Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The ABCD of Creative Thinking

Here we look at the four basic element of creative thinking 

A - Alternative thinking
B - Beyond thinking
C - Convergent thinking and
D - Divergent thinking

The ABCD of Creative Thinking

  • A - Alternative Thinking as a problem analysis technique - Look at the problem through a different lens - What is the problem that you wish to solve - How would a 4 year old kid look at this problem - How would Walt Disney or Steve Jobs look at this problem, How would Mahatma Gandhi look at this problem - I created a powerful deck of 108 triggers for looking at a problem through different lens (on 27 August, 2011) - I have been using it at all my Innovation workshops - we get many good ideas and it is very popular.  I will be sharing this deck in my blog posts.
  • B - Beyond Thinking is also a problem defining technique - but it does it by by visualizing the ideal solution (without being bogged down by current constraints or how to make it work)
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    • The Nine Dots puzzle is a classic example of Beyond thinking - in fact this puzzle gave rise to the phrase "Out-of-the-box-thinking" 
    • Visualize the Ideal Solution - Go beyond the current solutions, technologies, paradigms - go beyond the box - Stretch the paradigms - Think out of the Box - Think of Ideality (IFR - Ideal Final Result) - What will the Ideal solution look like - If you are the omnipotent GOD, how will you solve the problem - dont be limited by current constraints - think of the impossible - then work backwards to see how close you can get to the ideal solution. IFR is one of the foundation pillars of TRIZ - Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (Altshuller).
Here Ellen Domb (TRIZ Expert) explains we can use IFR to define the problem to be solved - http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/1998/06/d/index.htm (TRIZ Journal is a great resource for mastering TRIZ techniques)

The two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.
  • D - Encourage Divergent thinking - Divergent thinking allows many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the so-called Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen.

    SCAMPER is a popular divergent thinking tool - the 7 triggers help us think along 7 directions to solve the problem at hand - starting from simple incremental triggers like what can I substitute, what can I combine to powerful disruptive triggers like what can I eliminate, what can I Reverse....

    How to use SCAMPER and generate ideas - http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCT_02.htm

  • C - Wrap it up with Convergent thinking  - Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is a process whereby one possible solution for a particular probem is generated. This method is measured using the Remote Associates Task method, where three unrelated words are presented to the participants, words such as 'time', 'hair' and 'stretch'. The particpants are then asked to identify the common link: in this case, 'long'.

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