Creativity allows us to generate ideas, alternatives or opportunities that may be useful in solving problems, and in the expression of our thoughts and values to the world.
Here are some simple but effective techniques to develop and increase our creativity:
When I was learning the shading techniques, my art teacher told me that: In order for a great light to exist, there must be a pronounced shadow. The Problem Reversal technique focuses on understanding the opposites of a concept, idea, attribute, etc. in order to learn to see things backwards, inside out, and upside down.
For example, If you want to increase your sales and give the best customer service, you must start by asking yourself what is a bad service, how you can provide terrible service, what would you have to do in order to decrease your sales, why people don’t buy, etc.
- State your problem in reverse. Change a positive statement into a negative one.
- Try to define what something is not.
- Figure out what everybody else is not doing.
- Ask yourself: What If?
- Change the direction or location of your perspective
- Flip-flop results
- Turn defeat into victory or victory into defeat
The "Six Hats"
Coloured hats are used as metaphors for each state. Switching to a state is symbolized by the act of putting on a hat, either literally or metaphorically. The six hats the thinker can put on or take off are:
- White Hat | Information: Consider the information that is available, Which are the facts and figures?
- Red Hat | Emotions: Intuition, feelings, What Does your Gut Tell You? (No need to justify)
- Black Hat | Judgment and Caution: logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers, to point out why a suggestion does not fit the facts, the available experience, the system in use, etc.
- Yellow Hat | Positive Jugement: Identify why something will work and why it will offer benefits.
- Green Hat | Creativity: Alternatives, proposals, provocations and changes.
- Blue Hat | thinking about thinking: It looks not at the subject itself but at the 'thinking' about the subject (The process)
This method enables groups to separate ego from performance. Everyone can contribute to the exploration without denting egos as they are just using one of the hats. Everybody wears the same hat at the same time. It also encourages Parallel and full-spectrum thinking.
Sometimes it is really difficult for our minds to break out of our normal thinking patterns, so when we try to generate a creative idea, we are going over the same ideas repeatedly, without any results.
This technique seeks to alter our patterns of thought. It involves generating random events (words or images), which might be totally "out of context," and associate and incorporated them into the formulation of ideas for solving the problem. This process is very effective as it generates a framework for our thinking. Likewise, it requires us to rethink concepts and change our pattern of reasoning, which allows us to think differently and therefore, encourages our creativity.
Note random inputs can be words (use nouns) or images. The objective is to generate chance events, ie, do not choose the word you're going to use and always use the first word that you find. Some ways to pick a random word:
- Open a random page of the dictionary. Then, pick some words and start trying to solve problems with them and list your results.
- Make your own list of 60 words. Look at your watch and use the number of seconds or minutes to choose a word from your list.
- Use a program to generate random words. There are also many Internet sites that do.
- You can create your own list of words, which your pick from a bag or use excel to do it for you.
- Use a bag full of written words, images, little objects, etc. Now, with your eyes closed, choose something from the bag.
This technique separates our verbal and visual thinking. It consists of replacing words by images to see new and different relations between attributes.
- Divide your challenge into attributes.
- Write each attribute on a separate index card.
- On the back of each card, describe the attribute with a graphic symbol / drawing.
- With the graphic symbols facing up, mix and match the symbols to provoke ideas.
- Look for ideas and thoughts that link to your challenge.
- If you get stuck, add more attributes and graphic symbols. Alternatively, create a brand-new set of cards.
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