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On keeping a dream diary: creative problem solving techniques

I had a dream like is when I was 10 or 11 in Beamish Dormitory at Boarding Prep School. I was set upon by two musketeers and killed. I returned to the same dream the next night behind them and ‘got them’ first. I guess I had learnt how to cope with some set of shifting boy, gang, friendships.

I’m not at home and was woken two often last night: doors banging, couple chatting above my head, dog barking and a fax machine going off. This woke me in the middle of a recurring dream that related to a database of over 100 videos I am reviewing.

Currently I have a database, in columns and rows in Word.

It is hard to read. I need a simple way to see, share and add to this.

My dreams gave me ‘Top Trumps’.

A quick Google shows why this works: a screen grab, some basic facts on a single sheet (or card). I could even order a bespoke pack.

On keeping a dream diary: creative problem solving techniques

I had a dream like is when I was 10 or 11 in Beamish Dormitory at Boarding Prep School. I was set upon by two musketeers and killed. I returned to the same dream the next night behind them and ‘got them’ first. I guess I had learnt how to cope with some set of shifting boy, gang, friendships.

I’m not at home and was woken two often last night: doors banging, couple chatting above my head, dog barking and a fax machine going off. This woke me in the middle of a recurring dream that related to a database of over 100 videos I am reviewing.

Currently I have a database, in columns and rows in Word.

It is hard to read. I need a simple way to see, share and add to this.

My dreams gave me ‘Top Trumps’.

A quick Google shows why this works: a screen grab, some basic facts on a single sheet (or card). I could even order a bespoke pack.

10 mind-maps of the precepts required to deliver creative problem solving successfully

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2

3

4

From OU MBA B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'

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From OU MBA B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'

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From OU MBA B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'

7

From OU MBA B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'

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From OU MBA B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'

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From OU MBA B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'

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From OU MBA B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'

Creative Problem Solving and the Buffalo in the room

A week away from an end of module exam completing the Open University Business School Module ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change’ (B822) explains my unusual absence from the blogosphere (or at least this part of it). I am re-learning how to write long hand. The last time I sat an exam I used a fountain pen, this time round I am resolved to using biros. As a sports coach I should understand that I am about to put my hand through a marathon and that lack of the right kind of training means I will get cramp.

When will it be possible to sit an exam and type up a response?

Meanwhile I stumbled upon this. It is timely for anyone faced with an exam on 24th April for B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’, so much so I am going to transcribe this, analyse and learn its lessons as going through old exam papers this short video, in a fun and engaging way, answers to questions precisely.

This is why I chose to study B822 as an elective within the Masters in Open & Distance Education.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFYLeT9q8tk

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Workshop

I had a Swim Plan; the idea worked on several levels.

As a professional swimming coach (squads to Regional & National Standard) I am used to planning many hours or ‘activity’ that in some cases operate within tolerances of PB+/- 5 seconds. i.e. within 5 seconds of their ‘Personal Best Time’. With this exercise I built-in +/- 5 minutes with a set of exercises where none lasted longer than 15 minutes.

For the fun of it the group were shown how to scull in a couple of minutes at the start, then how to flutter kick at the end.

I doubt this used up more than 90 seconds in total of a 90 minute CPS workshop.

There were several formal CPS techniques, two quite physical the others more cerebral.

  1. Samurai, Mother-in-law, Tiger
  2. Human Sculpture
  3. Problem Definition
  4. Help/Hinder (See Above)
  5. Problem Review
  6. Time Line
  7. Advantages, Limites & Unique Qualities

There diverge/converge pattern was followed, though I am glad I came across the idea of ‘clustering’ as this better represented an intermediary phase that occurred more than once.

I am looking at where to go next with these as being someone who clearly likes being on their feet, directing and coaching (I have directed well over 150 training & information videos in my career, often with actors or large teams) I rather took to the unscripted, guided improvisation that is the lot of the facilitator.

 I was a Wembley Arena on Saturday for the induction of some 10,000 of us ‘Games makers’.

Now that would be a group to facilitate!

Creative Problem Solving Workshop (B822: Creativity, Innovation & Change)


I had a Swim Plan; the idea worked on several levels.

As a professional swimming coach (squads to Regional & National Standard) I am used to planning many hours or ‘activity’ that in some cases operate within tolerances of PB+/- 5 seconds. i.e. within 5 seconds of their ‘Personal Best Time’. With this exercise I built in +/- 5 minutes with a set of exercises where none lasted longer than 15 minutes.

For the fun of it the group were shown how to scull in a couple of minutes at the start, then how to flutter kick at the end.

I doubt this used up more than 90 seconds in total of a 90 minute CPS workshop.

There were several formal CPS techniques, two quite physical the others more cerebral.

  1. Samurai, Mother-in-law, Tiger
  2. Human Sculpture
  3. Problem Definition
  4. Help/Hinder
  5. Problem Review
  6. Time Line
  7. Advantages, Limites & Unique Qualities

There diverge/converge pattern was followed, though I am glad I came across the idea of ‘clustering’ as this better represented an intermediary phase that occured more than once.

It worked.

I am looking at where to go next with these as being someone who clearly likes being on their feet, directing and coaching (I have directed well over 150 training & information videos in my career, often with actors or large teams) I rather took to the unscripted, guided improvisation that is the lot of the facilitator.

Last Saturday I was a Wembley Arena for the induction of some 10,000 of us ‘Gamesmakers’.

Now that would be a group to facilitate!

REFERENCE

Ackoff, R. “Systems, Messes and Interactive Planning” Portions of Chapters 1 and 2 of Redesigning the Future. New York/London, 1974.

App. I (2011) B822 Tutorial 21 Jan 2012 Guilford

Henry, J (2010) Creative Techniques Library

Henry, J with Martin, J., Bell., R and the B822 Course Team(2010) Book 2 Managing Problems Creatively

Kirton, M.J. (1987) ‘Adaptors and Innovators. Cognitive Style and Personality’. In S.G. Isaksen (ed.), Frontiers of Creativity Research, Buffalo: Bearly Ltd.

Osborn, A.F. (1993) Applied Imagination, Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving (3rd revised edn, 1st edn 1953). Creative Education Foundation Press, Buffalo.

Ritchey, T; (2007) Wicked Problems: Structuring Social Messes with Morphological Analysis, Swedish Morphological Society, last revised 7 November 2007.

Rittel, H (1972) ‘On the planning crisis: systems analysis of the “First and second generations”, Bedriftsokonomen, No. 8, pp. 390-6.

Tassoul, M & Buijs, J (2007) Clustering: An Essential Step from Diverging to Converging. Creativity and Innovation Management. Vol. 16, Number 1.

Wherret, R (2011) B822 Residential School 12th January 2011, Marriott Hotel, Heathrow.

Next Post

Griggs (1985) idea generation as someone else.

Easier to be silly in character (see Superheroes)

1) start with conventional brainstorming to sift ideas.

2) individual or joint role play to develop it further.

Our subgroup we busy having a go with finger paints while our fellow participants went off with balloons and masks. One of this number then spent much of the afternoon, even after the session, with two balloons stuffed up the front of his jumper. (We’re an all male group).

The night before someone had played another participant’s wife in a ‘Human Sculpture’. You get used to the idea of this, yet another person had been ‘The Army, or MOD’ while yet another had been an ‘ego’ as distinct from the person.

This is the point of role play. Feels very Ibsenesque. Or Brecht. Theatre of the absurd.

REFERENCE

Griggs, R.E. (1985) ‘A Storm of Ideas’, reported in Training, 22, 66 (November)

Based on: VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed., Van Nostrand. Technique 4.48, p. 163

The School of Communication Arts

As a 1987 exercise to promote the School of Communication Arts, Designer/Art Director Jan Moscowitz and I came up with this. The Dean didn’t run with the idea, though I have used it successfully as a marketing tool more than once. I’d like to do this as a video, with student heads popped up through a board and a Willy Wonker Dean wielding a hose pipe.

Four hours with students at my alma mater The School of Communications Arts where I listen to six teams out of eight share their thinking on current and past creative briefs on everything from Vogel’s Bread and Nespresso by way of Sodastream and Thames tap water. Great that the OU MBA module B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change’ had something to contribute when I was asked what to do if you get ‘blocked’. I quoted some of the creative problem solving techniques I have used or observed from role playing and human sculpture, to dream working, visualization and mind mapping.

Then a walk from Jonathan Street, Vauxhall to Tower Road, Covent Garden via Westminster and Trafalgar Square to network at a Skillset sponsored event where I met Raj, Natasha and Lesley (as well as a producer freshly returned from Ravensbourne course on 3d).

Creative Problem Solving Exercise

Today’s Creative Problem Solving workshop went well.

Why?

I planned, but didn’t over plan. I kept it simple, doing a combination of what I know, what I’ve done or had done to me, with an intuitive inclination to two straightforward exercises that I stumbled upon in the B822 Techniques Library: ‘Advantages, Limits and Unique Qualities’ is the first exercise in the book. This sounded like my people, something they’d be familiar with. That they could do. I had it down as an opening exercise, then rejigged it to the end of the cession to assess our plan of action. Then there was Help/Hinder, I’m glad to say a ‘pure OUBS’ exercise as if was devised by Jane Henry and John Martin in 1997 for the Creative Problem-solving Guide.

It helps that

a) I am a professional (though part time) swimming coach.

b) As a director, often working with members of the public of client members of staff, I can give clear direction and put people at their ease

It matters enormously when you stand up in front of 10, 20 sometimes 60 young athletes that you know, to the minute what you want to do (and know why it has to be done). It matters to your assistant coaches too. This isn’t so different. I will be on my feet for 90 minutes (a senior squad group runs 2 hours, the junior swimmers an hour). A handwritten plan might suffice, often put into a day per page diary. This gets written up on a large whiteboard poolside. With swimmers this is very much for them to see bit by bit what is expected of them, but it also provides for the stressed-out coach with a million things on their mind with an immediate aide memoire. Swimmers perform to the second. At the top level we expect them to swim within the tinniest of tolerances, hitting during training a specific, personal time of Personal Best (PB) + a number of seconds. The expert amongst them do it.

I digress.

This was a different kind of class entirely. Adult swimmers, I could say. Not a group of unknowns though, with strangers I may have thrown them in a the deep end, but I knew with my colleagues that resting their legs in the water, a Jacuzzi perhaps or floating around in the shallow end would be enough. I was right, finger-painting, super-hero role play, or hypnosis would have been the equivalent of Mr Bean on the High Diving Board.

It would be egalitarian, whatever their position (we had directors, managers and officers). In this respect, I would have to take it carefully, advancing them into exercises and responding as they do. In practice each planned exercise came off and with care I kept people engaged in what I wanted them to do, even where I sensed they were feeling a little uncomfortable.

Laughter in the warm-up exercise helped.

WARM UP

It felt appropriate as someone they know to be a swimming coach to do a short ‘poolside’ swimming related practical. My initial thought had been ‘hot potato’ a version of what we did at Residential School and I see trotted out all the time, the throw the ball, say your name add an adjective pass it on. Exactly what I do with young swimmers as they join a squad for the first time and will soon be competing together. In this case, with one exception everyone knew each other very well. To begin to form a bond between strangers yes.

To teach sculling I get swimmers to place their hands on their face, look at the shape of their hands, then describe ‘infinity’ elbows in hands in front of them. They did a bit of this and I added floating off the bottom of the pool, making whirlpools and polishing a bald man’s head.

We did Samurai Mother-in-law, Tiger in a Tutorial. I felt a quick team go of Paper, Scissors, Stone would be a valuable intermediary step. I can see now that I have this set of steps I want them to take with me, and that I have to be the judge of how to place the ‘stones’. Here I am still looking for an easy buy in.

Team Game : Paper Scissors Stone

Two goes at this and we were ready for the next one.

Team Game : Samurai Mother-in-law, Tiger

The first of these drew laughter, the second fits of giggles. I don’t know what the scores were and didn’t want to start thinking about doing it often enough to find a winning team so swiftly moved on.

(More to follow once I have extracted the confidential or the controversial)

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