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Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity for the 90s by Michael Michalko. Review by David E. Goldberg University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign deg@uiuc.edu. Author & Organization. Author: Full time creativity consultant for F500 firms. Categories: Linear thinkertoys

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thinkertoys a handbook of business creativity for the 90s by michael michalko

Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity for the 90s by Michael Michalko

Review by David E. Goldberg

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

deg@uiuc.edu

author organization
Author & Organization
  • Author: Full time creativity consultant for F500 firms.
  • Categories:
    • Linear thinkertoys
    • Intuitive thinkertoys
    • Group thinkertoys
    • Endtoys
tick tock
Tick-Tock
  • Based on work of Prescott Lecky.
  • Need for consistency.
  • Tick: negative views.
  • Tock: refutation of negative view
  • Related:
    • Creative is as creative believes.
    • Remember successes.
    • Write what you wish to be true.
mind pumping
Mind Pumping
  • Idea quota
  • Getting tone: really paying attention.
  • Dukes of habit: intentionally changing habits.
  • Feed your head: select carefully, outline, take notes.
  • Content analysis: attention to world around you.
  • Brainbanks: clippings in a bucket.
  • Travel junkie
  • Capturing idea birds.
  • Idea log: categories of interest.
challenges
Challenges
  • Journal of problems
  • Bug list
  • List of benefits
  • Challenge statement
    • In what ways might I …
    • Synonyms
    • Stretch
    • Decompose, why else, how else?
linear thinkertoys
Linear Thinkertoys
  • Reverse assumptions
  • Slice and dice
  • Cherry picking: describe challenge in two words, split attributes.
  • Think bubbles: mind map of related ideas.
scamper
Scamper
  • Based on Osborn
    • Substitute
    • Combine
    • Adapt
    • Modify
    • Put to other uses
    • Eliminate or minify
    • Rearrange
tug of war
Tug of War
  • Write challenge
  • Describe best case and worst case
  • List conditions of the situation
  • Note tug of war
idea box
Idea Box
  • List challenge
  • List parameters
  • List variations
  • Try different combinations
idea grid
Idea Grid
  • FCB Grid by Richard Vaughn, of advertising firm Foote, Cone, & Belding.
  • High-low involvement vs. think & feel.
  • Marketing of products.
toothache tree
Toothache Tree
  • Fishbone diagram.
  • State challenge
  • Identify major obstacles
phoenix list
Phoenix List
  • List of questions at CIA
  • Steps:
    • Write your challenge
    • Ask Phoenix questions
    • Record answers
what is your business
What is Your Business?
  • Steps:
    • Ask what is our business?
    • Define products/services, markets, functions, technologies.
    • Under each, write keywords
    • Mix and match to explore new ideas.
future fruit
Future Fruit
  • Steps:
    • Identify a problem.
    • State a decision to be made
    • Identify the forces that impact on decision
    • Build scenarios based on principal forces
    • Develop scenarios into narratives
    • Search for business opportunities in each
brutethink
Brutethink
  • Random stimulation + forced connection
  • Steps:
    • Bring in a random word (truly random)
    • Simple and familiar words the best.
    • Think of variety of things related to the word
    • Make forced connection to challenge
hall of fame
Hall of Fame
  • Inspiration from and forced connection to famous words:
  • Steps:
    • Make list of people you admire
    • Choose an advisor and pick a quotation
    • Ponder the quotation
    • Choose thought or combo of thought that holds promise
    • Allow 5-10 minutes to generate ideas
circle of opportunity
Circle of Opportunity
  • Perception changes over time.
  • Steps:
    • State challenge
    • Draw circle numbered 1 to 12 like clock
    • Select 12 attributes specific to challenge
    • Throw one die to pick first attribute
    • Throw two dice to pick second attribute
    • Consider them singly and together
    • Write down associations as they occur
ideatoons
Ideatoons
  • Left-right shift and bridge
  • Steps:
    • Divide challenges into attributes
    • Describe each attribute by drawing abstract symbol on separate card (label on back)
    • Look for ideas to link to your challenge
    • Add ideatoons as necessary
clevor trevor
Clevor Trevor
  • Bust blocks of expertise
  • Steps:
    • Talk to someone outside your field
    • Seek idea people
    • Draw out creativity in strangers you meet
    • Listen
chilling out
Chilling Out
  • Alpha waves promoted by
    • Quiet environment
    • Specific technique
    • Passive attitude
    • Comfortable position
  • Techniques: body relaxation, meditation, Truman’s foxhole
blue roses
Blue Roses
  • Managers use intuition (Isenberg):
    • Sense problems
    • Perform well-learned patterns
    • Synthesis of pattern
    • Gutcheck rational answer
    • Bypass rational answer with quick solution
  • Intuition must be developed and incorporated with reason.
three bs
Three Bs
  • Great discoveries made in bus, bed, or bath.
  • Need to encourage incubation.
  • Steps:
    • Identify challenge.
    • Prepare: collect data
    • Instruct brain to solve
    • Incubate: let go
    • Eureka
rattlesnakes and roses
Rattlesnakes and Roses
  • Analogical reasoning: personal, direct, symbolic, fantasy.
  • Steps:
    • State challenge
    • Choose keyword in challenge
    • Choose parallel or distant field
    • List images of parallel field, choose rich ones.
    • Look for similarities and connections between two components of the analogy
stone soup
Stone Soup
  • Radical “What if” leads to radical solutions
  • Steps:
    • Stipulate challenge
    • List as many “what if” challenges as possible.
    • Answer questions posed by challenges
color bath
Color Bath
  • Steps:
    • Relaxation
    • Select basic color
    • Imagine color as small ball of light
    • Affirm the color
  • Variations
    • Talking to an object (money)
dreamscape
Dreamscape
  • Use dreams actively to solve problems.
  • Steps:
    • Formulate question about challenge
    • Wake up early to record dream
    • Record dream in dream journal
    • How were people, places, and events related to query? What is answer from dream?
da vinci s technique
Da Vinci’s Technique
  • Use drawing and thinking to solve problems.
  • Steps:
    • Review challenge
    • Relax
    • Choose format
    • Draw without conscious direction
    • Examine drawing
    • Write down first word that comes to mind
    • Combine words to form paragraph & relate to challenge
dali s technique
Dali’s Technique
  • Hypnogogic imagery
  • Steps:
    • Think about challenge
    • Relax
    • Quiet mind
    • Quiet eyes
    • Record experiences immediately
    • Look for associations
not kansas
Not Kansas
  • Steps
    • Relax
    • Ask unconscious for answer
    • Take guided imagery tour
    • Accept whatever messages occur
rice storm
Rice Storm
  • Steps (for problem understand or solution):
    • Leader expresses area of concern
    • Each person writes facts (one per card) on cards related to concern
    • Redistribute cards
    • Leader picks and reads one card.
    • Others select related facts
    • Give grouping a name
    • Continue until all words in name sets.