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Tools for creativity Wellness and Health Innovation project

Warning; the future is always closer than it appears Faith Popcorn

Why creativity is important Globalisation and shorter product life cycles mean the old ways of doing business are no longer relevant. Innovation is vital for companies to stay ahead of competition and – in many cases – to stay in business. The race is on to develop a new product or service that brings superior value to the customer. If you come up with a really innovative solution that leapfrogs the competition, chances are you will be more successful. Creativity plays a vital role in this process. This paper is a practical approach to being more creative. It is not a comprehensive guide, but is intended as an introduction to a process and some tools that you can use to:• brainstorm ideas • push the boundaries of your thinking • help create a stronger team

Stop before you start

Plan before you start The human mind is incredibly efficient. Given a problem, it immediately gets thinking about how to solve the problem without considering:• Am I working on the right problem? • And is this the best solution? Better to explore the situation to understand:• Who are the stakeholders? What would success look like for them? • What is the root of the issue, the technical problem, the unmet need, the identified gap? • What resources do I have at my disposal to help solve the problem? Time spent planning at this stage is never wasted, and can often save significant time and money overall.

Frame the problem – situation analysis  Who is the customer? (Your immediate customer, and their successive customers until you reach the end user)  Who are the other stakeholders (use the 9 Cs tool). What are their expectations and requirements?  What is their need/ goal/ challenge/ problem?  What do people dislike about the current solution/ products/ service?  What do people like about the current solution/ products/ service?  In what way is current solution ineffective?

Situation Analysis Tool – Ideal Final Result

Ideal Final Result Most innovation is incremental, and while small improvements certainly have their place, it is always worth extending the vision to identify what the ultimate result might be. This final result might not be technically or financially feasible, but it gives you a vision to aim for. So when you are seeking new solutions, rather than using the current design as a starting point, come up with a vision for the Ideal Final Result and work back from there to a realistic option. This is also a useful activity when you are considering Intellectual Property (IP), as you can include concepts that will be future generations of the current model.

Start here

Don’t start here

Current Situation


Intermediate solutions

Ideal Final Result

Ideal Final Result – questions to ask What is the final aim of the product? What is the IFR outcome? What is stopping you achieving this? Why is it stopping you achieving this? How could you make this disappear? Has anyone else solved this problem?

Situation Analysis Tool – Resources

Resources Another useful tool at this stage is to consider what resources you have to hand that could be applied to your project. Resources include the more obvious tangible resources, such as people and equipment. But they also include intangible resources, such as useful information or skills that your team or associates might have. A full list appears on the next page. Another step is to consider not just the current resources you have available, but resources you had in the past that you could draw on again (e.g. a retired employee), or that you tried and didn’t work (to save going down that path again). Finally, a useful exercise is to define your ‘system’. This might be the team, the product, your organisation, whatever makes sense. Then consider resources that are within your system, external to the system and in the subsystem. Carry out this exercise for tangible and then intangible resources.

Resources  Substance – material (equipment, materials, software, waste) within the system or system’s surrounding  People – within and around system  Financial - (budgets, grants, funding)  Information – tacit and explicit knowledge, Intellectual Capital, other sources e.g. books, internet  Energy Resources – sources of energy available within the system or system’s surrounding, which are not used fully  Space Resources – any unused space  Time Resources – any spare time slots in between, before or after technological processes

Resources - examples Harnessing the power of UV light to stimulate cell activity in an anti-ageing skin care product Targets for clay pigeon shooting made of compacted manure Moulds for casting thermoplastic parts made in useful shapes (alphabet letters) to reduce wastage Snow in northern coal pit blown into pit to cool air, dampen coal dust and reduce risk of explosions

Tangible resources Tangible Resources (people, materials, equipment) PAST

Around system e.g. External

System e.g. Company

Within system e.g. Team



Intangible resources Intangible Resources (information, energy, space, time) PAST

Around system e.g. External

System e.g. Company

Within system e.g. Team



Generate ideas

Start creating Now you can start to come up with new ideas. The best way to get good ideas is to expand your thinking, generate lots of ideas and then discard the poor ones. Use the rules of brainstorming:1.

Defer criticism At this stage there are no bad ideas; don’t be negative. Judgement can come later.


Go for quantity It’s simple maths – the more ideas, the greater the chance of a really good idea.


Go for wild ideas The wild ideas can prove to be the most insightful. Remember the Ideal Final Result.


Build on ideas What can you add to the idea? What other ideas come to mind? How can your experience add to this?

Problem Solving Tool – Trends of Evolution

Problem Solving Tool – Trends of Evolution 

Based on the premise that:̶

All technical systems evolve in set patterns ̶

These patterns are the same across different industries ̶

All trends work towards the ideal solution ̶

By understanding these patterns you can shortcut the process for generation of new ideas

How to use Trends of Evolution:1. Select the most relevant trends for your product/service 2. Identify where you are on the trend 3. Brainstorm for each of the trends to the right of where you are. Adapted from TRIZ,

Trend of Mono-Bi-Poly Razer

Mono System

Razor with 2,3,4,5 blade aloe Bi System

Tri System

Other examples:̶ Mobile phones ̶ Toothbrushes with tongue cleaners ̶ Power tools with multiple attachments ̶ Yoghurts with separate toppings

Razor with hair clippers Poly System

Trend of Increasing Use of Senses

1 sense

 Touch  Smell  Sight  Hearing  Taste

2 senses

3 senses

4 senses

5 senses

Examples:̶ TV adverts with jingles and slogans ̶ Videophones ̶ Surround sound and sometimes motion and even smells in cinemas ̶ Luxury cars – in addition to visual, the smell of new leather, sound (of engine, doors, etc), the feel of seats, steering wheel, etc ̶ Ambulance sirens with using flashing lights as well

Trend of Increasing Use of Colour



Binary use of colour

Use of visible spectrum

̶ Warning systems ̶ Used to differentiate range of products ̶ Temperature sensitive paints ̶ Using IR to achieve heat-seeking capability

Full spectrum (incl. UV, IR)

Trend of Market Evolution






 Commodities – steel, timber, generic drugs  Products – cars, phones, washing machines  Services – clean clothes, fast food, package holidays  Experience – Disney, Starbucks, adventure sports  Transformation – personal trainers

Trend of Smart Materials

Passive material

1-way adaptive

2-way adaptive

Examples:̶ Photochromic lenses ̶ Shape-memory alloys, polymers ̶ Self-cleaning glass ̶ Gel-filled bicycle seats

Fully adaptive

Trend of Space Segmentation



Multiple hollows

Examples:̶ Bricks ̶ Chocolate bars ̶ Bread ̶ Radiators ̶ Soles of running/training shoes ̶ Double glazing


Porous with actives

Trend of Surface Segmentation

Smooth surface

Ribbed surface

3D roughened surface

Examples:̶ Raised pavement to warn of obstacle ̶ Grips on handles, e.g. wheelbarrows ̶ Tyres ̶ Bioactive surface coatings ̶ Speed bumps on road

Roughened with active component

Trend of Increasing Asymmetry

Symmetrical system

Partial asymmetry

Examples:̶ Handles on jugs ̶ Spirals ̶ Scissors ̶ Long tail marketing

Matched asymmetry

Trend of Controllability

Direct control

Action through intermediary

Addition of feedback

Examples:̶ Robots, e.g. vacuum cleaners ̶ Speed signs in built-up areas ̶ Reversing signals on cars ̶ Auto focus cameras

Intelligent feedback

Trend of Dynamisation


Jointed system

Fully flexible system

Fluid or pneumatic system

Examples:̶ Folding products, e.g. umbrellas, tripods ̶ Window blinds ̶ Lasers ̶ Desk lamps ̶ Sound recording (tape to optical)

Fieldbased system

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. Michelangelo

Tools for Creativity  

This paper is a practical approach to being more creative. It is not a comprehensive guide, but is intended as an introduction to a process...

Tools for Creativity  

This paper is a practical approach to being more creative. It is not a comprehensive guide, but is intended as an introduction to a process...