Storyboards go back to the very beginnings of cinema, with Sergei Eisenstein using the technique. In the world of animation, Walt Disney and his staff developed a Story Board system in 1928. Disney wanted to achieve full animation and for this, he needed to produce an enormous number of drawings. Managing the thousands of drawings and the progress of a project was nearly impossible, so Disney had his artists pin up their drawings on the studio walls. This way, progress could be checked, and scenes added and discarded with ease.

Story-Boarding is a popular management told to faciliate the creative-thinking process and can be likened to taking your thoughts and the thoughts of others and spreading them out on a wall as you work on a project or solve a problem. When you put ideas up on Story Boards, you begin to see interconnections, how one idea relates to another, and how all the pieces come together. Once the ideas start flowing, those working with the Story Board will become immersed in 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 (Macintosh).

Start with a topic card, and under the topic card, place header cards containing general points, categories, considerations, etc that will come up. Under the header cards you will put sub-heading cards ("subbers") containing the ideas that fall under each header; they're the details ideas generated in the creative-thinking session, ideas that develop or support the headers.

Story Boarding works well in group sessions and there are four major types of Story Boards (according to Mike Vance in his "Creative Thinking" cassette program): Planning, Ideas, Communication and Organisation boards. During a story-boarding session, consider all ideas relevant, no matter how impractical they appear. Think positively, hold all criticism until later, and hitchhike on other's ideas. Creative Thinking sessions are held separately from Critical Thinking sessions. Leonardo da Vinci used to put ideas up on the wall and examine the layout. Story-Boards give total immersion in a problem as you can see how everything fits together.

Last updated: 26th October 1996

The term Synectics from the Greek word synectikos which means "bringing forth together" or "bringing different things into unified connection." Since creativity involves the coordination of things into new structures, every creative thought or action draws on synectic thinking.

Creative behaviour occurs in the process of becoming aware of problems, deficiencies, gaps in knowledge, missing elements, disharmonies, bringing together in new relationships available information; identifying the missing elements; searching for 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 Ernst

A man becomes creative, whether he is an artist or scientist, when he finds a new unity in the variety of nature. He does so by finding a likeness between things which were not thought alike before - Jacob Bronowski

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 unite seemingly disconnected elements. It is a way of mentally taking things apart and putting them together to furnish new insight for all types of problems.

William Gordon set forth three fundamental precepts of synectic theory:

Creative output increases when people become aware of the psychological processes that control their behaviour the emotional component of creative behaviour is more important than the intellectual component; the irrational is more important than the intellectual component the emotional and irrational components must be understood and used as "precision: tools in order to increase creative output.

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