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Creativity An exploration of lateral thinking techniques to enable more robust problem solving

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A primer on lateral thinking techniques

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Page 1: Creativity   Lateral Thinking

Creativity An exploration of lateral thinking techniques to enable more robust problem solving

Page 2: Creativity   Lateral Thinking

Hi, I’m Digit

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I’m here to talk to you about. . .

Lateral Thinking

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Let’s start with. . .

“What is lateral thinking?”

LateralLateralThinkingThinking

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Lateral thinking is an unorthodox approach to problem-solving, often looking at a problem from other 'sides' rather than head-on

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So let’s start by looking at an example of lateral thinking.

LateralLateralThinkingThinking

. . .versus regular linear thinking.

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Deconstructing Creativity

LateralLateralThinkingThinking

We’ll do that by looking at how the Beatles created the Sergeant Pepper’s Album

. . .and comparing a linear approach to the lateral approach that they took.

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Normal Logical Thinking

• Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity

• Step 2 - Logically, analytically generate alternatives

• Step 3 - Select the best alternative(s)

Make a new Make a new Rock albumRock album

Arrange Arrange Chuck Chuck BarryBarrysongssongs

J & PJ & PWrite Write new new

songssongs

Use Use unrecorded unrecorded

old old songssongs

That’s not very exciting

Let’s start with a normal, linear approach to the problem of creating a new and exciting album.

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How they did it

Lateral Thinking

• Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity

• Step 2 - Generate a new, unrelated, thought or idea

• Step 3 – Extract principles or characteristics from the idea

• Step 4 - Logically explore the relationship of the characteristic to the problem

• Step 5 - Select the best alternative(s)

Make a new Make a new Rock albumRock album

Make an Make an operaopera

Tell aTell astorystory

Opera Opera singerssingers

Duets with Duets with opera opera

singerssingers

Fat Fat lady singslady sings

Fat lady Fat lady on cover on cover of albumof album

Write Write songs songs thatthattell a tell a storystory

Now let’s look at their lateral thinking approach.

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Creative Lateral Thinking

• Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity

• Step 2 - Generate a new, unrelated, thought or idea

• Step 3 - Extract a principle or characteristic from the idea

• Step 4 - Logically explore the relationship of the characteristic to the problem

• Step 5 - Select the best alternative(s)

Two middle steps are most important

One of them is not:

• Rational

• Sensible

• Logical

• Reasonable

All other steps are logical

All creativity uses this same template, or a simple variation on it.

So what did we learn?

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Judgment . . . a big barrier• 5 minute rule . . .• Not all ideas will create

Aha’s• Be patient, give it at

least five minutes

Here’s a tip

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While the first idea may seem silly, the technique’s value is its ability to get you to see ideas you are not normally able to contemplate.

Here’s another tip

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Lateral Thinking Techniques

Escape, Reversal and Random Entry techniques were created by Edward deBono.

Here are four techniques that all follow that pattern

There are exercises you can try

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Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity where you need to generate alternative solutions

Step 2 - Generate a new thought or idea

Step 3 - Extract a characteristic or principle

Step 4 - Logically explore the relationship of the characteristic to the problem

Step 5 - Select the best alternative(s)

Lateral Techniques - Generic Process

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1. Escape Technique

Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity where you need to generate alternative solutions

Step 2 - List characteristics of that issue that we normally take for granted

• Choose one characteristic

Step 3 - Change the characteristic in some way, or eliminate it

Step 4 - Logically explore the relationship of the changed characteristic to the problem

Step 5 - Select the best alternative(s)

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Escape Technique Practice

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Technique Review

What did you learn?

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2. Random Entry Technique

Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity where you need to generate alternative solutions

Step 2 - Select a word at random -Use a dictionary and select two numbers at random – one for the

page, one for word on the page (a noun)

Step 3 - Extract a principle or characteristic from the random word

Step 4 - Logically explore the relationship of the characteristic to the problem

Step 5 - Select the best alternative(s)

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Random Entry Practice

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Technique Review

What did you learn?

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3. Reversal Technique

Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity where you need to generate alternative solutions

Step 2 - Select a characteristic of the problem or opportunity

Step 3 - Reverse the characteristic

Step 4 - Logically explore the relationship of the reversed characteristic to the problem

Step 5 - Select the best alternative(s)

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Reversal Technique Practice

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Technique Review

What did you learn?

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4. Word/Picture Mapping Technique

Step 1 - Identify the problem or opportunity where you need to generate alternative solutions

• Take a large piece of paper (e.g. flipchart). Place on table• Write problem/issue in center. Everyone gathers round

Step 2 - Group generates a new thoughts or ideas

• Group draws lines from issue and writes down other words they associate with key issue

Step 3 - Extract a characteristic or principle

• Looking at the new words find other words to associate with them.• Draw lines between associated words

Step 4 - Logically explore the relationship of the characteristic to the problem

Step 5 - Select the best alternative(s)

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Word/Picture Mapping Practice

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Technique Review

What did you learn?

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Imagine your team was skilled at lateral thinking.

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What value could you unlock?

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If you’d like more info.

Call us and ask for John.

Tell him Digit sent you.

Ennova Inc.Toronto, Ontario1-888- 6ennova905-294-8050 (local)John @ennova.ca