Tools For Creativity


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A systematic approach to creativity and the start of the innovation process

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Tools For Creativity

  1. 1. Tools for creativity May 2010
  2. 2. Warning; the future is always closer than it appears Faith Popcorn
  3. 3. Why creativity is important Globalisation and shorter product life cycles mean the old ways of doing business are no longer relevant. Innovation is vital for companies to stay ahead of competition and – in many cases – to stay in business. The race is on to develop a new product or service that brings superior value to the customer. If you come up with a really innovative solution that leapfrogs the competition, chances are you will be more successful. Creativity plays a vital role in this process. This paper is a practical approach to being more creative. It is not a comprehensive guide, but is intended as an introduction to a process and some tools that you can use to:- • brainstorm ideas • push the boundaries of your thinking • help create a stronger team
  4. 4. Stop before you start
  5. 5. Plan before you start The human mind is incredibly efficient. Given a problem, it immediately gets thinking about how to solve the problem without considering:- • Am I working on the right problem? • And is this the best solution? Better to explore the situation to understand:- • Who are the stakeholders? What would success look like for them? • What is the root of the issue, the technical problem, the unmet need, the identified gap? • What resources do I have at my disposal to help solve the problem? Time spent planning at this stage is never wasted, and can often save significant time and money overall.
  6. 6. Frame the problem – situation analysis Who is the customer? (Your immediate customer, and their successive customers until you reach the end user) Who are the other stakeholders (use the 9 Cs tool). What are their expectations and requirements? What is their need/ goal/ challenge/ problem? What do people dislike about the current solution/ products/ service? What do people like about the current solution/ products/ service? In what way is current solution ineffective?
  7. 7. Situation Analysis Tool – Ideal Final Result
  8. 8. Ideal Final Result Most innovation is incremental, and while small improvements certainly have their place, it is always worth extending the vision to identify what the ultimate result might be. This final result might not be technically or financially feasible, but it gives you a vision to aim for. So when you are seeking new solutions, rather than using the current design as a starting point, come up with a vision for the Ideal Final Result and work back from there to a realistic option. This is also a useful activity when you are considering Intellectual Property (IP), as you can include concepts that will be future generations of the current model. Don’t start here Start here Current Ideal X Situation Final Result Intermediate solutions
  9. 9. Ideal Final Result – questions to ask What is the final aim of the product? What is the IFR outcome? What is stopping you achieving this? Why is it stopping you achieving this? How could you make this disappear? Has anyone else solved this problem?
  10. 10. Situation Analysis Tool – Resources
  11. 11. Resources Another useful tool at this stage is to consider what resources you have to hand that could be applied to your project. Resources include the more obvious tangible resources, such as people and equipment. But they also include intangible resources, such as useful information or skills that your team or associates might have. A full list appears on the next page. Another step is to consider not just the current resources you have available, but resources you had in the past that you could draw on again (e.g. a retired employee), or that you tried and didn’t work (to save going down that path again). Finally, a useful exercise is to define your ‘system’. This might be the team, the product, your organisation, whatever makes sense. Then consider resources that are within your system, external to the system and in the subsystem. Carry out this exercise for tangible and then intangible resources.
  12. 12. Resources Substance – material (equipment, materials, software, waste) within the system or system’s surrounding People – within and around system Financial - (budgets, grants, funding) Information – tacit and explicit knowledge, Intellectual Capital, other sources e.g. books, internet Energy Resources – sources of energy available within the system or system’s surrounding, which are not used fully Space Resources – any unused space Time Resources – any spare time slots in between, before or after technological processes
  13. 13. Resources - examples Harnessing the power of UV light to stimulate cell activity in an anti-ageing skin care product Targets for clay pigeon shooting made of compacted manure Moulds for casting thermoplastic parts made in useful shapes (alphabet letters) to reduce wastage Snow in northern coal pit blown into pit to cool air, dampen coal dust and reduce risk of explosions
  14. 14. Tangible resources Tangible Resources (people, materials, equipment) PAST PRESENT FUTURE Around system e.g. External System e.g. Company Within system e.g. Team
  15. 15. Intangible resources Intangible Resources (information, energy, space, time) PAST PRESENT FUTURE Around system e.g. External System e.g. Company Within system e.g. Team
  16. 16. Generate ideas
  17. 17. Start creating Now you can start to come up with new ideas. The best way to get good ideas is to expand your thinking, generate lots of ideas and then discard the poor ones. Use the rules of brainstorming:- 1. Defer criticism At this stage there are no bad ideas; don’t be negative. Judgement can come later. 2. Go for quantity It’s simple maths – the more ideas, the greater the chance of a really good idea. 3. Go for wild ideas The wild ideas can prove to be the most insightful. Remember the Ideal Final Result. 4. Build on ideas What can you add to the idea? What other ideas come to mind? How can your experience add to this?
  18. 18. Problem Solving Tool – Trends of Evolution
  19. 19. Problem Solving Tool – Trends of Evolution Based on the premise that:- ̶ All technical systems evolve in set patterns ̶ These patterns are the same across different industries ̶ All trends work towards the ideal solution ̶ By understanding these patterns you can shortcut the process for generation of new ideas How to use Trends of Evolution:- 1. Select the most relevant trends for your product/service 2. Identify where you are on the trend 3. Brainstorm for each of the trends to the right of where you are. Adapted from TRIZ,
  20. 20. Trend of Mono-Bi-Poly Razor with Razor with Razer aloe 2,3,4,5 blade hair clippers Mono Bi Tri Poly System System System System Other examples:- ̶ Mobile phones ̶ Toothbrushes with tongue cleaners ̶ Power tools with multiple attachments ̶ Yoghurts with separate toppings
  21. 21. Trend of Increasing Use of Senses 1 sense 2 senses 3 senses 4 senses 5 senses Touch Examples:- Smell ̶ TV adverts with jingles and slogans ̶ Videophones Sight ̶ Surround sound and sometimes motion and even Hearing smells in cinemas Taste ̶ Luxury cars – in addition to visual, the smell of new leather, sound (of engine, doors, etc), the feel of seats, steering wheel, etc ̶ Ambulance sirens with using flashing lights as well
  22. 22. Trend of Increasing Use of Colour Binary Use of Full Monochrome use of visible spectrum spectrum (incl. UV, colour IR) Examples:- ̶ Warning systems ̶ Used to differentiate range of products ̶ Temperature sensitive paints ̶ Using IR to achieve heat-seeking capability
  23. 23. Trend of Market Evolution Commodity Product Service Experience Transfor- mation Commodities – steel, timber, generic drugs Products – cars, phones, washing machines Services – clean clothes, fast food, package holidays Experience – Disney, Starbucks, adventure sports Transformation – personal trainers
  24. 24. Trend of Smart Materials Passive 1-way 2-way Fully material adaptive adaptive adaptive Examples:- ̶ Photochromic lenses ̶ Shape-memory alloys, polymers ̶ Self-cleaning glass ̶ Gel-filled bicycle seats
  25. 25. Trend of Space Segmentation Solid Hollow Multiple Porous Porous hollows with actives Examples:- ̶ Bricks ̶ Chocolate bars ̶ Bread ̶ Radiators ̶ Soles of running/training shoes ̶ Double glazing
  26. 26. Trend of Surface Segmentation Smooth Ribbed 3D Roughened surface surface roughened with active surface component Examples:- ̶ Raised pavement to warn of obstacle ̶ Grips on handles, e.g. wheelbarrows ̶ Tyres ̶ Bioactive surface coatings ̶ Speed bumps on road
  27. 27. Trend of Increasing Asymmetry Symmetrical Partial Matched system asymmetry asymmetry Examples:- ̶ Handles on jugs ̶ Spirals ̶ Scissors ̶ Long tail marketing
  28. 28. Trend of Controllability Action Direct Addition Intelligent through of control intermediary feedback feedback Examples:- ̶ Robots, e.g. vacuum cleaners ̶ Speed signs in built-up areas ̶ Reversing signals on cars ̶ Auto focus cameras
  29. 29. Trend of Dynamisation Immobile Fully Fluid or Field- Jointed flexible pneumatic based system system system system Examples:- ̶ Folding products, e.g. umbrellas, tripods ̶ Window blinds ̶ Lasers ̶ Desk lamps ̶ Sound recording (tape to optical)
  30. 30. The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. Michelangelo
  31. 31. Rowan Norrie True North Innovation www.truenorthinnovation Tel: +44(0)1698 389 456