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The Cascade of Creativity : Page 2 of 2

The Cascade of Creativity

continued from page 1

During the 20th century, several luminaries came up with other similar processing systems. By looking at them briefly, we can see that this type of process can be applied in many situations.

Walt Disney used the concept of Three Rooms in his film production.

In room 1, everyone could come up with the most amazing dreams for the production. No criticism was allowed to sneak in.

In room 2, the dreams were assembled into a storyboard — now used ubiquitously in film production.

In room 3, the inner critics were allowed to have full reign and be externalized. It was just the overall project and no individual that was the subject of the scrutiny.

Later that same century, Edward de Bono, a proponent of lateral thinking, came up with a system of parallel thinking known as Six Thinking Hats.

This has been rolled out in many organizations around the world, both large and small. Not only does it produce amazing results but it reduces meeting times significantly. The main reason for this is that it gives focus and removes egotistical posturing from proceedings.

The group works on an issue with a different colored hat on in turn — which can be a physical hat or an imaginary hat.

The Blue Hat is concerned with control and is initially used to define the topic to be dealt with.

The White Hat is next and deals with what is known already — just the facts, no conjecture. If you don't know something then you note down that is it a fact that you don't know it as opposed to making a guess. This way it gets picked up as an action by the facilitator later.

The Red Hat allows the air to be cleared and everyone's emotions and feelings to be tabled. This is a brilliant hat to don as it allows everyone to vent their anger, fears and frustrations.

Next comes the Black Hat which allows critical judgment to be applied. Most often the negatives of the situation get aired here.

Once these three hats have been used, there is no space for negativity or fear. The space is cleared for creativity to be unleashed, much as we did in the second Illumination.

The Yellow Hat is next and the positives of the venture are brought to the fore.

The next hat is my personal favourite which I wear most of the time as a matter of course. The Green Hat allows 'blue sky' thinking to be unleashed. This is the brainstorming hat.

Incidentally I would have renamed some of them but I'm not Edward de Bono and I am sure he had his reasons.

With the Green Hat on, no idea is deemed unworthy and no other type of thinking — either negative, fearful or critical — is allowed to surface. Egos are nicely suppressed.

Finally, the Blue Hat is worn again to bring the meeting to a close and to summarize actions, roles and responsibilities going forward.

Both Walt Disney's and de Bono's systems generate real world tangible outputs — even more so when combined with the techniques in the first half of this book.

What's clear is that by breaking a task down into component parts, it becomes manageable and encourages new thinking.

What happens if you skip a step is that nothing gets done and you are just swamped with ideas that never see the real world. In the Four Element model, what happens is that they get as far as the Creative World but then leak back to the superconsciousness.

What you have done is to stir the collective mind up and someone else can now download what was your idea (or so you thought) and annoyingly bring it to market while you are busy on the 'next best thing.'

Tom Evans Renaissance Man and Imagineer Tom Evans is the author of four books and counting about creativity. More »

7/24/11