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Top 10: creative thinking tools…

1: reversal: a common technique, and a way many have found their fortune – by simply reversing a conventional idea or way of thinking – eg: take the pizza to the customer, rather than have the customer come for the pizza (domino pizza); sell the basic doll then add the clothes, rather than sell a fully clothed doll (Barbie)

2: like/not like: choose an object at random, then list its characteristics.  Then consider in what way your current issue or problem is like/not like that object and its characteristics

3: imaging: draw your issue or problem, then have other people say what they see – then add their amendments to your drawing, as a way of solving or reinterpreting your problem

4: film clues: watch a film (or read a book) mindful of the clues it might give you to undestanding or solving the problem you are concerned with.  Often the film or book will then provide you with an insight, because you are ‘mindful’ to make a connection

5: take a walk: go for a walk (fresh air and walking can be stimulants); then notice 10 objects en route – eg post box, traffic cone, tree,etc.  Then again – in what way is your problem like/not like each object

6: fill in the box: create a page full of 12 or so rectangles, about the size of a standard matchbox.  Then draw/doodle a picture in each box.  This helps the mind become more creative – make sure you have something in each box….

7: De Bono’s 6 hats: look at your issue or problem through several perspectives (each represented by a colourerd hat) – white = objective, neutral, facts; red = feelings and emotions involved; yellow = positive aspects; black = negative aspects; green = fresh, new ideas; blue = overview, conclusion, detached view

8: involve others: don’t keep the issue to yourself; ask others for their contributions; asking those who are also involved in the issue or problem can help, because they have an interest in the solution; but equally asking others who have nothing to do with the issue or problem can be productive, since they come at it with a fresh pair of eyes

9: out there or in here? we often see problems as ‘out there’ ie in the external world – so we look there for the solutions.  But equally, the problem could be mainly to do with our internal self – the way we see things, our bias, our assumptions.  So always look internally, for possible causes of the problem, as well as for solutions

10: sleep on it: the brain has an immense and complex capacity for problem solving; if you put the problem ‘on the back burner’, then parts of your brain will continue to process the problem and help you find a solution, unconsciously – often when you are asleep.  Distraction also has the same effect: if you’ve struggled with a problem to no positive effect, do something different, to distract yourself – and you may well come back to the problem refreshed, with a new set of ideas

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