Creativity: Idea Generation

Idea Generation techniques were called Brainstorming in the 1960's. In the 1970's, organizations such as Synectics in Boston and the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) developed idea generation techniques that became the industry standard for creating new concepts, new solutions to problems and new products.

Research Dimensions staff, having been trained initially by Synectics and by CPSI, advanced the techniques to include new idea generating exercises, new preparation methods and new closure methods.

Research Dimensions has further refined these techniques to fulfill specific tasks (Name Generation, PowerGroups©, War Games), which are described elsewhere. Idea Generating is built on the following assumptions and procedural requirements. Assumptions:

  • Everyone is creative
  • Obstacles to creativity,(i.e evaluative judgement, criticism, territory) can be put aside during idea generating sessions.
  • An independent, non-evaluative, "neutral" facilitator is needed. (the facilitator does not have to be an outside consultant).

Research Dimensions frequently uses two facilitators

Procedural requirements:

  • All ideas are valuable. Any idea can be a springboard to new ideas.
  • Everyone participates.
  • The facilitator keeps participants focused on the tasks.
  • A "designated client" decides which ideas to pursue in greater depth.
  • Excursions are used to generate ideas which are out of the ordinary.
  • Analogies, music and imagery exercises are used. l Solutions from other industries are used as starting points.
  • Ideas from other spheres are used (e.g. How do bees communicate? How can we build on this method?).

Research Dimensions has been successfully applying and developing these Idea Generating techniques for the past 15 years.