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.
The dimensional analysis technique is a checklist (Jensen, 1978) that relates to Five Ws and H, and is of most use as an aide memoir for initial exploration of a problem or evaluating options, particularly those associated with human relations, rather than of a technical nature. Jensen defines a problem as a violation of values – a slightly unusual approach that is reflected in this list:
Substantive Dimension (‘What?’)
- Commission/omission? Doing something wrong, or failing to do something?
- Attitude/deed? Is it necessary to change attitudes or practices?
- Ends/means? Is the irritant we see the actual problem or merely a symptom of it?
- Active/passive? Active threat or source of irritation?
- Visible/invisible? Is the problem masked (e.g. covert human relations issues)
Spatial Dimension (‘Where?’)
- Local/distant? Is it merely local or are their some remote influences
- Particular location(s) within a location. Recognise the exact area concerned.
- Isolated/widespread? Is the problem isolated or linked to several other problem areas.
- Long-standing/recent? Which are parts are new and which are old?
- Present/Impending? Is the problem happening or looks as though it may happen?
- Constant/ebb-and-flow? Is the problem always there, irregular or cyclic?
Quantitative (‘How much?’)
- Singular/multiple? Is there a single cause or are there many?
- Many/few people? How many people are affected by the problem?
- General/specific? Is the problem applicable to a broad category or very specific sub-area?
- Simple/complex? Are there several elements to the problem with complex interactions?
- Too much/too little? Appears as a shortage or surplus?
Qualitative (‘How serious?’)
- Philosophical/surface, is it an issue with deep values or surface practicalities?
- Survival/enrichment? Is it a live-or-die issue, or one to do with managing quality?
- Primary/secondary? What priority does the issue have top or bottom?
- What values are being violated? See Jensen’s definition of a problem (above).
- To what degree are they being violated? Qualifies previous answer.
- Proper/improper values? Not all values should be honoured.