More than any other situation Change is about cooperation and collaboration. No matter if your company is in serious trouble or just wants to find a new way to line itself up – it always needs people to initiate, moderate, steer, coordinate and live that Change.
So what? The problem is that often people simply don´t know how to cooperate. Of course people cooperate on a daily base, but this is mostly routine, it´s like a form of vegetative state. Change causes different needs and different needs urges people to modify their behavior.
Over years I have collected several “Creativity Techniques” to support Cooperation between people – not only in times of Change. It is always better to be prepared than surprised…
What are Creativity Techniques?
Creativity techniques are heuristic methods to facilitate creativity in a person or a group of people. They are most often used in creative problem solving.
Generally, most creativity techniques use associations between the goal (or the problem), the current state (which may be an imperfect solution to the problem), and some stimulus (possibly selected randomly). There is an analogy between many creativity techniques and methods of evolutionary computation.
In problem-solving contexts, the random word creativity technique is perhaps the simplest such method. A person confronted with a problem is presented with a randomly generated word, in the hopes of a solution arising from any associations between the word and the problem. A random image, sound, or article can be used instead of a random word as a kind of creativity goad or provocation.
Haefele’s Original Version
According to VanGundy (1981; 1988), John Haefele (1962) of Proctor and Gamble devised CNB to encourage idea generation within an organisation. A key advantage is that since the idea generation is extended over several weeks, the opportunity for incubation and exposure to a wide range of stimuli is readily available. Unfortunately the workload on the co-ordinator can be high if numerous people are taking part, however, that on the participants is very low.
Each participant is provided with a notebook (by the co-ordinator) describing the course of action and giving a broad problem statement. The notebook also contains some suggestions for generating ideas, such as:
- Transformation methods (reverse, expand, minimise)
- Exploration methods (listing problem characteristics or similar problems)
- Seeking remote associations (random stimuli from all five senses; unusual properties of other substances).
- Every day, for one month each participant writes one idea in the notebook.
- At regular periods during the month, participants are given further related information from the experts, the literature and colleagues.
- After four weeks, the participants present a brief written summary, giving:
- Their best idea to solve the problem
- Ideas for further investigations that might help solve the problem
- Any completely new ideas about issues unconnected to the problem.
- The notebooks are collected (by the co-ordinator), where the ideas are categorised and summarised.
- Participants can then view all the notebooks and the co-ordinator’s report, after which there may be a general group discussion.
Pearson’s (1979) report is built on the basic structure of Haefel’s original version, but brings his version closer to the Delphi technique.
Participants are drawn from several organisations all over the country and provided with notebooks describing the procedure and giving a broad scenario-prediction task (e.g. about the factors likely to affect managers in the short, medium and long term and their possible consequences)
For up to 2 weeks each participant writes one idea per day in the notebook and then exchanges their notebook with a pre-assigned partner, reads the partner’s ideas, and then continues adding one idea a day to the partner’s book for a further week.
The notebooks are then collected and divided between a team of 3 co-coordinators (to reduce the administrative load) who highlight the key ideas. Responses are categorised (e.g. into issues vs. consequences) and recorded onto index cards. Alternative storyline scenarios are then developed (e.g. round one set of grouping in terms of political, social, technical, economic, personal and resource consequences and another in terms of short- medium- and long-term futures).
The scenarios are compared and discussed to generate further ideas.