Creative thinking techniques

From CEOpedia | Management online

Creative thinking techniques can contribute to achieve more by creating original ideas. They help to improve business and personal life. In general, they show how to create and get ideas. Such techniques help people to overcome their fears, uncertainties, improve their self-confidence and get rid of doubts in themselves (M. Michalko 2006, p. 3)

There are two main types of thinking. The first one is called convergent thinking which is used when the person wants to select the best idea from many ideas which were gathered during creative thinking sessions. This thinking is critical and logical. Second type is called divergent thinking. This type of thinking is the ability to elaborate diverse ideas. By developing this kind of thinking the person can become a visionary and innovator (H. La Verne Abe 2014, p. 96)

Techniques of creative thinking

In order to be more creative, a person can use different kinds of creative thinking techniques, including (H. La Verne Abe 2014, p. 97-118):

  • Finding an inspiration means that a person should find someone who inspires him or her, or something which happens and which causes that a person is ready to take action.
  • Unwinding means that sometimes it is good for a person to find a quiet place. It can be his or her favourite place like a bench in nearby park. It can clear someone's head and contribute to create new, fresh ideas.
  • Having conversations means that a person should have conversations with creative and intelligent people. It can contribute to feel more inspired.
  • Remembering about childhood means that people should e.g. visit a store for children from time to time. Childlike wonder causes that people are curious about the world which can contribute to create new, great ideas.
  • Making a mind-map means that a person should draw relations between concepts. It is a way of making creative notes. It gives the opportunity to make up new ideas.
  • Brainstorming. This is one of the most popular technique when it comes to generate new ideas. There is a common belif that more ideas are generated in a group. It is based on thinking about ideas and then modify others ideas or think how to combine and multiple them.
  • 6-3-5 method. This technique is also called brainwriting. There are six participants, everyone define a problem, a paper with the statement is passed out, each of them has to create 3 ideas and the paper of each contributor relocate 5 times, so that everyone has the opportunity to give their ideas on each problem statement.
  • Methaporic Thinking. It is known as a mental process in which different things or qualities are compared and substituted to each other. It means that e.g. a phrase which means one can be used to talk about other thing.
  • TRIZ. This technique is based on the fact that there is someone somewhere who has solved a problem which was similar to ours. TRIZ is a database where can be found solutions to many problems. When a person finds out what others did to solve a similar problem, he or she can adapt this solution and adjust it to his or her problem.

Examples of Creative thinking techniques

  • Brainstorming: Brainstorming is a creative problem-solving technique that encourages teams to come up with as many ideas as possible without initially judging or evaluating them. It is an effective way to generate lots of ideas about a specific topic, or problem, and to find out what different people think.
  • SCAMPER: SCAMPER is an acronym for seven creative thinking techniques. Each letter of the acronym stands for a different technique: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate, and Reverse. SCAMPER is an effective way to generate creative solutions to a problem or challenge by looking at the problem from different angles.
  • Mind Mapping: Mind mapping is a creative technique that involves drawing a diagram of ideas and concepts related to a particular topic or problem. It is a great way to generate ideas and can help to create relationships between different concepts.
  • Synectics: Synectics is a creative thinking technique that uses metaphors and analogies to help people look at problems in new ways. It is an effective way to think of creative solutions to complex problems by looking at them from different perspectives.
  • Six Thinking Hats: Six Thinking Hats is a creative problem-solving technique that helps people to look at problems from different angles. It is a powerful way to generate ideas and find solutions by looking at the problem from different perspectives.

Advantages of Creative thinking techniques

  • Creative thinking techniques can help to think outside the box, allowing individuals to come up with innovative and original ideas. This can help to come up with new solutions to existing problems, making it easier to succeed in business or in personal life.
  • Creative thinking techniques allow people to take risks and express their ideas without fear of criticism. This encourages people to take initiative and come up with creative solutions.
  • Creative thinking techniques are a great way to stay motivated and develop self-confidence. They can help break down mental blocks and help individuals to reach their potential.
  • Creative thinking techniques can help to identify and develop strengths and skills, making it easier to pursue new opportunities.
  • Creative thinking techniques also help to develop problem-solving skills, which can be applied in different aspects of life. This can help individuals to make better decisions and come up with better solutions.

Limitations of Creative thinking techniques

Despite the potential of creative thinking techniques to achieve more, there are some limitations that should be taken into consideration. These limitations include:

  • A lack of understanding of the creative process. It is difficult to teach creative thinking techniques without a clear understanding of the creative process. This limits the effectiveness of any creative thinking techniques.
  • Difficulty in measuring results. Since creative thinking is based on subjective interpretation, it is difficult to measure the results of creative thinking techniques.
  • Difficulty in getting buy-in from stakeholders. As creative thinking techniques are largely subjective and require trust in the process, it is difficult to get buy-in from stakeholders.
  • Difficulty in reproducing the same results. Creative thinking techniques are based on personal interpretation, which means that it is difficult to reproduce the same results.
  • Time-consuming process. Creative thinking techniques can be time-consuming and require a significant investment of time and resources.

Other approaches related to Creative thinking techniques

  • Brainstorming - it is a creative process which encourages the generation of ideas by a group of people. It involves creative thinking, critical thinking, and problem solving.
  • Mind Mapping - it is a visual approach to creative thinking and problem solving. It involves the use of diagrams to represent ideas, concepts, and tasks.
  • SCAMPER - this approach is based on seven trigger words: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse.
  • Thought Experiments - it is a method of exploring ideas and creating solutions by using imagination and logic.
  • Lateral Thinking - it is a creative problem-solving technique that encourages individuals to think outside the box and generate new ideas.
  • Synectics - it is a problem-solving technique that encourages individuals to use analogy, metaphor, and story telling to stimulate creativity.

In conclusion, Creative thinking techniques are a useful set of approaches to generate ideas and solve problems. They help to stimulate creativity and expand thinking by using different tools, such as brainstorming, mind mapping, SCAMPER, thought experiments, lateral thinking, and synectics.

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Author: Katarzyna Krzyk, Adrianna Kuzak, Julia Kotlarz