Design Your Own Creative Thinking Techniques


Creative thinking can be learnt. How? By using thinking tools.

There are many tools for creative thinking, examples can be found in the following books:

As the author of this overview, Paul E. Plsek, noticed,  there are at least 250 unique tools in these seven books.

So, if you master those 250 unique tools, are you then supposed to have a 10th Dan in creative martial arts?


As we earlier noted in our post Thinkibility Ultimately Explained we compared  Thinkibility with “football-ity”, similar to something shown by stars as Johan Cruijff. It is not just agility and ball control. Nor velocity, or skill. It is more, much more.

Thinkibility is about virtuosity in thinking. What makes  someone regarded as  one of the finest thinkers in the world  in particular for their dexterity, capable of executing extremely fast and fluent  thinking? When can we say a person has a brilliant and showy technical skill of thinking? How do we describe it adequately, like we do in “in a final bravura the ballerina appeared to be floating in water”, or “the music ends with a display of bravura”.

For sure, mere mastering the techniques is not what you makes “a thinking star”. Again we have to turn back to our metaphor that links creativity to sports:

In a weekend self-defense seminar, the training exercises go exactly as planned: the attacker throws a straight punch at your face from three feet away, or tries to stab at you with a rubber knife from just such an angle. You learn to block, counter-attack, disarm, get away, and with a little practice, you can be consistently successful employing the technique.


Then reality sets in. You spar. You change training partners. And things don’t go exactly as they did when you were learning in slow motion. The technique you thought you had mastered fails you.


That doesn’t mean that the technique was useless. The techniques work, and work well, when the principles behind them are well understood, and when practice makes them second nature.

Innovation Lessons from a Martial Arts Seminar by Brad Barbera

Basic Principles

But what are the basic concepts or principles underlying those creative thinking techniques?

1. Attention


2. Escape


3. Movement



4. Focus



The four principles in a scheme.


4. Information is channeling itself into a thinking pattern. There are many thinking patterns possible. The choice of the thinking pattern is the subject of the FOCUS stage –> 1 The information that itself organized into a thinking patterns leads to a compelling, unconscious,automatic outcome of the thinking, if left unattended –> 2 Escaping from current thinking is the next stage –> 3. Once escaped, there is a need to move away from the standard thinking and a desperate effort to move to a practical idea.

We could use these principles to design creative thinking techniques as a situation unfolds itself, as in a street fight.

See here an example about a challenge of Improving Information Flow in a Medical Clinic and one for  “I want the local business section of the newspaper to feature a story on us hailing the innovative services that we have brought to our clients.”




T29 – Day 28


Day 28 – Dance

Can you act out your day or express your feelings in a dance?  

Put on some music and express emotions, feelings and moods. Use the body as an instrument to explore and express ideas.

Discovering the emotion when you watch a dance performance is something that has been studied by Peter Lovatt. Go here to watch him talk and dance about his research. Dance can also be used as a tool for enhancing a group’s consciousness about the situation. In addition, dancing may help to create a common vision and build a mutual support.

Blog post about dance:


Thinkibiility – Day 28


Dance First

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“Dance first. Think later.  It’s the natural order.” 

Samuel Becket

A dancer uses his or her body to express emotions, feelings and moods. Body language  can be exaggerated and a dancer uses the body as an instrument to explore and express ideas. But can  you act out your problem, design, or express your feelings in a dance?

Interpretative dance  can include styles ranging from ballet to break dancing. Way one to use interpretative dance has been used in a contest where PhD students dance their PhD thesis. Also  you can dance to explain statistical concepts – Dancing Statistics. The importance for the thinking process to change medium is discussed in this blog post Extracting Concepts – Change the Medium.

Dance is one way to help us overcome a fear of expressing our emotions. Movements help stimulate us to express ourselves and to feel the joy of moving around.  Discovering the emotion when you watch a dance performance is something that has been studied by Peter Lovatt. Peter trained in ballet, tap and jazz, and worked as a professional dancer before embarking on studies in psychology. He says that dancing can transform the way we think and solve problems. Different sorts of dancing help with different sorts of problem solving. Improvisation helps with divergent thinking where there are multiple answers to a problem. A structured dance may help when you are looking for a single solution to a problem.

Dance can also be used as a tool for enhancing a group’s consciousness about the situation. Dancing may help to create a common vision and build mutual support.

But what about the ability to keep a beat? Is that something that is a skill that you are either born with or not? Can you train yourself to find the beat? And can other animals apart from humans keep the beat. In the videos below the idea that keeping the beat is a human ability is questioned.

Videos of dancing animals may be common, yet the question remains whether the animals are really hearing the music and keeping a beat. Maybe they are just moving around.

In the video below you can watch the  bobbing head of a captured sea-lion to “Boogie Wonderland” (please note, while we do not condone the practice of confining animals, we thought that this research project adds to the understanding of animal behavior and we decided to include it).

In the next video, you can see the  cockatoo “Snowball”  dancing to “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys. Snowballs adjust his dance moves when the song slows  down or speeds up. That flexibility is regarded as a key to determining whether animals can follow a melody like we can.

Synchronous among fireflies are common, some fireflies flash synchronously. However, this is something different where the animals has to synchronize to a beat. Young children, around the age of four to five can do this if the tempo is close to their preferred tempo. As they grow older the can synchronize to different tempo. One hypothesis is that synchronization plays a role in social bonding. We feel connected emotionally and socially when we move in synchrony