Creativity techniques

Creativity techniques are methods that encourage creative actions, whether in the arts or sciences. They focus on a variety of aspects of creativity, including techniques for idea generation and divergent thinking, methods of re-framing problems, changes in the affective environment and so on. They can be used as part of problem solving, artistic expression, or therapy.

Some techniques require groups of two or more people while other techniques can be accomplished alone. These methods include word games, written exercises and different types of improvisation, or algorithms for approaching problems. Aleatory techniques exploiting randomness are also common.

Aleatory techniques
Aleatoricism is the incorporation of chance (random elements) into the process of creation, especially the creation of art or media. Aleatoricism is commonly found in music, art, and literature, particularly in poetry. In film, Andy Voda made a movie in 1979 called “Chance Chants”, which he produced by a flip of a coin or roll of a die. In music, John Cage, an avant-garde musician, composed music by superimposing star maps on blank sheet music, by rolling dice and preparing open ended scores that depended on the spontaneous decisions of the performers. Other ways of practicing randomness include coin tossing, picking something out of a hat, or selecting random words from a dictionary.

In short, aleatoricism is a way to introduce new thoughts or ideas into a creative process.

Improvisation is a creative process which can be spoken, written, or composed without prior preparation. Improvisation, also called extemporization, can lead to the discovery of new ways to act, new patterns of thought and practices, or new structures. Improvisation is used in the creation of music, theater, and other various forms. Many artists also use improvisational techniques to help their creative flow.

The following are two significant domains that use improvisation:

Improvisational theater is a form of theater in which actors use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously. Many improvisational (“improv”) techniques are taught in standard drama classes. The basic skills of listening, clarity, confidence, and performing instinctively and spontaneously are considered important skills for actors to develop.
Free improvisation is real-time composition. Musicians of all kinds improvise (“improv”) music; such improvised music is not limited to a particular genre. Two contemporary musicians that use free improvisation are Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor.
In problem solving

In problem-solving contexts, the random-word creativity technique is perhaps the simplest 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. This technique is based on associative thinking, the process of retrieving information from our knowledge and automatically find patterns across elements. While standard associative thinking generates associations between concepts that are strongly related and not very original, the unpredictability of a random word will lead to explore new associations that would not emerge automatically, and hopefully trigger novel solutions. A random image, sound, or article can be used instead of a random word as a kind of creativity goad or provocation.

There are many problem-solving tools and methodologies to support creativity:

TRIZ (theory which are derived from tools such as ARIZ or TRIZ contradiction matrix)
Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS) (complex strategy, also known as Osborn-Parnes-process)
Lateral thinking process, of Edward de Bono
Six Thinking Hats, of Edward de Bono
Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument – right brain / left brain
Brainstorming and Brainwriting
Think outside the box
Business war games, for the resolution of competitive problems
SWOT analysis
The method USIT of convergent creativity
Thought experiment
Five Ws
In project management
For project management purposes, group creativity techniques are creativity techniques used by a team in the course of executing a project. Some relevant techniques are brainstorming, the nominal group technique, the Delphi technique, idea/mind mapping, the affinity diagram, and multicriteria decision analysis. These techniques are referenced in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

Group creativity techniques can be used in a sequence; for example:

Gather requirements using idea/mind mapping
Continue generating ideas by brainstorming
Construct an affinity diagram based on the generated ideas
Identify the most important ideas by applying the nominal group technique
Obtain several rounds of independent feedback using the Delphi technique

Affecting factors
Multiple studies have confirmed that distraction actually increases creative cognition. One such study done by Jonathan Schooler found that non-demanding distractions improve performance on a classic creativity task called the UUT (Unusual Uses Task) in which the subject must come up with as many possible uses for a common object. The results confirmed that decision-related neural processes occur during moments of unconscious thought while a person engages in a non-demanding task. The research showed that while distracted a subject isn’t maintaining one thought for a particularly long time, which in turn allows different ideas to float in and out of one’s consciousness—this sort of associative process leads to creative incubation.

Ambient noise is another variable that is conducive to distraction, yet it has been proven that a moderate level of noise actually heighten creativity. Professor Ravi Mehta conducted a study to research the degree of distraction induced by various noise levels and their effect on creativity. The series of experiments show that a moderate level of ambient noise (70 dB) produces just enough distraction to induce processing disfluency, which leads to abstract cognition. These higher construal levels caused by moderate levels of noise consequently enhance creativity.

In 2014, a study found that walking increased creativity, an activity favored by Albert Einstein.

Sleep and relaxation
Some advocate enhancing creativity by taking advantage of hypnagogia, the transition from wakefulness to sleep, using techniques such as lucid dreaming. One technique used by Salvador Dalí was to drift off to sleep in an armchair with a set of keys in his hand; when he fell completely asleep, the keys would fall and wake him up, allowing him to recall his mind’s subconscious imaginings. Thomas Edison used the same technique, with ball bearings.

A study from 2014 conducted by researchers in China and the US, including the psychologist Michael Posner found that performing a short 30 minute meditation session each day, for seven days, was sufficient to improve verbal and visual creativity, as measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, due to the positive effects of meditation on emotional regulation. The same researchers also showed in 2015 that short term meditation training could also improve insight-based problem solving (the type commonly associated with an “Ah-ha”, or “eureka” type moment of realization) as measured by the Remote Associates Test.

Web 2.0
It has been stated[by whom?] that no creative work is an entirely individual effort that is free of influence as people are products of their environments including friends, families, peer groups, and their collaborations and competitions with them. Web 2.0 applications may help with creative activities (such as content creation) by its tools and ways of collaboration, competition, sharing, crowdsourcing, collective phenomena, motivation and feedback.

The methods described below are suitable for specifying problems, speeding up ideas and the flow of ideas of individuals or groups, expanding the search direction and dissolving mental blocks. In poorly structured, open problems, the number and type of possible solutions is not predetermined; every result of the solution process is only a relatively optimal solution at a specific time. The use of creativity techniques stimulates the creativity of those involved to find completely new, unrealized solutions.

Generate ideas
“Brainstorming” is understood as the controlled generation of new concepts at a defined time. Numerous methods have been developed for brainstorming. These methods are not algorithms that, when applied correctly, are guaranteed to produce a “correct” result, such as written adding. Rather, they are heuristics, d. H. Procedures that have proven to be effective in practice, but provide different results of different quality for each application. The best known method is the brainstorming that was developed by Alex Osborn in the USA in the 1950s and has since been understood as the epitome of brainstorming.

Ideation methods are primarily suitable for problems where the solution is still unknown (so-called “poorly structured” problems), less for problems for which there is a known approach (so-called “well-structured” problems). Sometimes, however, brainstorming is also used here to question existing solutions, because changed circumstances or requirements may make new solutions desirable or necessary, regardless of an already existing, accepted solution.

The quality and quantity of the ideas depend on the task, the method used, the participants, and especially on their inner attitude. The results are not known before. Quality is enhanced when participants apply creative thinking strategies.

Advantage of the group
Most methods are known as group methods, but can usually be used by individuals as well. For brainstorming in this sense, groups of 7-14 participants are usually formed using such a method. Depending on the method, such a brainstorming session lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. The group has the advantage that not only a large number, but also a higher diversity of solution ideas can be achieved. The group composition should therefore be as heterogeneous as possible. In order for the group to be able to work effectively, a moderator is usually required for brainstorming, who knows the method and guides the participants accordingly.

General structure
As a rule, the methods provide initial basic ideas, which then have to be further developed into idea concepts and concretized and then selected for implementation (evaluation procedures and selection strategies).

The creativity methods can be divided into intuitive and discursive methods.

Intuitive Methods
Intuitive methods provide many ideas in a short time (100-400 individual ideas in 30 minutes). They promote thought associations in the search for new ideas. They are designed to activate the unconscious: knowledge that you would not otherwise think. These techniques and work formats should help to get out of the way. They activate the potential of entire groups and lay a broad base of ideas before proceeding with discursive methods.

Most well-known is probably the group loud brainstorming, which is practiced in a variety of variants. The rather quiet, written form Brainwriting has in turn followed many offshoots. Other well-known formats are the analogy and alienation methods, in which solutions from one area should provide corresponding ideas for another area, such as bionics. A third strand of the intuitive formats works with moving style elements such. B. the gallery method.

Quiet techniques:
Creative writing
Collective notebook
6-3-5 method
Brainwriting pool
ABC list
Mind mapping
KJ Method
NM method
Cluster (creative writing)
Ideas Marathon
Progressive abstraction

Loud techniques:
negative conference
Headstand technique
provocation technology
analogy technology
random techniques
Semantic Intuition
Tilmag method
Force-Fit game
Thinking at the Edge / TAE

Moving techniques:
Gallery method
card inquiry
Pin board moderation (Metaplan technique)

Discursive Methods
Discursive methods deliver 10-50 ideas in 30 minutes. They carry out the process of finding solutions systematically and consciously in individual, logically executed steps (discursive = logically progressive from concept to concept). Such methods fully describe a problem by analytically breaking it down into very small units, such as the Morphological Box, whose criteria and expressions are intended to describe a problem clearly, completely and mutually exclusive (MECE: mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive). Similarly, the relevance tree analysis, which is more precise from branch to branch.
Morphological box
Osborn Checklist
Ishikawa diagram
Relevance tree analysis
Progressive abstraction
Force field analysis

Combi Methods
In addition, creativity approaches have developed that combine intuitive and discursive elements:
Creative Problem Solving (CPS) after Osborn / Parnes
Think hats of De Bono or Six hats
Value analysis (Value Analysis, ISO standardized function analysis)
Walt Disney method with three roles
TRIZ: a Russian system, meaningfully translated “Theory of inventive problem-solving”
ARIZ: a stepping-stone for solving invention problems
Zukunftswerkstatt: a creativity approach in 4 phases, according to the futurist Robert Jungk
Open Space: a creative large group methodology by Harrison Owen
World Café

Important People and Organizations
Alex Osborn, developer of the brainstorming and CPS methodology
Genrich Saulowitsch Altschuller, main developer of the TRIZ methodology
Tony Buzan, inventor of the Mind Map
Edward de Bono, Inventor of Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking
Ishikawa Kaoru, inventor of the cause-and-effect diagram
Fritz Zwicky, developer of creative morphology
Battelle Institute, Frankfurt am Main
Creative Education Foundation (CEF), a creative organization founded by Alex Osborn dedicated to the care, development and dissemination of creativity
Eugene T. Gendlin developed Thinking at the Edge / TAE

Random techniques
Random techniques are the incorporation of chance in the process of creation, especially the creation of art or the media. These techniques are commonly found in music, art and literature and especially in poetry. Andy Voda made a movie in 1979 called “Chance Chants”, which he produced by chance or unexpectedly. In music, John Cage, an avant-garde musician, composes part of his music by superimposing star maps or the blank sheet technique, making his songs at random, without prior preparation and letting decisions be made spontaneous on the part of the interpreters.

Other ways to practice randomness in creativity or decision making include throwing a coin, choosing something that is inside a hat or selecting random words from a dictionary.

In summary, random techniques are a way to introduce new thoughts or ideas into a creative process.

Improvisation is a creative process that can be spoken, written or composed without prior preparation.

Improvisation, also called spontaneity, can lead to the discovery of new ways of acting, new patterns of thought and practices or the creation of new structures. Improvisation is used in the creation of music, theater and other activities. Many artists also use improvisation techniques to help their creative flow of ideas.

Below are two very relevant methods in improvisation:

The theater of improvisation, is a form of theater in which the actors use techniques of improvisation in the performance to carry out a representation spontaneously. Many improvisation techniques are taught in standard theater classes. The basic skills of listening, having clarity, confidence and carrying out activities instinctively and spontaneously are considered important skills to develop for the actors.
Free improvisation is the composition in real time. Musicians of all musical genres can improvise their music, as it is not limited to a particular genre. Two examples of contemporary musicians who use free improvisation are Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor. Through free improvisation, musicians can develop greater spontaneity and fluency.
Each type of improvisation improves the actor’s thinking and action skills and this can be achieved without any practice. A similar set of techniques is called alienation, this name was coined because the technique is that the actors do not rehearse their scenes or even read their scripts. Improvisation is a technique during which actors form a story, start and end in the act, and do everything possible to stay within the character they are representing.

In problem solving contexts, the random creativity technique is perhaps the simplest method. A person who faces a problem and is given a randomly generated word is expected to solve the problem with a solution derived from some association between the given word and the problem. An image, sound or article can also be used in place of the word at random as a kind of provocation of creativity.

Source from Wikipedia