Loving the Idea of a Creative Idea, but. . .


Everyone loves the idea with a creative idea. But, there is a big but, this is not the same as embracing an idea. Or testing the idea, or even considering the interesting and positive aspects with the idea. Probably the biggest obstacle to innovative initiatives is a negative response. Or lack of response. The dreaded endless silence after you have put forward a suggestion.

Many ideas are easy to test such as the idea about walking meetings from Funny or Die. A creative idea is put forward in the video – walking meetings. Too much sitting is bad for us and walking meetings is good not only for health purposes, but to get out of the office and to keep meetings short.

Take a moment to reflect on this idea. What is your response?

This idea costs in principle nothing to try out and it is easy to test. Yet many people simple reject the idea. Critical and negative comments may be put forward. But even if some ideas are easy to test, the problem is more of lack of ways of thinking related to new ideas. Every new idea should be explored by using a simple and quick tool called PMI – plus, minus and interesting. A quick exploration where you focus on three different aspects with an idea. This quick way prevents us from making quick judgments. And it saves us even from test stupid ideas like walking meetings. . . because it is silly. . . or maybe not. . . well, at least this is interesting about the idea. . .

And you can read more about ways to overcome negative attitudes to new ideas in our eBook.

Photo “Idea On Monitors Showing Variety Of Thoughts” by Stuart Miles

Before you say Yes or No


We are used to relying on our vision but according to IBM in the future the focus will be on broadening the perspective  developing capacities to mimic the ability to  smell, touch, taste and hear. Tiny sensors in the computer may detect if you are coming down with a cold by analysing your breath.

Many new ideas and suggestions are immediately rejected. Yet exploring new ideas and inventions is a great way to give your “creative muscles a workout”.  Imagine what it would feel like, smell like or sound like while you explore some of the ideas in the videos below. For tips about how to actively search for positive and negative aspects, look at our eBook.  Go here .


Go here to read about the Tableware by Jinhyon Jeon.

How to Deal with Positive and Negative Aspects


A new way to walk through a forest. Or a silly idea? Often ideas are judged quickly – too quickly in some cases.

A trampoline walkway through a Russian forest!  What are the positive aspects of Salto Architects trampoline walkway, Fast Track?

Salto, which is based in Tallinn, installed an anchorage system to hold the long rubber mat. The installation is made by cutting out a trough of land and it is not much different from a trampoline that you have in your backyard.

This road or installation challenges our perceptions.

  • A poetic way of bouncing through a forest.
  • Excellent  exercise.
  • A great way to see a birds nest high up in a treetop.

Can you think of any other positive aspects? Use the pictures for inspiration. Close your  eyes and imagine that you are bouncing through your local park.




Of course, it may take a long time to bounce through a forest.

  • Difficult to walk your dog.
  • You might get dizzy.
  • Slippery when it is raining.

Can you think of any other negative aspects.

Ways of dealing with these types of question will be explored in our coming eBook. Thinkibility – Positive & Negative.

Challenging Thinking about Exercise – Searching for Positive Benefits

Challenging Thinking

How little exercise do you need to do to get fit? Surprisingly as little as 3 minutes of exercise, a week may improve your health – improve the insulin sensitivity. It has always been assumed that training should consist of for example, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day at least 5 days per week . However, the opposite is also true.

High Intensity Training (HIT) challenges the idea that you need to workout for a couple of hours every week. Vigorous bouts of exercise mixed with short breaks in between is not a new idea as such, athletes have used this enhanced form of interval training to strengthening their muscles and improve their fitness. Recently, researchers have looked into the health benefits of using this type of training. And the results have challenged traditional thinking and it looks like it is possible to get more by doing less.

A less extreme form of HIT, where a person does not exercise for long may suit groups that belong to a group where doctors might have concerns about them. High intensity training may be suitable for overweight, less fit, and older people. The method is also suitable for improving muscles and ten one minutes sprints on the exercise bike with a one minute rests in between, three times a week, may achieve similar effect as hours of less intensive training on the exercise bike.

Searching for Positive Aspects

The new ideas is challenging traditional thinking and a search for other groups that may benefit from high intensity training lead to these new insights. Challenging the idea that only certain groups benefit from a specific types of training, included broadening the search for possible positive benefits.from training. In this case, the idea emerged by listening to groups who claim that “traditional exercise regime” does not help them to lose weight.

Spending time broadening the search for plus points in any idea is beneficial since it helps to provide a more rounded view of the idea. It is also vital to consider if the positive features can be better used in other ways. Can the plus points be enhanced and improved? An active search for new potential plus points can significantly improve a product. New ways to incorporate these new plus points could be explored and developed.

Writing a list of advantages highlights the fact that advantages are relative – an advantage is a favourable position over one or more alternatives or opponents. Providing reasons behind why a certain idea has an advantage over another helps to emphasise the underlying positives with the idea. Identifying the group or individuals that may have an advantage if the solution is carried out is also important. We can give an advantage to a group or individual by carrying out a certain idea. For example, the unwanted side effects of an experimental medicine might be used to advantage in the treatment of a different medical condition. Thus, an open approach to how we can search advantages relies on a broadening of the concept advantages.

Different Ways to Approach a Search for Advantages for X

  • Decide what groups to include in the search for advantages and explore what these groups would highlight – children, elderly, people with good sense of smell, visual artists, animals, plants.
  • Compare the idea with another idea, what factors stand out?
  • Choose different things to compare ideas with – some that are similar and others that are completely different.
  • What would happen if the product or solution were used every day? Or everyone used it the whole time?
  • Look at different bits of the idea – it is possible that there are some positive points with parts of the idea.
  • Explore what would happen in the future if the idea were not carried out.
  • Imagine working in a society where the idea has never been implemented and we have to explain it to the people.  What would we say? And what would they say are the positive aspects of the idea?

We recommend that you explore in depth that advantages with an idea before reacting to it. We often react to an idea – looking for negative points – from our current practices, frames, vested interests, established industries, or old paradigms. This prevents us from further developing the idea and testing the idea. In this case, the idea that some groups do not benefit from exercise due to their genetic heritage could be explored from a range of perspectives to support them to a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, we provide you with a different view about the benefits of HIT by Adam Richmond from Lace Market Clinic.

Photo: “Walk The Dog” by federico stevanin

Black-and-White Background

How does black-and-white background influence our thinking?

Thinking is never neutral. Focusing our attention on different aspect is often more difficult than we imagine. Many “little” things can affect our thinking. A recent study suggests that if we see something on a black-white background it is harder for us to consider grey areas when we are solving moral dilemmas. It appears that our judgement becomes more black-and-white.

Simone Schnall and her colleagues found that when people rated a fictional  moral story their ratings were influenced by the colour of the border. The participants saw the tale next to a black-and-white checkerboard, grey, or yellow-and-blue checkerboard. There was no difference between the grey and coloured checkerboards. Stronger judgement against the man’s behaviour was made when they saw the black-and-white checkerboard.  They same pattern appeared when the participants were asked questions about moral and immoral behaviours or asked to make judgements about fairness. This research, which has not yet undergone peer-review, adds to other interesting finding such as the way holding a hot cup of tea or coffee in one hands influences our perception of a situation,

All this is fascinating; yet the interesting question is how to prevent us from letting the environment influence our thinking. A first step is to develop an awareness of how various aspects in our surroundings may influence later thinking. It is also vital to explore different techniques to help us stay focused on the task. We can take breaks to help us clear our minds when we switch our perception and direct our thinking to other aspects.

Would the result in the study change if the participants had been allowed small breaks between reading the story and answering the questions?. Or is it possible to change the result by informing them that the background may influence their thinking. While we are waiting for new results, we can always test some ideas ourselves. How much can we influence out thinking by thinking about possible factors that may have influenced our thinking. Is it easier to look for risks and dangers when we are looking out of the window and the rain is pouring down?  

Under the Six Hats Thinking framework as designed by Edward de Bono we select a metaphorical thinking Hat as a way of directing the attention to a certain aspect. Switching from wearing one metaphorical hat to another is difficult. Awareness and tricks need to be used to ensure that our thinking under the Blue Hat is not too optimistic if we previously used the Yellow Hat. It is deceptively easy to believe that Blue Hat thinking is neutral. Moreover, it is easy to believe that we are in fact making a “neutral” evaluation of the thinking. However, our thinking is influenced by previous thinking and our feelings. A possible method that can be used is to take a small break when switching from one metaphorical thinking Hat to the next. We can listen to some music, walk around in the room, or mediate for a couple of minutes.

Photo: “Pixel Point” by Salvatore Vuono

Thinking about Value


Thinking about Value

The importance of value is the theme in the book “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  The narrator observes that grown-ups like numbers. Grown-ups think that they know a person after then have asked questions related to a new friend’s age and how much money his parent’s make. The little prince value aspects such as the games that his new friend likes.

Our value system can be investigated by asking questions related to things and activities that we like or do not like. These kinds of questions are asked in job interviews, when you try to become a member in certain societies. They are also frequently used in dating sites, where you are asked questions such as: “What do you like to do on your holiday, improve my tan or visit museum?”and “What do you like more, a town trip or a walk in the country side?” By asking about likes, problem solving solutions, behaviours, material things, hobbies the idea is to profile you in a value system.

In most other situations, value is involved and value can be of a social, economic, moral, ethical, or ascetical origin. When you are solving a puzzle or maths problem, you are pleased if you get the right answer. This is a value in itself. Yet, the value could also be to avoid boredom, intellectual challenge, or amusement.

Thinking about value can be tricky since other people are involved and their value and points of reference can be widely different. Value is subjective and often it is about what you are prepared to pay or give up having a certain object. Value refers to “something of worth” or “highly appreciated.” It could also refer to deeply felt beliefs or strongly held convictions about moral behaviour.  Identification of new market or increasing the charitable contributions may help to increase the value that other people ascribe to the company. Encouraging people within an organisation to think could be described as a positive value.

The Value of Creating

We often value the things we make ourselves and by letting people design their own  T-shirt or select the ingredients in their muesli, you provide people with the illusion that they have created something themselves. As a result, people value the product more and often they are prepared to pay more for a product that they have designed.

Knowledge and understanding about what people value may come a as surprise and getting this wrong may means that it takes longer for an idea to become popular.

The first instant cake mixes required no effort and they were not popular. By letting people add an egg, the mixtures became a hit. Now they cooks felt valued. And they enjoyed baking cakes using the instant cake mixes.

Design by Using Values

There are different approaches to understanding how, why, and to what degree people should value things. Whether the thing is a person, idea, object, or something else.  From an economic perspective, economic values are seen as an underlying value. In ethics, instrumental and intrinsic values are discussed.  Some things are good because they may result in good things – instrumental values. Others are good in themselves – intrinsic value. It is sometimes argued that wild life in itself has an intrinsic value and that this value comes before using nature as a resource for humans.

Build a car around the concept of confidence or value set of say three values, such as, confidence, reliability, and simplicity.

Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.

The task is now to make cars that make drivers more confident but avoid overconfidence. This could lead to the idea that the car’s computer gives feedback to the driver about the car’s handling. Maybe it is possible to use GPS and electronic maps for that.

Photo: Dripping Gold Color by pixtawan