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Creative Problem Solving: Synectics

Is this where it all began; where creative techniques were formalised to help resolve problems?

This is the 1940s and 1950s. W.J.J. Gordon and G.M. Prince develop what comes to be called ‘Synectics’.

It benefits from having a trained facilitator, though once you know what you’re doing you can do it alone.

The Techniques Library offers a brief outline, for more refer to Nolan (1989)

PRELIMINARY PLANNING

Who owns the problem and does this person have the authority to do something about it?

Consider the scope of the problem, the number and quality of solutions required and set realistic expectations.

PHASE 1

  • Refine the problem as a springboard
  • Generate other springboard

PHASE 2

  • A springboard ‘owner’ justifies their work.
  • Ideas are generated to make it work.
  • Understanding is checked
  • List the solution and only then attach the problems these could resolve.
  • Recyle or end.

REFERENCE

Gordon, W.J.J. (1961) Synectics, New York, Harper and Row

Prince, G.M. (1970) The Practice of Creativity, New York, Collier Books.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of structured problem solving, “nd ed., Van Nostrand Reinhold. Technique 4.57, pp. 182-95

Based on: Nolan, V. (1989) The Innovator’s Handbook, London, Sphere Book.

Creative Problem Solving: Selling your ideas

B822 Techniques Library ‘Factors in ‘Selling’ ideas

Context

  • Timing
  • Audience
  • Idea champion

Content

Use simple language

Use a clear statement of the need for the idea. Describe the problem your idea will solve and explain why it needs to be solved.

  • Present both pros and cons
  • Provide evidence
  • Stress key points
  • Anticipate questions
  • Be persistent

Based on: VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed., Van Norstrand Reinhold. Technique p. 285

Creative Problem Solving Technique Library ‘Fresh Eye’ and Networking

Don’t get stuck in a specific way of doing things.

Get people with no idea of what the problem is about to take a look.

Encourage or permit niave ideas.

Makes me think of Clancy in ‘Being There’.

Use the WWW. (Ask in Linkedin, Quora etc:)

More from VanGundy (1988)

Creative Problem Solving Technique Library ‘Implementation Checklists’

Implementation Checklists (VanGundy, 1988)

  • Resources
  • Motivation
  • Resistance
  • Procedures
  • Structures
  • Policies
  • Risk
  • Power
  • Clashes
  • Climate

Implementation Checklist (Isaksen et al., 1994)

  1. Relative advantage
  2. Compatibility
  3. Complexity
  4. Trialability
  5. Observability

This I can use

Implementation checklist (Isaksen et al., 1994)

1. RELATIVE ADVANTAGE

  • a. Does your plan demonstrably improve on what’s currently done?
  • b. What advantages/benefits might there be to accepting it?
  • c. Who may gain from it?
  • d. How will adopting it reward others or me?
  • e. How to emphasise its benefits to all?

2. COMPATIBILITY

  • a. Does it show consistency with current practice/thinking?
  • b. Can it be shown to meet a particular group’s needs?
  • c. What group(s) would endorse it, its goals and actions?
  • d. Can it be named/packaged more favourably?

3. COMPLEXITY

  • a. Is it easy to understand?
  • b. Can it be explained clearly to different people?
  • c. Does it take long to communicate to others?
  • d. How might it be clarified, made simple, easier to understand?
  • e. Can I demonstrate the new/object’s ease of use?

4. TRIALABILITY

  • a. How to reduce uncertainty concerning its new elements?
  • b. How can the adopted try out sections before deciding to use it all?
  • c. How to encourage adopters to try part of it?
  • d. If it needs full adoption, but they insist on partial trials, what then?
  • e. How to change it to make it more easily tried?

5. OBSERVABILITY

  • a. How easy is it for an adopter to find/obtain it? Is it visible?
  • b. Can it be made more visible? How?
  • c. How to make it easier to understand?
  • d. How to best communicate it?
  • e. Are there reasons for not making it visible now?

6. OTHER QUESTIONS

  • a. What other resources could help? How best to use them?
  • b. What important obstacle are there? How to overcome them?
  • c. How to deal with challenges/opportunities it creates?
  • d. What might initiate action? And the next steps?
  • e. How to build feedback into it to allow future improvements?

REFERENCE

Isaksen, S.G., Dorval, K.B . and Treffinger, D.J. (1994) Creative Approaches to Problem Solving, Dubuque, Iowa, Kendall/Hunt p.305-9

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd. ef., Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 255-6

Creative Problem Solving Technique Library Metaplan

I knew a Metaplan moderator well and become familiar with the technique which he taught in moderated groups all across Europe (in several languages).

  • Cards of various shapes and sizes
  • A logical process

REFERENCE

Schnelle, E. (1979) The Metaplan Method: communication Tools for Planning and Learning Groups.

Business Week (1976) Industrial Edition, N0, 2436, 14 June 1976, p. 90G

‘The Providence Plan’ (1994) http:qqq.brown.edu/Departments/Taubman_Center/plan.ecap_ch2.html

Grayson Perry and Rose Tremain on Creativity

I meant to share this at the time of the broadcast a month of six weeks ago. Life and an OU TMA got in the way.

Please offer your thoughts and share

These are notes, things I picked out, some reflection on my take on all of this. Perhaps we are like minds? Perhaps not? I’m trying to make sense of it … I’m not saying I’ve made sense of it here or in a hundred or more posting on a similar theme that I have made online over the last decade reading the likes of Stephen Pressfield, Norman Mailer and Ben Okri, even David Ogilvy) who amongst many creatives have chosen to share their wisdom with the wider world.

To be successful and creative is a rare thing, it isn’t simply a result of luck or talent or endeavour … a mind might be able to self-regulate and focus once it has found its medium and voice, but just as helpful are those around you who create parameters, who set deadlines, who chase you with a stick or reward you with a carrot.

In this BBC Radio 4 broadcast Grayson Perry explored the myths and misconceptions of creativity.

What does it take?

Like all things, hard work and single-mindedness.

From my point of view I see myself as a Catherine Wheel that has been lit and fallen of its stand – I spit and twist, sending out ideas all over the place. Not the best way forward.

The Myths and Misconceptions were:

    • The Eureka Moment (Spoke to Terry Pratchet)

 

  • Anyone can do it (Spoke to Rose Tremain)

 

 

  • Drugs are good for you. (But not for Satre)

 

 

  • A bid mad

 

 

  • Britain’s got talent (Spoke to Hussein Shelian)

 

 

  • Creative Genius

 

 

  • Need to have suffered an early trauma (Ray Talis)

 

 

We are reminded the ‘creativity’ is a central part of the UK economy.

For 17 years I actively contributed to this. My wilderness years, the last eight, have resulted in very little output (if that means getting it out of the front door). I stack it. I’d prefer to see these ideas compost and die than give my ideas to the world.

It is essential that creativity has institutional underpinning.

How will this manifest itself with the cuts to arts funding now being proposed by the coalition government in the UK.

or is it necessary. Whilst education in the UK has its faults it nonetheless appears to favour and permit the individual so that talent can develop. This must be the state system, private schools are a sausage machine for exam results, they have to be given what parents are forking out.

‘Creativity is mistakes.’

Says Grayson Perry, he has this carved into concrete across the mezzanine floor of his studio. You try, you fail, you try again. I would like to suppose I haven’t tried hard enough to fix my failures (or what I perceive as failures). At time though I feel if I keep on trying I would eventually strip back a 90,000 novel to a few words.

Imaginative power is ‘looking, looking, looking’ to which Rose Tremain added, it is ‘listening, listening, listening.’

I’m a looker, so I don’t know how I’ve ended up writing.

You can never be fully relaxed on holiday.

I do, but sailing and skiing do occupy your head if you fall off cliffs and like to race dinghies. Moments of near-death are exhilarating, as those times the elements sweep you along.

I hate the computer as a writing tool, this facility to edit does me no favours. yet a writer Grayson interviews said the computer allowed him to write, that until then he had no way to start straight in with a few thoughts, some scenes (like episodes in a film), and assemble it all in a non-linear way.

I’ve worked so hard with programmes like Power Structure and Final Draft but somehow always tie myself in knots trying to add or remove a character or scene or changing the ending or beginning.

‘Letting go at the end – that’s as good as it will get.’ Says Rose Tremain.

A year of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and my last session was driving me to ‘finish something.’ I can, but there needs to be someone with a stick harrying me along, a reward at the end would help, reassuring words along the way too …

My notes here (a month or so after the broadcast) say something about ‘investigating in a way that is new and aiding their creativity by giving them love and boundaries.’

I would run with a lover, with the intensity of an unfulfilled affair. Something to make the heart race. I once spent a day drawing a girl I lusted for … she was happy to be naked for me. I compelled myself into a state of denial without able to control my arousal. It all went into the drawing, the excited, confident marks across the page.

What about the University of East Anglia Creative Writing Course?

I’ve locked at the details and would be applying for 2011. Don’t have the money. Anyone want to sponsor me? In return for a percentage of the royalties that would of course come about a year or two later?

Pretty please?

Or the MA in Fine Art at Sussex University?

‘A life’s work without any expectation of reward.’

My wife caught this line and said that was me. She should know, she’s not had much out of me these last eight years. The novels I promised to write were written, but are considerably short of an edit I would send out. I would need to shut myself away from everything for 12 weeks.

Do you have somewhere I could hide?

Exam conditions six to nine hours a day, seven days a week. Not any man made disturbance – nature I can tolerate, nature I love. A hermitage on Farnes island would do, a ski lodge up a mountain pre-Season. somewhere. An empty barn, drained swimming pool, decommissioned nuclear power station.

Impulsive ideas that I run with:

    • A chess set made out of branded bottles of water.

 

  • Every ski run in the Ski Resorts of Val d’Isere and Tignes reconstructed as transects showing their true length and fall.

 

 

  • A short film about watersprites living in a public swimming pool

 

 

  • Story ideas galore for TV series or film.

 

 

  • A 6ft canvass of Lewes Castle in the snow from a series of photographs that could have been taken 800 years ago.

 

‘When you are creating something you are drawing on so many parts of the brain.’

This was in response to someone with an MRI scan who claims to have identified creativity. It doesn’t work like that, indeed, the creative mind goes more slowly … it takes it times over these connections. It thinks, how else could it ever deliver anything original?

So when yo relax, you let go, that is when you have your great ideas. I resolved the ending to a story I haven’t touched for three years on a dog walk so long I found worried messages on the mobile phone I had left in the car. My mobile is rarely on.

‘The distressful bread of the day to day.’ Said Rose Tremain.

Did I get that right?

Grayson Perry talked about his Inner Shed.

I have my inner shed, what I need is a ‘room of my own.’ It’s hard to be creative perched on the end of the marital bed in a tiny room that is stacked to the ceiling with possessions that call for occupancy of a house twice the size.

Fretting over the non-blog affordances of the OU Blogging environment I have moved to EduBlogs where you will find me under ‘Mymindbursts.’

Should institutions such as the OU ditch their own platforms and assemble the best off the shelf offerings in one place? What this environment lacks is personalisation, as well as stats, friends, freedom to add apps and plug-ins and all the rest of it.

This is a De Dion Bouton in the age of the E-type Jag.

I liked being reminded of what ‘stickiness’ is – nothing more complex than ‘loyalty’ and ‘engagement.’

The Bottom Line on Thursday night had guests Alex Cheetle, Jasmine Montgomery and Robin White.

They were poked by Evan Davies and consequently shot out words as if from a submachine gun on the topics of new media (social networking largelly) in advertising and marketing and the role of optimism in business.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/v1rg1/

These are people who pitch for business all the time.

They aren’t just at ease with the terminology, but are evangelists. Not being an Opera buff I can’t immediately think which one, but these four leaping in and out of each other’s conversation felt at time like a scene from an opera. It had might as well have been in German.

Having listened over twice and taken extensive notes certain phrases and ideas are coming through.

I liked being reminded of what ‘stickiness’ is – nothing more complex than ‘loyalty’ and ‘engagement.’

I am always interested to tag a few more ideas onto my understanding of ‘branding,’ as I am convinced this will be the deciding factor for most people choosing a product or service. Which is why and how the likes of Google and Facebook continue to dominate, while familiar ‘sexy’ brands like Adobe may muscle into creative industries education in an even bigger way by offering e-portfolios.

Can we as students reach the stage where we can talk with such enthusiasm and as lucidly about ‘e-learning,’ and as its the current topic, about ‘e-portoflios’ in particular?

Grayson Perry on Creativity

In this BBC Radio 4 broadcast Grayson Perry explored the myths and misconceptions of creativity.

What does it take?

Like all things, hard work and single-mindedness.

From my point of view I see myself as a Catherine Wheel that has been lit and fallen of its stand – I spit and twist, sending out ideas all over the place. Not the best way forward.

The Myths and Misconceptions were:

  • The Eureka Moment (Spoke to Terry Pratchet)
  • Anyone can do it (Spoke to Rose Tremain)
  • Drugs are good for you. (But not for Satre)
  • A bid mad
  • Britain’s got talent (Spoke to Hussein Shelian)
  • Creative Genius
  • Need to have suffered an early trauma (Ray Talis)

We are reminded the ‘creativity’ is a central part of the UK economy.

For 17 years I actively contributed to this. My wilderness years, the last eight, have resulted in very little output (if that means getting it out of the front door). I stack it. I’d prefer to see these ideas compost and die than give my ideas to the world.

It is essential that creativity has institutional underpinning.

How will this manifest itself with the cuts to arts funding now being proposed by the coalition government in the UK.

or is it necessary. Whilst education in the UK has its faults it nonetheless appears to favour and permit the individual so that talent can develop. This must be the state system, private schools are a sausage machine for exam results, they have to be given what parents are forking out.

‘Creativity is mistakes.’

Says Grayson Perry, he has this carved into concrete across the mezzanine floor of his studio. You try, you fail, you try again. I would like to suppose I haven’t tried hard enough to fix my failures (or what I perceive as failures). At time though I feel if I keep on trying I would eventually strip back a 90,000 novel to a few words.

Imaginative power is ‘looking, looking, looking’ to which Rose Tremain added, it is ‘listening, listening, listening.’

I’m a looker, so I don’t know how I’ve ended up writing.

You can never be fully relaxed on holiday.

I do, but sailing and skiing do occupy your head if you fall off cliffs and like to race dinghies. Moments of near-death are exhilarating, as those times the elements sweep you along.

I hate the computer as a writing tool, this facility to edit does me no favours. yet a writer Grayson interviews said the computer allowed him to write, that until then he had no way to start straight in with a few thoughts, some scenes (like episodes in a film), and assemble it all in a non-linear way.

I’ve worked so hard with programmes like Power Structure and Final Draft but somehow always tie myself in knots trying to add or remove a character or scene or changing the ending or beginning.

‘Letting go at the end – that’s as good as it will get.’ Says Rose Tremain.

A year of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and my last session was driving me to ‘finish something.’ I can, but there needs to be someone with a stick harrying me along, a reward at the end would help, reassuring words along the way too …

My notes here (a month or so after the broadcast) say something about ‘investigating in a way that is new and aiding their creativity by giving them love and boundaries.’

I would run with a lover, with the intensity of an unfulfilled affair. Something to make the heart race. I once spent a day drawing a girl I lusted for … she was happy to be naked for me. I compelled myself into a state of denial without able to control my arousal. It all went into the drawing, the excited, confident marks across the page.

What about the University of East Anglia Creative Writing Course?

I’ve locked at the details and would be applying for 2011. Don’t have the money. Anyone want to sponsor me? In return for a percentage of the royalties that would of course come about a year or two later?

Pretty please?

Or the MA in Fine Art at Sussex University?

‘A life’s work without any expectation of reward.’

My wife caught this line and said that was me. She should know, she’s not had much out of me these last eight years. The novels I promised to write were written, but are considerably short of an edit I would send out. I would need to shut myself away from everything for 12 weeks.

Do you have somewhere I could hide?

Exam conditions six to nine hours a day, seven days a week. Not any man made disturbance – nature I can tolerate, nature I love. A hermitage on Farnes island would do, a ski lodge up a mountain pre-Season. somewhere. An empty barn, drained swimming pool, decommissioned nuclear power station.

Impulsive ideas that I run with:

  • A chess set made out of branded bottles of water.
  • Every ski run in the Ski Resorts of Val d’Isere and Tignes reconstructed as transects showing their true length and fall.
  • A short film about watersprites living in a public swimming pool
  • Story ideas galore for TV series or film.
  • A 6ft canvass of Lewes Castle in the snow from a series of photographs that could have been taken 800 years ago.

‘When you are creating something you are drawing on so many parts of the brain.’

This was in response to someone with an MRI scan who claims to have identified creativity. It doesn’t work like that, indeed, the creative mind goes more slowly … it takes it times over these connections. It thinks, how else could it ever deliver anything original?

So when yo relax, you let go, that is when you have your great ideas. I resolved the ending to a story I haven’t touched for three years on a dog walk so long I found worried messages on the mobile phone I had left in the car. My mobile is rarely on.

‘The distressful bread of the day to day.’ Said Rose Tremain.

Did I get that right?

Grayson Perry talked about his Inner Shed.

I have my inner shed, what I need is a ‘room of my own.’ It’s hard to be creative perched on the end of the marital bed in a tiny room that is stacked to the ceiling with possessions that call for occupancy of a house twice the size.

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