A group dedicated to facilitating creativity within individuals, groups, and organizations.
Favorite Creativity Books, Tools, and Toys
September 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm #79610
What are your favorite books for promoting creativity? What tools and toys would you recommend to others? Have you found that a tin of glow-in-the-dark silly putty or a jar of magnetic balls is useful for three dimensional doodling? Share your experiences.
I’ll start with one recommendation. Doug Hall’s (1995) book “Jump Start Your Brain” (NY: Warner Books) is packed with fun ideas for promoting creativity in groups. He developed many of the techniques while doing product development for various companies. His guiding principles are:
Fun Is Fundamental (if you are not laughing, you are not doing it right),
Reality Is Not Relevant (think of perceptions, feelings, tastes, sights, sounds, smells),
Breakthroughs Contradict History (cut against the grain),
Respect the Newborns (write down every idea, no matter how wild),
You Have to Swing a Lot to Hit Home Runs (go for quantity).
One of his techniques that I have had a lot of fun with is the “Out of the Blue Lightning Bolt Cloud Buster”. While playing loud music you have everyone write thoughts or idea related to the issue you are dealing with on the wings of paper planes and toss them in the center of the room. Someone else picks up a plane and adds a comment to it and tosses it again. Allow at least 4 or 5 flights, and then review the ideas.
Hall’s Ten Commandments for How to Turn Your Dreams into Reality are:
1) Build a Prototype
2) You Must Believe
3) Take Responsibility
4) Have a Simple Vision
5) Check Your Motives
6) Sell, Sell, Sell
7) Be Persistent
8) Inspire Excellence
9) Sweat the Details
10) Be Speedy.
What do you recommend?
September 3, 2009 at 3:50 pm #79622
September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm #79620
What a great site – thanks for the link.
September 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm #79618
Michael McCarthy, APRParticipant
We always make sure that we do not use the word “No” during a creative brain storming. That will quickly silence people in the group from throwing out ideas.
September 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm #79616
Great discussion !
Bruce Mau, a great canadian designer and thinker wrote in 1998 Incomplete Manifesto about Growth Creativity. Is a list of 43 topics that inspires us to deal with projects of high load of creativity. And my favorite is the 3th: Process is more important than outcome. When the process is more interesting to do, the projects better will become.
Another great designer and thinker, Stefan Saigmeister, published a beautiful project called Things I’ve Learned in My Life So Far where he describes 20 thoughts that improved their creative work. Highly inspiring.
September 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm #79614
Another useful tool is Roger Von Oech’s (author of the classic book “A Whack on the Side of the Head”) “Creative Whack Pack”. The Pack consists of an illustrated deck of 64 cards with creative thinking strategies that help you step out of your usual pattern when thinking about an issue. The 64 cards are divided into 4 suits: Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior (representing 4 roles or types of thinking in the creative process). The Explorer role focuses on creating new ideas, the Artist focuses on transforming ideas, the Judge focuses on evaluating ideas, and the Warrior on implementing ideas.
An example from the Explorer suit: Card 9 – Use A Random Idea. “Open your mind up to things that have nothing to do with the idea you’re developing. Pick out the third word on p.134 of your dictionary – ‘broom’. How does it relate to what you’re doing? What similarities does it have with your idea? Can you use it as a metaphor? Look out your window and find the first thing that has blue in it – ‘mailbox’. How does it shed light on your idea? What random idea can you use to stimulate your thinking?”
And from the Warrior suit: Card 59 – Expect Resistance. “ ‘The only person who likes change is a wet baby”, observes educator Roy Blitzer. Two basic rules of life are: 1) change is inevitable; and 2) everyone resists change. What resistance do you expect to your idea? How can you overcome it?”
You can use the cards in a number of different ways. You can pick cards randomly from the deck and think about their messages for your issue, or pick 5 cards and follow the instructions on the cards during the week. They can be used in brainstorming sessions or given out during meetings to encourage participants to explore new approaches to the issues being discussed.
I have found the cards to be useful for helping me get ‘unstuck’. Von Oech has two other decks as well – “Innovative Whack Pack” and the “Ancient Whacks of Heraclitus” (which I have not yet used). There are other sets of cards as well from different authors. Does anyone have experience using other card decks such as “Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck”, “The Bright Idea Deck”, or “IDEO Method Cards”?
September 17, 2009 at 12:37 pm #79612
I like Daniel Pink’s books about design and creativity. The work of IDEO.
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