Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of www.thinkingmanagers.com describes how creative thinking is a much broader concept than simply brainstorming.

Creative Skills and Thinking

Instant judgment is counterproductive when it comes to creative thinking. The basis of traditional brainstorming is that you suspend judgment until sufficient new thoughts and ideas have been amassed.

This is valuable but not enough because we need to develop a whole range of other modes of judgment.

One of the key aspects of creative thinking is the ability to pinpoint and extract concepts. Once concepts have been extracted, you can challenge them and try to change them.  You can also look for different methods of delivering the same concept.

The skill of noticing changes is important in creativity.  There might be a shift of values or operations.  It isn’t only about noticing the apparent changes but also the smaller ones, which could be just as significant in the long run.

There might be changes in what is proposed but also how people react to the changes.  One tiny change can lead to many other changes, sometimes bigger, further down the line.  Looking for changes is not just about looking at consequences.
There are lots of other creative skills, like ‘Random Input’, one of the basic tools of ‘lateral thinking’.

First, define a focus, such as why and where you want new creative ideas.  Then obtain a Random Word and use it to stimulate new ideas for your defined focus.

Starting from the edges allows you to open up paths that would not be visible from the centre. The Random Word puts you at the edges and as you think your way back to the focus in the centre, new ideas will be discovered.
Don’t simply look for a connection between the Random Word and the focus, as this will not have any stimulating effect at all.  Connecting the two is not the objective - the Random Word is for stimulating new ideas.

Don’t ever reject a Random Word.  You must force yourself to use the original one or you will just be looking for an easy connection and you won’t stimulate any ideas.

About the author
Edward de Bono is the world's leading authority in the field of creative thinking and the teaching of thinking as a skill.