How to use Six Serving Men as a Problem Analysis Method

Six Serving Men is a team exercise that examines an issue from twelve different viewpoints. It is based on the words of the poem by Rudyard Kipling: I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who. We probe the topic using these questioning words from a positive and negative perspective. The issue is defined as a question and... Read More--


Ten Great Tips for Trainers

Whatever the subject of your workshop or training course there are some simple steps you can take to make it better for the participants and better for you. Here are a few of them. Agree the objectives. What are the outcomes that the decision maker wants for this workshop or course? You should discuss and agree these in advance. Very often you can help them to decide based on your experiences of... Read More--


How to Evaluate Ideas

Generating a large number of ideas is a key part of the creative thinking process. The more ideas you come up with the more likely you are to find something truly innovative.  But having a long list of ideas creates an issue. How do you select the best ideas to carry through to implementation? Have you ever been in a brainstorm session where you filled flip charts with ideas and then the manager said,... Read More--


What is the Difference between Creativity and Innovation?

Discussions about innovation are often made difficult because people are unclear about the exact meanings of some key terms. In particular there is confusion about the difference between creativity, innovation and invention. Let us start with some definitions: Creativity is the capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual Innovation is the implementation of something new. Invention... Read More--


Get Brilliant Business Ideas from an Innovation Camp

I have facilitated a number of corporate innovation camps for clients. One was for Amdocs, a $3B software and services company that supplies mobile service providers. It took place over four days: the first two were spent on a bewildering variety of crazy creativity activities. These included blowing huge soap bubbles, a giant pacman, wacky physics experiments, lateral thinking puzzles, improv theatre... Read More--


Improv can help develop Business Creativity

I often use improv theatre techniques in my workshops on creativity and innovation. They are little plays in which people have to spontaneously handle unexpected situations in front of an audience. Usually delegates approach these challenges with some caution but after a little training and practice they find them entertaining and liberating. The methods can be amusing icebreakers. But they also serve... Read More--


Try this Lateral Brainstorm Technique – the Random Word

I facilitate creative thinking sessions for major corporate customers and it is sometimes a challenge to displace the delegates out of their conventional ways of thinking. If I want to generate really creative and unorthodox ideas then I often introduce a random stimulus. The easiest one to start with is the random word. Just pick up a dictionary and choose a noun at random. Write the word on the top... Read More--


How to use the Disney Method

Walt Disney Initially the group thinks as outsiders and review the facts, data and external viewpoints regarding the issue at hand. They might take the roles of consultants, customers, suppliers or competitors in order to get a more rounded view of the issue. The group then leaves the room and re-enters but this time as dreamers. They strive to imagine an ideal solution without any constraints. They... Read More--


Try using Additive rather than Competitive Ideation

It is usual to design suggestions schemes, brainstorms and ideation meetings from a competitive point of view. So we might say that we want a large number of ideas and then by a darwinian process we will eliminate the weaker suggestions and choose the best. People might vote on the proposals and the most popular win through. This approach will work if the challenge is clearly stated in terms of... Read More--