Creativity Tools 101

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1 Creativity Tls 101

2 Cntents Intrductin... 3 Prblem (re)definitin tls... 4 The reframing matrix... 4 Backwards frwards planning... 4 Assumptin busting...errr! Bkmark nt defined. Idea generatin tls... 7 Brainstrming... 7 Asking the right questins... 7 Reversal... 9 Six Thinking Hats... 9 Idea selectin tls Triage Assess n sft criteria Further surces f infrmatin On the web Bks

3 Intrductin I have argued that creativity is essential t develp remarkable prducts and thse remarkable prducts are essential fr the survival f an rganizatin, it therefre fllws that creativity is essential fr the survival f an rganizatin. I have als argued that creativity is nt the exclusive reserve f artists and geniuses, but that while it may seem that sme peple are just naturally creative (in that they make it lk easy), anyne can generate creative ideas with sme wrk and the help f the right tls. The purpse f this paper is t intrduce yu t sme f these tls and prvide yu with sme resurces t find mre. I have divided the tls intrduced here int 3 sectins relating t the stages f a creative prcess: Prblem (re)definitin Idea generatin (divergent thinking) Idea selectin (cnvergent thinking) These tls have been selected frm a huge range that yu can find in bks and n websites dedicated t creativity. I have listed a few f these resurces at the end f this paper. One f the imprtant things abut creative tls is that they shuld wrk fr the peple that use them, that is, they shuld help yu generate creative ideas. Unlike physical tls, where ften there is nly ne tl t d a jb, with creative tls there are many t d the same jb. S, if yu find that ne the tl yu have chsen is nt wrking fr yu and yur team, then leave it aside fr nw and try anther ne. Yu can always try it again later

4 Prblem (re)definitin tls The first stage f any deliberate creative prcess is t define r redefine the prblem yu are trying t slve. The fllwing tls can be used t help yu ensure yu are fcusing n the right prblems. The reframing matrix A reframing matrix is a simple technique that helps yu t lk at prblems frm a number f different viewpints. It expands the range f creative slutins that yu can generate. The apprach relies n the fact that different peple with different experience apprach prblems in different ways. What this technique helps yu t d is t put yurself int the minds f different peple and imagine the descriptins f the prblem r the slutins they give. We d this by putting the questin t be asked in the middle f a grid. We use bxes arund the grid fr the different perspectives (see example belw). One apprach t using a reframing matrix is t lk at the prblem frm the viewpints f different stakehlders in the prcess. The way, fr example, that a dctr wuld lk at a prblem might be different frm that f a restaurant wner r the children f the target grup. Try thinking f thse peple wh might have an interest in W! Games relatinship with yur target custmer hw might the frame the prblem and what slutins might they cme up with? (N.B. Where yu cme up with slutins rather than prblem statements yu can wrk back frm the slutin t see hw the stakehlder saw the prblem.) Surce: Adapted frm Backwards frwards planning Backwards frwards planning is a prcess t help yu define the prblem, and make sure yu are nt experiencing tunnel visin (yu cannt see the real prblem because yu have already decided yu knw the real prblem). The prcess has three stages

5 1. Write dwn the shrt versin f the prblem, preferably starting with "Hw t " r Hw d we. 2. If yu were t slve the prblem in statement 1, what higher-level prblem wuld it als slve? Write this dwn. Cntinue asking what higher-level prblem it slves and writing these dwn. Try t generate at least 3 prblem statements. 3. Ging back t statement 1, ask what ther benefits wuld flw frm it, if it were a slutin. Make sure these are different frm thse in stage 2. Yu can then lk at the varius definitins and decide which is the mst apprpriate statement f the prblem. As an example, yu are at hme, yur car is at the garage fr repairs and yu feel yu really need t g and d the fd shpping. Yur first statement might be: Hw d I get t the shps." If yu were t wrk dwn the list f additinal prblems this wuld slve yu might write dwn: I culd get all the fd and drink fr the week" Fllwed by: "I culd relax and nt wrry any mre abut where the fd was" Which may lead yu t: "I culd finish that painting I want t hang in the living rm" Wrking the ther way, what benefits wuld yu als have if yu culd get t the shps may lead t: I culd have a lk at sme clthes whilst I was there." "I culd enjy sme retail therapy" "I culd call in n my friend fr a chat since they live near the shp." Yu nw have 7 ptential prblem statements t chse frm, it may be that yur riginal statement is the prblem t be slved, r it may be that "Hw d I find time t cmplete the picture I'm painting" is mre imprtant t yu. Surce: Adapted frm False Faces This technique allws yu t list all yur assumptins abut the prblem and then lk at hw yu might make the reverse true. It can help yu generate ideas, it can help yu challenge assumptins, r it can help yu reframe the prblem. Here is hw it wrks: 1. State the challenge yu are trying t deal with (this is the prblem statement) write it dwn. (e.g. Hw can we encurage year ld singles t play games n the Wii?) 2. List every assumptin that yu make when thinking abut this challenge. (e.g. the target grup desn t wn a Wii, they are lnely, they dn t like cmputer games, etc.) 3. Nw challenge every assumptin, is it true discuss this with yur team (e.g. are they really lnely r d they just want mre cmpany?). Change any assumptins that yu think are nt true

6 4. Nw reverse all the assumptins yu have left (e.g. the target grup des nt wn a Wii, might becme the target grup des wn a Wii ). 5. Finally discuss hw yu might make the reverse f each assumptin true. Surce: Michalk, Michael (2006), Tinkertys: A Handbk f Creative-Thinking Techniques 2 nd Editin, Berkley, CA: Ten Speed Press, pp

7 Idea generatin tls Brainstrming Brainstrming is prbably the mst ppular and simplest tl t help generate many ideas quickly. It is very ften criticized as being ineffective, (I nce heard an arrgant advertising cpyrighter say that brainstrming is fr lsers it isn t), hwever this is partly t d with the fact that it is ften dne very badly. The key thing abut brainstrming is that yu shuld avid pre-judging (vrrdelen) any ideas generated. Here is a simple way t brainstrm: Define the prblem t be brainstrmed (r use the prblem yu have already defined using the techniques abve). Remember d nt assume that yu knw the prblem Set a time limit n the brainstrm sessin Arund 10 minutes is enugh per sessin Assign ne persn t capture all the ideas Use a white bard r flip-ver sheet t d this Make sure yu fcus n the prblem D nt evaluate r criticize any ideas: write them dwn (including any that have already been written dwn) Encurage everyne t cntribute D nt stay n ne track fr t lng Listen t the ideas and see if this gets yu thinking Lk fr assciatins Have fun Write up all the ideas and evaluate them later T generate mre ideas try t generate anther versin f the prblem and brainstrm this. By ding this many times yu can easily generate 100s f ideas in the space f an hur r s. A variatin n this technique is t make a game f brainstrming by using idea killer! cards. At the beginning f the brainstrming sessin each member f the grup is given an equal number f cards with Idea Killer! printed n them. Each time smene kills an idea (e.g. says but, that s nt pssible!, can t etc.) the persn whse idea has been killed gives the idea killer ne f their idea killer! cards, the lser is the persn with the mst idea killer cards at the end f the sessin. (Yu can think f yur wn punishment fr lsing persnally I think the idea killer shuld write up all the ideas generated int a Wrd dcument.) Asking the right questins This technique relies n asking questins abut the existing situatin (r prduct). The gal f the questins is t prmpt yu t explre ther ptins and discuss things with yur clleagues. It is especially useful in lking fr ways t imprve prducts r t deal prducts that are failing. Like brainstrming, it is imprtant t keep an pen mind, nt t kill ideas (yu - 7 -

8 might want t use the idea killer cards here t) and t capture yur answers t the questins. Belw is a list f questins that might help: Put t ther uses New ways t use it as it is nw? Substitute? Wh else instead? "Are there " Other uses if it is mdified? What else instead? Adapt What else is like this? Other ingredient? What ther idea des this suggest? Des the past ffer any parallels? What culd we cpy? Whm culd we emulate? Other material? Other prcess? Other pwer? Other place? Mdify Give it a new twist? Other apprach? "Culd we " Change meaning, clr, mtin, sund, dr, frm, shape? Other tne f vice? Use ther shapes? Rearrange? Interchange cmpnents? Make larger Add smething? "Can we " Use anther pattern? "Culd we " Allw mre time? Use anther layut? Increase frequency? Make it strnger? Make it higher? Make it lnger? Use anther sequence? Transpse cause and effect? Change pace? Change schedule? Make it thicker? Reverse? Transpse psitive and negative? Add extra value? "Can we " Hw abut ppsites? Add an ingredient? Duplicate it? Multiply it? Turn it backward? Turn it upside dwn? Reverse rles? Make smaller / less Exaggerate smething / it? Subtract smething? (if yes then what culd we subtract?) Change shes? Turn tables? "Culd we " Make it smaller? Turn ther the cheek? Cndense? Cmbine? Use a blend, an ally, an assrtment, an ensemble? Miniaturize? "Culd we " Cmbine units? Make it lwer? Make it shrter? Make it lighter? Cmbine purpses? Cmbine appeals? Cmbine ideas? Omit smething(s)? Streamline? Split it up? Understate (smething)? Surce: Adapted frm

9 Reversal Reversal is a gd tl fr imprving a prduct r a service. T use it, ask the ppsite f the questin yu want t ask, and apply the results. Example: Imagine that yu want t imprve the respnse f a service centre. Using Reversal yu wuld ask 'Hw wuld we reduce custmer satisfactin?'. After cnsidering this questin, yu might give the fllwing answers: Nt answering the phne when custmers call Nt returning phne calls Have peple with n prduct knwledge answering the phne Use rude staff Give the wrng advice Etc. After using Reversal, yu wuld ensure that apprpriate staff members were handling incming phne calls efficiently and pleasantly. Yu wuld set up training prgrams t ensure that they were giving accurate and effective advice. Surce: Six Thinking Hats This is a technique develped by Edward de Bn. It is a little mre cmplex s I have managed t lcate a Dutch translatin f the technique: SIX THINKING HATS VAN EDWARD DE BONO De techniek van Six Thinking Hats van Edward de Bn is een mdel dat vr het nderzeken van verschillende perspectieven naar een cmplexe situatie f een uitdaging kan wrden gebruikt. Het zien van dingen p diverse manieren is vaak een ged idee in strategievrming f cmplexe besluitvrmingprcessen. De techniek STH wrdt ntwrpen m individuen delbewust te helpen een verscheidenheid van perspectieven nderzeken ver een nderwerp dat van zeer verschillend kan zijn die zij het natuurlijkst zuden kunnen vernderstellen. Bij het dragen van een bepaalde het denken hed, spelen de mensen rllen, f alsf zelf in een bepaald perspectief. Bijvrbeeld, kn men de verdediger van de duivel, zelfs als spelen slechts mwille van het prduceren van bespreking. Het del van het bepleiten van de duivel is een idee delbewust uit te dagen: kritiek ben, zeken wat met het verkeerd is. Elk van de Heden wrdt genemd want een kleur die van perspectief één mnemnically beschrijvend is wanneer het dragen van de bijzndere hed gedkeurt. Bijvrbeeld is het bepleiten van de duivel wat één in wanneer het dragen van de Zwarte het Denken Hed in dienst neemt. De zes Heden Wit (Waarnemer) Witbek; Neutraal; nadruk p infrmatie beschikbare, bjectieve FEITEN, wat ndig is, he het kan wrden verkregen Rde (Zelf, andere) Brand, warmte; EMOTIES, GEVOEL, intuïtie, hunches; huidige meningen znder verklaring, rechtvaardiging - 9 -

10 Zwarte (Zelf, andere) Strenge rechter die zwarte rbe draagt; judgmental; kritiek; waarm iets verkeerd is; LOGISCHE NEGATIEVE mening. Gele (Zelf, andere) Znneschijn; ptimisme; LOGISCHE POSITIEVE mening; zekt vrdelen, wat ged is. Grene (Zelf, andere) Vegetatie; Het CREATIEVE denken; mgelijkheden en hypthesen; nieuwe ideeën De blauwe Hemel (van de Waarnemer); kel; verzicht; CONTROLE VAN PROCES, STAPPEN, ANDERE HOEDEN; vrzitter, rganisatr; het denken ver het denken De heden van de Bn zijn indicatief van beide emtinele staten evenals kaders van mening (d.w.z., perspectief waarvan een kwestie wrdt bekeken). Hij nam van nta: De emties zijn een essentieel nderdeel van nze het denken capaciteit en niet alleen extra iets dat mucks mhg nze het denken (1985, p27). Één het denken stijl (f de hed) zijn niet inherent beter dan een andere. Een vlledig, evenwichtig team erkent de behefte aan alle heden pdat het team alle aspecten verweegt van de kwesties zij nder gen zien. 1. Hfd vrdelen van de methde van Six Thinking Hats 2. Sta te m dingen znder risic te zeggen 3. Creëren vrlichting dat er veelvudige perspectieven p de dichtbije kwestie zijn 4. Geschikt mechanisme vr switching gears 5. Regels vr het spel van het denken 6. Het denken van de nadruk 7. Leid tt het creatievere denken 8. Verbeter cmmunicatie 9. Verbeter besluitvrming Surce:

11 Idea selectin tls If yu have been successful with idea generatin then yu shuld have many ideas: the next stage is t screen these and select the nes t explre further. Triage Sme f the ideas yu generated might be clearly gd r clearly impssible, but there is a third categry f ideas: thse that culd lead t ther interesting ideas. One way t find these ideas is t use a system f triage. This mean allcating a mark t each idea frm the fllwing list: A gd A weak r impssible An interesting idea Yu can d this in a number f ways, but ne fun and interactive way is t write each idea n an index card, Pst-it nte r piece f paper and then place them n a surface that has been divided int the three categries. Each f yu shuld take sme ideas and then place them in the categry yu think they fit. Once yu have allcated each idea yu shuld then discuss as a team whether each idea is in the right place thse wh want t change things have t argue why. Once yu have agreed n the final placing, yu can get rid f the weak / impssible ideas, keep the gd ideas and finally discuss the interesting ideas. This is gd t d because discussing interesting ideas ften lead t new gd ideas. Assess n sft criteria Een idee kan lange tijd meilijk te berdelen zijn p 'harde' criteria. Bij prductideeën zijn dit criteria als verkpaantallen, prijs, technische haalbaarheid, investeringsmvang et cetera. Het vervelende is dat k p een mment dat berdeling p dergelijke criteria ng niet mgelijk is, het tch berdeeld met wrden. Bijvrbeeld wanneer het management dient te beslissen f er steun verleend dient te wrden aan de verdere ntwikkeling. Of in een creativiteitssessie, wanneer er een cnvergerende stap genmen dient te wrden. In plaats van te berdelen p harde, bjectieve criteria, kan er gebruik wrden gemaakt van de vlgende 'zachtere', subjectieve criteria: 1. Relatieve vrdeel: in welke mate wrdt het idee waargenmen als superieur aan andere ideeën, eigen en cncurrerende prducten? 2. Cmpatibiliteit: in heverre past een idee binnen de heersende waarden en nrmen, strategie, huidige prducten en ideeën uit het verleden? 3. Cmplexiteit: in welke mate is het idee cmplex: is het idee, de markt f de technlgie erachter meilijk te begrijpen en te ntwikkelen? 4. Cmmuniceerbaarheid: in heverre is het idee ver te brengen? Dit hangt samen met de hierbven besprken visualisatie en 'kracht' van een idee

12 5. Prbeerbaarheid: zijn er mgelijkheden m verder vertruwd te raken met het idee, ermee te experimenteren et cetera? 6. Ervaren risic: in welke mate wrdt (de verdere ntwikkeling van) het idee als risicvl gezien? Denk aan bijvrbeeld financiële en imag risic's, maar k de invled van het idee p andere prducten f activiteiten. Surce:

13 Further surces f infrmatin On the web Prblem slving tls: Creativity tls: General (sme creativity tls in Dutch) Bks De Bn, E., 2004, De Bn's Thinking Curse, BBC Active, Lndn. (ISBN: ) Hale-Evans, R., 2006, Mind Perfrmance Hacks: Tips & Tls fr Overclcking Yur Brain, O Reilly Media Inc., Sebastpl: CA. (ISBN: ) Michalk, M. 2006, Thinkertys: A Handbk f Creative-Thinking Techniques, Ten Speed Press. (ISBN: )