Blog Tag: Problem Solving

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How to make your group or team more creative

One of the most fundamental ways of making your group or team more creative (particularly new ones) is this: Increase the level of diversity. As professors B.A. Nijstad & P.B. Paulus note, ‘a group’s creative potential first and foremost depends on the level of diversity in the group’ (from Group Creativity – Innovation through Collaboration,…

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How you can anticipate your competitor’s next move

One of the key challenges of leaders is to try and anticipate your competitor’s next move. If you can, you are better prepared and you also might be able to preempt their move. Many managers rely on a form of competitive analysis as part of an annual planning session. Whist this is useful it has…

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Want to unlock greater creativity? Ask a different question.

In my problem-solving model which I outlined in my first book (The Idea Generator, 2007), I outlined how many leaders get ‘stuck’ in their thinking (and action). My contention is that if you always define a problem in the same way and you view it in the same way, not surprisingly you end up with…

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Creative Problem Solving and Blitz

One of the most widely used creative problem solving processes was developed by Alex Osborn (father of Brainstorming) and Sidney Parnes. It has been around for 50 years and has stood the test of time as a structured way of addressing problems. The Osborn-Parnes model consists of five steps (J. D. Couger, 1995): 1. Problem…

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The power of a small group

One of the guidelines we suggest with our group Blitz problem-solving and idea generation tool is that the group be no more than 6 people. This has been a ‘rule of thumb’ decision based on my observations with managers over a number of years. I have found that for most challenges having a small group…

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How to create an ‘out of the box’ idea

I have spent the last ten years working with managers and leaders and one of their favourite challenges is how do we create an ‘out of the box’ idea? The starting point is to actually make explicit what the ‘box’ is. If you can do this then you can stretch or overturn it. In my…

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Solving problems @ Speed will fast-track any career

I am very excited to announce that Dr Anerie Rademeyer has become the first Accredited Speed Thinker. Anerie is from Soth Africa and has a PhD is HR Management with her particular interest in: Root cause analysis, decision-making, business improvement, people performance improvement, innovation.  Her project report was titled ‘Using Speed Thinking to dig up…

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The Power of Three

This is a tool that i invented a few years ago to help people to solve problems quickly. When faced with a problem, try to develop a three Business-as-Usual (BAU), three Different and three Radical in two minutes or less (the accelerated time limit will ensure that you do not filter your responses). This framework…

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‘Connect, always connect’

This quote is from a book, The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler (page 230). This 700 page classic was written in 1964 and is still (I believe) the best book on creative thinking ever written. Koestler’s basic idea is that the creative act is a “bisociation” which happens, if two (or more) apparently incompatible…

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Drawing the solution

One of my favourite Speed Thinking Tools is to get people to draw the solution. In the work I am doing with an International Airline for example, I ask the customer service staff to draw nine potential frustrations in two minutes that a customer may feel when they deal with the airline. Then we select…

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