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Ch.2. C reative thinking Or Logic thinking. Thinking ?!. Completing a final-year project, you need to solve many problems To solve a problem – you need a solution (idea) To derive a feasible solution – you need to think!!!. Getting a solution. A solution to your problem Internal

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Ch 2

Creative thinking


Logic thinking

Thinking ?!

  • Completing a final-year project, you need to solve many problems

  • To solve a problem – you need a solution (idea)

  • To derive a feasible solution – you need to think!!!

Getting a solution
Getting a solution

  • A solution to your problem

    • Internal

    • External

  • Internal – based on your own knowledge

  • External – from other people’s (could be your supervisor) ideas

    • Read more

    • Browse more

    • Observe more

Defining your problem
Defining your problem

  • If you don’t have a problem then you don’t need a solution

  • First you need to define or redefine the problem you are trying to solve

  • If you cannot identify the correct problem then your solution won’t be valid


  • If you want to learn driving then you are planning to take a part-time job because you need to pay for the driving lessons

  • What is the major problem?

    • don’t have sufficient money ?

    • should you learn driving?

Problem definition tools
Problem definition tools

  • Reframing matrix

  • Backwards forwards planning

  • Against false faces

Reframing matrix
Reframing matrix

  • It helps you to look at problems from different viewpoints

  • Expands the range of creative solutions that you can generate by putting yourself into the minds of different people (stakeholders) and imagine the descriptions of the problem or the solutions they give

Reframing matrix1
Reframing matrix

The students

The staff

How to schedule

the presentation

The coordinator

Reframing matrix2
Reframing matrix

  • Coordinator – no parallel session; need to make students and staff happy

  • Student – no presentation on 6:30pm; boring

  • Staff – no time to present; need one hour

Backwards forwards planning
Backwards forwards planning

  • A process to help you define the problem

  • Stages of backwards forwards planning

    • Write down the short version of the problem

      • “how to …” or “how do we …”

    • Ask what higher-level problem would the problem stated in ‘1’ also solve? Write those down. Try to generate at least 3 problem

    • Going back to statement 1, ask what other benefits would flow from it, if it were a solution. Make sure these are different from those in stage 2.

  • Look at the various definitions and decide which is the most appropriate statement of the problem

Example of backwards forwards planning
Example of backwards forwards planning

  • You are at home and you feel you need to go and do the food shopping.

  • Problem statement: “How do I get to the shops?

  • Additional problem this would solve

    • I could get all the food and drink

    • I could relax and not worry about getting hungry

    • I could watch DVD since food is ready

  • Working the other way, what benefits would you have if you could get to the shops

Backwards forwards
Backwards Forwards

  • I could have a look of new games at the shop

  • I could watch a movie

  • I could visit my friend living near by the shop

  • Now you have 7 potential problem statements to choose from, which one is most important?

  • Exercise

    • There too many potential supervisor to choose from and you cannot make up your mind

    • A good friend of you is choosing Dr Wong

    • Now you ask yourself “how about selecting Dr Wong?”

    • Can you apply forward/backward planning in this situation?

    False faces
    False faces

    • Allows you to list all your assumptions about the problem and then look at how you might make the reverse true.

    • Can help generate ideas

    • Help challenge assumptions

    • Can help reframe the problem

    False faces stages
    False faces stages

    • State the challenge you are trying to deal with

    • List every assumption that you make related to this challenge

    • Challenge every assumption; change any assumptions that you think are not true

    • Reverse all the assumption you have left

    • Discuss how you might make the reverse of each assumption true

    False faces1
    False faces

    • Problem statement :

      • How can we encourage 50-60 year old people to play games on Wii?

    • List every assumption that you make when thinking about this problem

      • Target group doesn’t own a Wii, they are lonely, they don’t like computer games

    • Now challenge every assumption

      • Target group doesn’t own a Wii ?

      • Target group don’t like computer games?

    • Change any assumptions that you think are not true

    • Reverse all assumption you have left

      • Target group does own a Wii (reversed!)

    • Discuss how you might make the reversed assumption true


    • How to make student read more books?

    • How can to sell more books in the campus bookstore?

    Tools to assist creative thinking
    Tools to assist creative thinking

    • Think of the box


    • Idea boxes

    Creative thinking
    Creative thinking

    • The more formal education individuals have or

    • The more experience they have in a job

      • The less able they are to solve problem in creative ways

      • Too depend on “right answers”, or thinking boundaries


    • The most popular and simplest tool to help generate ideas

    • During brainstorming, you should not pre-judging any ideas generated

    Brainstorming stages
    Brainstorming stages

    • Define the problem

    • Set a time limit on the session

    • Assign one person to capture all the ideas

    • Focus on the problem

      • Do not evaluate or criticize any ideas

      • Encourage everyone to contribute

      • Do not stay on one track for too long

      • Listen to the ideas and see if this gets you thinking

      • Look for associations

    • Write up all the ideas and evaluate them later

    What is the problem
    What is the problem?

    • If there is no problem then we don’t need a solution

    • Problem

      • There are 21 staff

      • Only 3 lectures available to brief the students

      • Each staff needs to talk for 30 minutes

      • Each lecture is only 3 hours

      • Can you identify the problem?

      • How to solve it?


    • SCAMPER is an acronym created by Bob Eberle to represent a set of idea-triggering questions.

    • S = substitue; what can you substitute

    • C = combine

    • A = adapt ; what can you adapt for use as a solution?

    • M = Modify; can you change the item

    • P = put; put the thing to different uses

    • E = Eliminate; remove something

    • R = reverse; rearrange, interchange?


    • I want to invent a new type of computer

    • S = mouse with eye ball movement

    • C = computing and heating

    • A = touch screen

    • M = display can be detached

    • P = use as a TV remote control

    • E = battery with solar power

    • R = cover can be changed

    Idea box
    Idea box

    • It is a way of automatically combining the parameters/attributes of a challenge into new ideas (parameter means characteristic, factor, variable, or aspect). You choose the number of nature of the parameters for the challenge, what’s important is to generate parameters and then list variations for each parameter.

    Idea boxes steps
    Idea boxes steps

    • Specify your challenge.

    • Select the parameters/attributes of your challenge. To determine whether a parameter is important enough to add, ask your self, ‘would the challenge still exist without the parameter I’m considering adding to the box?”

    • List the variations. Below each parameters and variations as you wish for that parameter. The number of parameters and variations will determine the box’s complexity.

    • Try different combinations. When the box is finished, make random runs through the parameters and variations, selecting one or more from each column and then combining them into entirely new forms.

    • You may also examine a parameter against other parameters and see how they affect their challenge.


    • A car-wash owner wanted to find an idea for a new market or new market extension.

    • List the parameters:

      • Method of washing

      • Products washed

      • Equipment used

      • Other products sold

    Ch 2

    The above comes from brainstorming !!!

    The number of combinations generated could be huge and some them can be a feasible solution

    Idea boxes
    Idea boxes


    The random combination of (Self + Dogs + Brushes + Sprayers + Related Products) inspired an idea for a new business.  The new business he created was a self-service dog wash.  The self-service dog wash has ramps leading to waist-high tubs where owners spray them, scrub them with brushes provided by the wash, shampoo them and blow dry them.  In addition to the wash, he also sells his own line of dog products such as shampoos and conditioners.  Pet owners now wash their dogs while their car is being washed in the full-service car wash.


    • How to design something to sell in the Chinese new year market?

    • Use either SCAMPER or idea boxes