Kat reviews her latest charity shop purchase; a very useful book by Edward de Bono, designed to help get those creative juices flowing.
I was asked to run a ‘writing session’ of some kind recently at one of our monthly meetings, and, in search of a bit of inspiration with the format, I was very fortunate to stumble upon this book at a charity shop; ‘How to have Creative Ideas’, by Edward de Bono.
De Bono is a pioneer in ‘parallel thinking’, actually coining the term ‘lateral thinking’ in the 1960s. My theory behind using this book for a writing session was that sometimes we can all get a bit ‘lost in the detail’, and Mr de Bono uses exercises to develop a more ‘lateral’ thinking style, which, in turn, may help with blog writing, problem solving, designing; anything that involves a bit of creativity really.
So, what exactly is lateral thinking?
Lateral thinking is the solving of problems using an indirect and creative approach, by typically viewing the problem in a new and unusual light. According to de Bono, lateral thinking deliberately distances itself from standard perceptions of creativity as either ‘vertical’ logic (the classic method for problem solving: working out the solution step-by-step from the given data) or ‘horizontal’ imagination (having many ideas but being unconcerned with the detailed implementation of them).
His book ‘How to have Creative Ideas’ consists of a series of exercises based on randomly chosen words. The first exercise I used for my session was ‘Odd man out’:
- select 4 random words from the tables at the back of the book
- teams then try to come up with as many different reasons as they can for an ‘odd man out’
So, for example, with the words; fur, ransom, chimpanzee, worry, a couple of reasons might be:
- worry is the only human emotion amongst the words
- fur, ransom and worry are all unpleasant (for some people) whereas chimpanzee is not
The idea is for people to completely run with it; the more ideas = the more creativity involved.
The next exercise was ‘Storyline’; using the four words (or a new set if you like); try writing a short story using them. The results could be as weird and wonderful as you like or could be used to create a new and exciting marketing strapline! (who knows??)
Here are the four words chosen for my team at Rambutan. One was not picked at random, just for the purpose of my game;
Rambutan, boxing gloves, plug, noise
Go on, have a go yourself! I’d love to hear your suggestions…