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101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7673-6
400 pages
November 2004, Pfeiffer
101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving (0787976733) cover image
Employees who possess problem-solving skills are highly valued in today s competitive business environment. The question is how can employees learn to deal in innovative ways with new data, methods, people, and technologies? In this groundbreaking book, Arthur VanGundy -- a pioneer in the field of idea generation and problem solving -- has compiled 101 group activities that combine to make a unique resource for trainers, facilitators, and human resource professionals. The book is filled with idea-generation activities that simultaneously teach the underlying problem-solving and creativity techniques involved. Each of the book s 101 engaging and thought-provoking activities includes facilitator notes and advice on when and how to use the activity. Using 101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving will give you the information and tools you need to:

  • Generate creative ideas to solve problems.
  • Avoid patterned and negative thinking.
  • Engage in activities that are guaranteed to spark ideas.
  • Use proven techniques for brainstorming with groups.

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Acknowledgments xi

Getting Started 1

Chapter 1: Creativity and Problem Solving 3

Why Use Creativity Techniques? 4

Generating Creative Ideas 4

Creativity Training in Organizations 4

A Typology of Idea Generation Activities 5

Chapter 2: Six Key Principles for Encouraging Creativity 11

1. Separate Idea Generation from Evaluation 12

2. Test Assumptions 15

3. Avoid Patterned Thinking 14

4. Create New Perspectives 16

5. Minimize Negative Thinking 17

6. Take Prudent Risks 18

Chapter 3: Linking Problems,Solutions, and Activities 21

Defining Problems 21

Problem Solving 23

Creativity and Serendipity 23

A Few of My Favorite Activities 24

A Guide for Selecting Activities 26

How to Evaluate and Select Ideas in a Group 29

Getting Ready: Different Uses Warm-Up Exercise 30

Activity Selection Guide 32

Individual and Group Activities 37

Chapter 4: Basic Idea Generation:“No Brainers” 39

1. Bend It, Shape It 40

2. Brain Borrow 44

3. Copy Cat 47

4. Dead Head Deadline 50

5. Get Crazy 52

6. Idea Diary 55

7. Mental Breakdown 57

8. Music Mania 61

9. Name Change 65

10. Stereotype 68

11. Switcheroo 71

12. Wake-Up Call 73

Chapter 5:Ticklers: Related and Unrelated Stimuli 77

13. Excerpt Excitation 79

14. Idea Shopping 84

15. A Likely Story 88

16. PICLed Brains 92

17. Picture Tickler 97

18. Rorschach Revisionist 101

19. Say What? 105

20. Text Tickler 111

21. Tickler Things 115

Chapter 6:Combinations 119

22. Bi-Wordal 120

23. Circle of Opportunity 123

24. Combo Chatter 127

25. Ideas in a Box 130

26. Ideatoons 133

27. Mad Scientist 137

28. Noun Action 140

29. Noun Hounds 143

30. Parts Is Parts 146

31. Parts Purge 150

32. Preppy Thoughts 153

33. SAMM I Am 156

34. 666 159

35. Word Diamond 162

Chapter 7: Free Association Activities:“Blue Skies” 167

36. Brain Mapping 169

37. Doodles 173

38. Essence of the Problem 177

39. Exaggerate That 181

40. Fairy Tale Time 184

41. Idea Links 189

42. Imaginary Mentor 193

43. Lotus Blossom 196

44. Say Cheese 199

45. Sense Making 201

46. Skybridging 204

47. Tabloid Tales 207

48. We Have Met the Problem and It Is We 211

49. What if . . . ? 214

Chapter 8: Grab Bag:Miscellaneous Activities 217

Backward Activities

50. Law Breaker 218

51. Problem Reversals 221

52. Turn Around 225

Just Alike Only Different Activities

53. Bionic Ideas 229

54. Chain Alike 234

55. I Like It Like That 238

56. What Is It? 241

Group Only Activities 245

Chapter 9: Brainstorming with Related Stimuli 247

57. Be #1 249

58. Blender 252

59. Drawing Room 255

60. Get Real!! 258

61. Idea Showers 261

62. Modular Brainstorming 264

63. Pass the Hat 268

64. Phillips 66 272

65. Play by Play 274

66. Rice Storm 278

67. Spin the Bottle 282

68. Story Boards 284

69. That’s the Ticket! 287

70. What’s the Problem? 290

Chapter 10: Brainstorming with Unrelated Stimuli 295

71. Battle of the Sexes 296

72. Best of. . . 299

73. Brain Splitter 302

74. Force-Fit Game 306

75. Grab Bag Forced Association 309

76. It’s Not My Job 311

77. Rolestorming 314

78. Roll Call 317

79. Sculptures 321

80. Super Heroes 325

Chapter 11: Brainwriting with Related Stimuli 329

81. As Easy As 6–3–5 330

82. Brain Purge 333

83. Group Not 335

84. Idea Mixer 338

85. Idea Pool 340

86. Museum Madness 342

87. Organizational Brainstorms 344

88. Out-of-the-Blue Lightning Bolt Cloudbuster 346

89. You’re a Card,Andy! 348

90. Your Slip Is Showing 351

Chapter 12: Brainwriting with Unrelated Stimuli 355

91. Altered States 356

92. Balloon, Balloon, Balloon 360

93. Bouncing Ball 364

94. Brainsketching 366

95. Doodlin’Around the Block 369

96. Greeting Cards 372

97. The Name Game 376

98. Pass the Buck 379

99. Post It, Pardner! 382

100. Puzzle Pieces 385

101. The Shirt Off Your Back 387

References 389

About the Author 391

Pfeiffer Publications Guide 393

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Arthur VanGundy is professor of communication at the University of Oklahoma and founder of AllStarMinds.com, a global "e-storming" and brainstorming retreat firm. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books including 101 Great Games & Activities and Orchestrating Collaboration at Work (both from Pfeiffer) and has been interviewed for numerous publications including BusinessWeek, Fortune Small Business, the New York Times, Science Digest, Inc., Success, and US News and World Report, and has facilitated training sessions for such organizations as Hershey Foods, S.C. Johnson, Xerox, McNeil Consumer Products, Motorola, Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals, and the Singapore government.
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“In today’s rapidly changing world, companies cannot afford to rely on old, rigid operating systems to solve their problems. They must adopt a more flexible and innovative approach by creating new ideas. In his latest book, 101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving, Dr. Van Gundy has compiled the best exercises for you and your team to come up with creative solutions to all sorts of company problems¾from personal issues to new product development. This is the ‘creativity reference’ book every company should have on their shelf.”--Doug Hall, author, CEO-Eureka! Ranch

"Many people in business spend their time imagining all the reasons why something can’t be done or why something can’t work. Dr. Arthur VanGundy’s 101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving will change this way of thinking. Arthur’s inventive thinking techniques will show people creative ways on how to get things done and how to make them work. As a creativity expert, I’ve reviewed just about all the material on or about creativity in business on the market. This collection is the most comprehensive, practical, and best idea-generating resource available. You can take my word for it."--Michael Michalko, author, Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity; Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius; and ThinkPac (A Brainstorming Card Set)

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