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.
Goal orientation, described by Rickards (1974) and VanGundy (1981; 1988) is a basic logical checklist for problem statements. For a more involved set of logical criteria, see the CATWOE checklist. For a more inventive-based checklist see Multiple Redefinition.
The procedure is as follows:
- Describe the problem by writing down a general description but in as much detail as possible
- List the needs implied by the problem, by outlining what you are trying to achieve
- List the inherent difficulties that are preventing you from achieving your goal. E.g. if I am chopping down a tree, the hardness of its wood is an inherent difficulty because anyone chopping down that tree would have to deal with it.
- List the external constraints that apply to this problem at this time e.g. I have promised to finish chopping down the tree for the owner by lunchtime today, is an external constraint because it is specific to this occasion.
- Now write a clear problem statement that illustrates all these requirements, restrictions and hindrances.
‘Inherent difficulties’ and ‘External constraints’ are listed separately because the options for dealing with these two types of problem are likely to be very different: the options for solving tree-hardness are clearly of a very different kind from the option for dealing with my ‘finish on time’ promise.