Creative Thinking

What's it about?

See also Facilitated Meetings.

The ability to think creatively is a learnable skill. It is also a discipline that needs to be practiced habitually in order to be most effective.

The most important skill is to learn and practice viewing problems and situations from different perspectives. And there are several techniques that help you to do this.

Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats framework is a simple, yet effective way of discussing and thinking about issues in a deliberate and consistent manner. Briefly, each hat represents a way of thinking about the issue (the Blue Hat is used to think about the thinking itself and to control the outcomes). Everybody wears the same hat, so that conflicted thinking is avoided. The White Hat is to gather facts, the Green Hat is to consider creative alternatives and for brainstorming, the Yellow Hat is to foster can-do thinking and avoid negative fault-finding, whilst the Black Hat is to deliberately focus on potential problems and obstacles. Finally, the Red Hat is to focus on feelings and intuition, often overlooked in a discussion, yet emotions tend to surreptitiously rule the conduct and outcome of most meetings.

Various Creative Thinking techniques are covered, depending on the time and scope and nature of the busines requirement. Typical techniques might include Lateral Thinking (attacking a problem from a side angle or working backwards from the desired outcome) or TRIZ or ASIT (systematic methods for Inventive Thinking). Simple brainstorming techniques (such as introducing random elements) are also included.

Download the simple Creative Thinking Guide [right-click and Save As...].

Who benefits the most?

People who solve problems as part of their work, as well as managers or directors reviewing strategy or exploring new opportunities.

For example, product designers, architects and engineers, lawyers, teachers, marketing managers, sales managers, consultants, entrepreneurs and senior directors.

What are the outcomes?

There are several outcomes. In the short term, you will learn a number of basic thinking techniques to help solve problems, ask interesting questions that may lead to productive outcomes and explore opportunities.

In the long term, you will develop an appreciation for other people's points of view (and be able to work more productively with clients, staff and suppliers) and be open to business opportunities as the market or demographics changes, or as a result of significant political, economic or business events.

An interesting side effect is that business meetings will be more efficient (typically a time saving of 50%) as a result of using the Six Thinking Hats framework.

Course Duration

An initial 2-day course is ideal, but shorter modularized courses can be designed, depending on your specific application.

I recommend following up these courses with facilitated workshops, where I lead meetings to discuss specific issues. Also see the page about Facilitated Strategy Retreats.