Source: E-mail dt. 31.7.2012


Innovative Thinking


Prof. Nitesh Giri

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan College of Business Management

Nagpur, India


The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas."


— Dr. Linus Pauling


Learning to think creatively is the best business survival tool there is. Research has shown that regardless of age or education, everyone has the capacity to become more creative. Here are six tips to help you enhance your creativity and stimulate creativity with your co-workers.

1. Open Your Mind


Have one new experience every day; no matter how small. New experiences stimulate the brain and help you make new and original connections; critical for boosting breakthroughs. Attend new forms of entertainment, read books or magazines you’ve never read before, take a class in a subject you know nothing about, listen to music you profess to hate, go somewhere really different on your next vacation, talk to people you normally don’t have a chance to meet. New experiences become the raw material for new ideas. The cross-pollination of diverse ideas is a primary stimulator for creativity.

2. Diversify


Involve others in your problem-solving efforts that bring a different perspective or cultural experience than yours. In addition to picking the brains of experts and knowledgeable colleagues, talk to people who are unfamiliar about the issue. By using this approach, you’ll be asked “dumb questions” that can often help you question assumptions, and see your challenge from a different angle with fresh eyes and a more open mind.

3. Stop Looking for the Right Answer


Look for many right answers. Multiple solution thinking can help you strengthen your creative muscle, while generating more ideas, which always leads to better ideas. Setting idea quotas can force you to push the envelope, forging past predictable, obvious solutions.

4. Mind Mapping


The human brain is very different from a computer. Whereas a computer works in a linear fashion, the brain works associatively as well as linearly - comparing, integrating and synthesizing as it goes. Association plays a dominant role in nearly every mental function, and words themselves are no exception. Every single word and idea has numerous links attaching it to other ideas and concepts.


5. Six Thinking Hats


There are six metaphorical hats and the thinker can put on or take off one of these hats to indicate the type of thinking being used. This putting on and taking off is essential. The hats must never be used to categorize individuals, even though their behavior may seem to invite this. When done in group, everybody wear the same hat at the same time.


White Hat thinking


We need some white hat thinking at this point means let’s drop the arguments and proposals, and look at the data base."


Red Hat thinking


This covers intuition, feelings and emotions. The red hat allows the thinker to put forward an intuition without any need to justify it. "Putting on my red hat, I think this is a terrible proposal." Usually feelings and intuition can only be introduced into a discussion if they are supported by logic. Usually the feeling is genuine but the logic is spurious. The red hat gives full permission to a thinker to put forward his or her feelings on the subject at the moment.


Black Hat thinking


This is the hat of judgment and caution. It is a most valuable hat. It is not in any sense an inferior or negative hat. The black hat is used to point out why a suggestion does not fit the facts, the available experience, the system in use, or the policy that is being followed. The black hat must always be logical.


Yellow Hat thinking


This is the logical positive. Why something will work and why it will offer benefits. It can be used in looking forward to the results of some proposed action, but can also be used to find something of value in what has already happened.


Green Hat thinking


This is the hat of creativity, alternatives, proposals, what is interesting, provocations and changes.


Blue Hat thinking


This is the overview or process control hat. It looks not at the subject itself but at the 'thinking' about the subject. "Putting on my blue hat, I feel we should do some greener hat thinking at this point." In technical terms, the blue hat is concerned with meta-cognition.