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.
From Osborn’s Checklist, magnify (or ‘stretch’) and minify (or ‘compress’) are two of the idea generating transformations, both of which are forms of exaggeration. The table below shows a selection of exaggerations to illustrate the problem: ‘I need a lot of capacity in my Reprographics Department to cope with a few key peak loads, but this means that for much of the time much of it is idle’.
|Forms of Exaggeration||Type||Examples|
|Exaggerate upwards||Magnify||I have a million photocopiers standing idle|
|Exaggerate downwards||Minify||My photocopiers are barely used at all|
|Exaggerate scope||Invade context||The whole organisation is underused|
|Exaggerate significance||Aggrandise||Our over-capacity is a nation scandal|
Why does exaggeration appear to work? Because we often have mindsets related to the scale of a problem and whilst there might be a form of action that is acceptable in a crisis it is not in a lesser problem.
To test your unspoken assumptions about the scale of the problem, you should think about what would be appropriate if the problem were of a different order of magnitude. Exaggerated solutions can often be applied directly, although the more likely scenario is that you will find they are inappropriate as they stand, but may suggest other ideas that would be acceptable.
Similar principles can also be effective when building on ideas for solutions. Imagine you are in search of way to prevent vandalism by youngsters, someone suggests: ‘Keep them in after school’. You could build on this idea by exaggerating it in various ways. E.g. magnify it to ‘Keep them in permanently’ suggesting giving them a permanent role (e.g. school monitor) or minimise it to ‘Gentle restraint after school’ suggesting ideas such as an after school club that they may actually enjoy.
- Define the problem to be addressed or the idea you need to develop
- Make a list of all the component parts of the idea or if a problem, its objectives and constraints
- Choose one component from the list in 2
- Develop ways of exaggerating it and note them on a separate sheet
- Note down all ideas you have from 4
- Repeat ad lib from step 3