Edward Glassman : Useful Creativity Triggers While Working Alone
Useful Creativity Triggers While Working Alone
By Edward Glassman, PhD
Use this useful sequence of idea-generating creativity triggers when working alone. Each creativity trigger in this sequence builds on the previous one and reaches into higher levels of creative thinking. Expect amazement and delight at the outcome, an explosion of unique ideas.
Start by listing numerous problem statements. Record these on regular paper if you wish, but I prefer to move around writing on large flip chart paper on an easel or the wall. This movement triggers my creative thinking. Or you may record problem statements on index cards, one idea per card to facilitate sorting. See my book for descriptions of 'How-to' problem statements and 'Idea Card.'
Check the six to ten problem statements that you find most interesting and impacting. From these, choose three quite different problem statements to tackle. Now start using the creativity triggers to generate ideas.
• Non-Evaluative Listing.
• Improve Bizarre Trigger-Ideas.
Then combine the most bizarre ideas and use the outcome as a creativity trigger to spark a better idea. Use the bizarre ideas ingeniously to trigger useful ideas.
• Weird To The Workable Idea.
Use the weird idea to trigger a better idea and write it in the second quadrant.
Use the better idea to trigger a practical idea and write it in the third quadrant. Finally, use the practical idea to trigger a workable idea and write it in the fourth quadrant. Turn this idea into a sensible, practical solution.
Repeat as needed. The more bizarre and weird the first idea, the more likely you will produce an unexpected and unusual workable idea, a paradigm shift.
• Idea Gallery.
Walk around the room and write ideas directly on the papers. The ideas that accumulate on the papers will trigger other ideas as you wander around. Such movement often helps creative thinking. Ask other people to contribute. Expect unexpected ideas.
Hang flip chart paper in the hall outside your office. Write one problem statement on the top. Ask each passersby to write ideas on the flip chart paper. Expect great results.
A FORCED-COMBINATION: Take an imaginary trip to Africa or Venus and bring back something absurd to combine with the problem at hand. Also use imaginary objects from Asia or Mars as triggers to spark unexpected ideas.
• Idea Card.
• Combining Logical and Bizarre Ideas.
In the first 15 minutes, create bizarre and silly ideas only; non-evaluatively list these on paper. In the next 15 minutes, generate only logical solutions that make sense; non-evaluatively list these on 3" x 5" index cards, one idea to a card.
Finally, combine the ideas of the two lists and develop new, unexpected ideas. Expect it to work and it will.
• Other Creativity Triggers.
When you finish generating ideas, convert them into a quality solution: use forced withdrawal and combine ideas into trigger-proposals (step 5 in my book), identify the criteria for a quality solution (step 6), and convert your trigger proposal into a quality solution (step 7). Achieving creative quality solutions adds enjoyment to problem solving.
Apply this sequence of creativity triggers to your life. Clarify a problem that continually recurs in your life, a sure sign you have not clarified it effectively enough to ensure that you focus on the right problem. Use the sequence of creativity triggers described above. Allot enough time so you can do justice to creative thinking. Seize opportunities working alone.
Make action plans to do these things periodically (step 8). •
© 2011 by Edward Glassman. All rights reserved.
Edward Glassman, PhD was the President of the Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc., and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program For Team Effectiveness And Creativity. More »