Rethink the Way You Think In hindsight, every great idea seems obvious. But how can you be the person who comes up with those ideas? In this revised and expanded edition of his groundbreaking "Thinkertoys," creativity expert Michael Michalko reveals life-changing tools that will help you think like a genius. From the linear to the intuitive, this comprehensive handbook details ingenious creative-thinking techniques for approaching problems in unconventional ways. Through fun and thought-provoking exercises, you'll learn how to create original ideas that will improve your personal life and your business life. Michalko's techniques show you how to look at the same information as everyone else and see something different. With hundreds of hints, tricks, tips, tales, and puzzles, "Thinkertoys" will open your mind to a world of innovative solutions to everyday and not-so-everyday problems.
A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques.
Michalko leads workshops and seminars on fostering creativity, facilitates think tanks, and consults with corporations worldwide.
Contents Preface to the New Edition xi The Barking Cat (Introduction) xvii initiation 1 Chapter One: Original Spin 3 Chapter Two: Mind Pumping 11 Chapter Three: Challenges 22 Chapter Four: Thinkertoys 35 Part One: Linear Thinkertoys 41 Group A Chapter Five: False Faces (reversal) 43 Chapter Six: Slice and Dice (attribute listing) 53 Chapter Seven: Cherry Split (fractionation) 60 Chapter Eight: Think Bubbles (mind mapping) 66 Chapter Nine: SCAMPER (questions) 72 Group B Chapter Ten: Tug-of-War (force-field analysis) 111 Chapter Eleven: Idea Box (morphological analysis) 117 Chapter Twelve: Idea Grid (FCB grid) 126 Chapter Thirteen: Lotus Blossom (diagramming) 132 Chapter Fourteen: Phoenix (questions) 137 Chapter Fifteen: The great Transpacific Airline and Storm Door Company (matrix) 144 Chapter Sixteen: Future Fruit (future scenarios) 150 Group C Chapter Seventeen: Brutethink (random stimulation) 157 Chapter Eighteen: Hall of Fame (forced connection) 170 Chapter Nineteen: Circle of Opportunity (forced connection) 179 Chapter Twenty: Ideatoons (pattern language) 184 Chapter Twenty-One: Clever Trevor (talk to a stranger) 190 Part Two: Intuitive Thinkertoys 199 Chapter Twenty-Two: Chilling Out (relaxation) 203 Chapter Twenty-Three: Blue Roses (intuition) 210 Chapter Twenty-Four: The Three B''s (incubation) 218 Chapter Twenty-Five: rattlesnakes and Roses (analogies) 223 Chapter Twenty-Six: Stone Soup (fantasy questions) 239 Chapter Twenty-Seven: True and False (janusian thinking) 248 Chapter Twenty-Eight: Dreamscape (dreams) 256 Chapter Twenty-Nine: Da Vinci''s Technique (drawing) 261 Chapter Thirty: Dali''s Technique (hypnogogic imagery) 268 Chapter Thirty-One: Not Kansas (imagery) 273 Chapter Thirty-Two: The Shadow (psychosynthesis) 281 Chapter Thirty-Three: The Book of the Dead (hieroglyphics) 287 Part Three: The Spirit of Koinonia 293 Chapter Thirty-Four: Warming Up 299 Chapter Thirty-Five: Brainstorming 311 Chapter Thirty-Six: Orthodox Brainstorming 323 Chapter Thirty-Seven: Raw Creativity 341 Part Four: Endtoys 363 Chapter Thirty-Eight: Murder Board 365 Chapter Thirty-Nine: You Are Not a Field of Grass 374 Index 381 About the Author 395
"Shows you how to expand your imagination." --Newsweek "A special find. Period." --Executive Edge
"A must-have book in any business setting." --Women in Business
Introduction THE BARKING CAT What would you think of someone who said, "I would like to have a cat, provided it barked"? The common desire to be creative, provided it''s something that can be easily willed or wished, is precisely equivalent. The thinking techniques that lead to creativity are no less rigid than the biological principles that determine the characteristics of cats. Creativity is not an accident, not something that is genetically determined. It is not a result of some easily learned magic trick or secret, but a consequence of your intention to be creative and your determination to learn and use creative-thinking strategies. The illustration below shows the word "FLOP," which we all know and understand. Look at it again. Can you see anything else? Once we see the word "FLOP," we tend to exclude all other possibilities, despite the strange shapes of the letters. Yet if you look at the "O" in flop, you can see a white "I." Now if you read the white outlines as letters with the "I," you will see the word "FLIP." Flip-flop is the complete message. Once found, it seems so obvious that you wonder why you were, at first, blind to it. By changing your perspective, you expand your possibilities until you see something that you were unable to see before. This is what you will experience when you use Thinkertoys. You will find yourself looking at the same information everyone else is looking at yet seeing something different. This new and different way of seeing things will lead you to new ideas and unique insights. Thinkertoys train you how to get ideas. They are specific hands-on techniques that enable you to come up with big or small ideas; ideas that make money, solve problems, beat the competition, and further your career; ideas for new products and new ways of doing things. The techniques were selected for their practicality and range from the classic to the most modern. They are divided into linear techniques, which allow you to manipulate information in ways that will generate new ideas, and intuitive techniques, which show you how to find ideas by using your intuition and imagination. A popular children''s puzzle shows six fishermen whose lines are tangled together to form a sort of maze. One of the lines has caught a fish; the problem is to find which fisherman it belongs to. You are supposed to do this by following each line through the maze, which may take up to six tries, depending on your luck. It is obviously easier to start at the other end and trace the line from the fish to the fisherman, as you have only one possible starting place, not six. This is how I researched and developed Thinkertoys. Instead of presenting a catalog of all known creative techniques and abandoning you to puzzle out which ones actually work, I started with the ideas (fish) and worked backwards to each creator (fisherman). Then I identified the technique that caught the idea. Some readers will feel that they profit more from the linear techniques and will discount the intuitive ones. Others will prefer the intuitive and discount the linear. You can produce ideas using both the linear and intuitive techniques, and should not limit yourself to one or the other--the more ideas you generate the better. This book will change how you perceive your own creativity, while stripping creativity itself of its mystique. You will, perhaps for the first time, see endless possibilities stretching before you. You will learn how to: Generate ideas at will. Find new ways to make money. Create new business opportunities. Manipulate and modify ideas until you come up with the most innovative and powerful ideas possible. Create new products, services, and processes. Improve old products, services, and processes. Develop solutions to complex business problems. Revitalize markets. See problems as opportunities. Become more productive. Be the "idea person" in your organization. Know where to look for the "breakthrough idea." * Become indispensable to your organization. Thinkertoys do not render the creative experience, they suggest it. To illustrate, let us imagine me drawing a rabbit on a blackboard. You say "Yes, that''s a rabbit," although in reality there is nothing on the blackboard but a simple chalk line. The rabbit appears because you have accepted my motion that the space within the line suggests a rabbit. The line limits the content by suggesting a significant form. I must stress that it is not enough to read the book--to create your own ideas, you have to use the techniques. Try to explain the joy of skiing to a bushman who has never left the desert. You can show him some skis and a picture of a snowy mountain, and perhaps get some of the idea across. However, to fully realize the concept of skiing our bushman must put on the skis and head down a mountain. If you merely read these techniques, you will have no more than a suggestion of how to get ideas. You''ll be like the bushman standing in the desert, staring at a pair of skis and a photo of the Matterhorn, with a small notion of what skiing might be. Each Thinkertoy is a specific technique for getting ideas to solve your challenges. Each chapter contains a blueprint that gives precise instructions for using the technique and an explanation of why it works--including anecdotes, stories, and examples of how real heroes used each technique to produce ideas and breakthroughs. I call them heroes because they left behind a mark, a sign, an idea, an enterprise, a product, or a service that reminds us of their innovation. I also use illustrations, puzzles, charts, and hypothetical examples to demonstrate how various techniques work. Some of these hypothetical examples present usable ideas for new businesses, products, and services. These ideas are the gold beneath the river of words continually rushing past. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote from The Art of War by the legendary master, Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu wrote his extraordinary book in China more than 2,400 years ago, but his principles are as applicable to creativity in business as in warfare. Long a classic for Japanese businesspeople, his book is now required reading at many leading international business schools. From Tokyo to Wall Street, business leaders quote and apply the principles of Sun Tzu. This new edition contains new Thinkertoys "Lotus Blossom," and "True and False," updated examples, and an entirely new group-brainstorming section with several new techniques. A friend of mine, Hank Zeller (an executive, entrepreneur, inventor, and poet), once described creativity this way: "When you realize that you just came up with an idea that betters anything that has been done, well, your hair stands up on end, you feel an incredible sense of awe; it''s almost as if you heard a whisper from God."
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