Lateral Thinking in Action – the Car Parts Incubator Story

Every year over one million babies die within 24 hours of birth. Most could be saved with the use of incubators, which are widely available in the developed world but not in under-developed countries. Much of the medical equipment that is donated to hospitals in these countries falls into disuse because of the lack of [...]

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How to Use De Bono’s Six Hats

I teach de Bono’s Six Hats on my leadership workshops and people generally find it a very productive way to run meetings and to reach decisions. It replaces the strife and circular arguments that plague many meetings with a method and a discipline that gets you to better decisions faster. If you want to know [...]

Draw on the Expertise of Someone Who Works in a Completely Different Field

If you are planning a creative thinking session around a particular topic then one way to help displace your thinking and inspire ideas is to bring in an expert from an entirely unrelated business.

A company had an issue with its sales force. Morale was low and team spirit was poor. Sales people complained about [...]

Spend time with people who challenge your thinking

‘You are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with,’ says author Richard Koch. While this statement is not to be taken literally or mathematically it plainly contains a disturbingly large grain of truth. For most of us the people we choose to associate with reflect ourselves, our values, our [...]

Try a Virtual Failure to help build Success

Jurgen Wolff

I heard this story from creative thinking expert Jurgen Wolff. Steve Loranger, CEO of ITT Industries, shared this technique with Business 2.0: “If you’re working on an important contract, a ‘must-win’ program, give your team a much shorter deadline than actually exists. Afterward you tell your team, ‘I just got a phone [...]

Two Thinking Tips for Leaders

If you run a company then you are probably burdened with a plethora of troubles. You have all sorts of headaches, problems and surprises to sort out every day. It is hard to stand back and focus on the big strategic issues – but that is exactly what you have to do. Here are a [...]

Freewriting – a method for unblocking creativity

Freewriting is a personal creativity technique that is particularly useful when you have hit a mental roadblock. You simply write the challenge or topic at the top of a large piece of paper and then start writing. You can write anything related to the topic. Here are the rules of freewriting as given by Natalie [...]

Solving the Unsolvable

I thought it was an urban legend; the story of the student who mistakes a pair of ‘unsolvable’ maths problems for his homework assignment and solves them. It has been used as an example of the power of positive thinking. If you do not know that a problem is unsolvable then you have a better [...]

Thinking the Unthinkable

We can broadly simplify innovations into two kinds – incremental and radical. Incremental innovations are improvements to current products, methods, processes, services, partnerships and so on. Customer complaints and suggestions are a good source of ideas for incremental improvements. So are the people who work in the organisation. If you ask customers how your product [...]