consider having participants debrief using the following questions What was most helpful about this exercise How would you rate the value of this exercise to helping...

Radiant Problem Solving

Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., amp Silverstein, M., 1977. As cited in M. Michalko, ThinkerToys. Berkeley, CA Ten Speed Press, 1991. Andersen, H.R. The Idea of the Diamond Idea Group. Chicago Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, 1991. Business Week, The Web Smart 50 - Collaboration, November 24, 2003. Buzan, T. Use Both Sides of Your Brain. New York Dutton, 1976. Clark, C.H. The Crawford Slip Writing Method. Kent, OH Charles H. Clark, 1978. Crawford, C.C., amp Demidovitch, J.W. Crawford Slip...

Stereotype Handout

Suppose the challenge is to improve quality control in a manufacturing process and your group selects the occupation of carpenter. You then might write down the following notes about carpentry A carpenter pounds nails on the tip with a hammer to prevent splitting wood. A good carpenter always measures twice and cuts once. The quality of sanding determines the quality of the final finish. It's easier to saw wood with the grain than against it. Always use the right tool for the job for instance,...

Defining Problems

There are a number of different perspectives on the definition and nature of problems, as well as different types of problems. Here is a brief overview of some of the classic ones. One general definition describes a problem in terms of some difficult obstacle or goal. According to this definition, anything difficult to overcome is a problem. Although this definition is descriptive, it is not precise enough for most purposes. Most challenging situations present more than a goal to overcome and,...

Variation

Use any combination of balloon colors and give each participant two balloons. 2. Have them write, on a small slip of paper, an idea for resolving the problem, insert their papers into the balloons, and blow them up. 3. Tell them to tap the balloons around the large group as described above, pop two balloons each, and return to their tables with the two slips of paper. 4. Ask each person in a group to read one of the ideas aloud and have the other group members try to improve it or think of...

3 Avoid Patterned Thinking

Try this little exercise Fold your arms the way you normally would cross them. Note which hands are on top of your arms. For instance, my left arm lies under my right hand. Now quickly reverse this position in my case, my right arm should lie under my left hand . You'll probably notice that the second position is more difficult. It's not natural. Here's another, similar exercise Interlock your fingers in the way most comfortable for you. Either your right or left index finger should be on top....

6 Take Prudent Risks

A failure is an opportunity to start over again, but more intelligently. Henry Ford You can't be a creative thinker unless you are a failure. No one ever truly succeeds without failing first. For instance, novelist John Creasey supposedly got 743 rejection slips before he published 562 books. Sports fans know that Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times a pretty poor record. Fortunately, he also hit 714 home runs. And R.H. Macy failed seven times before his New York store caught on. Creative thinking...

Typology of Idea Generation Activities

Before looking at the activities, however, you might want to understand more about how they work. This knowledge should make them easier to use and easier to teach others to use, and also increase your understanding about creative thinking in general. If you don't want this information and want to begin using the activities, move on to Chapter 4 or chapters following it . It is important, however, to understand the distinction between individual and group activities. This is because the...