"I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.", Carlotte Bronte

Project Outcomes

Find a creativity technique
New creativity technique


Brainstorming: “Brainstorming is a group creativity technique designed to produce a "large quantity of ideas without regard to the quality of ideas" (Rickards, 1999) for the solution to a problem. It was popularized by Osborn (1953). The basic rules of brainstorming include: focus on quantity, no criticism, unusual ideas are welcome, combine and improve ideas. Brainstorming can be thought of as a search process, the target of the search being innovative and useful ideas (Clark, 1958; Rawlinson, 1970; Nickerson, 1999).”

Cognitive maps, mental maps, mind maps, cognitive models, or mental models are a type of mental processing (cognition) composed of a series of psychological transformations by which an individual can acquire code, store, recall and decode information about the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in their everyday or metaphorical spatial environment.

Componential model/ theory: Componential model (Amabile, 1983, 1996; Lubart, 1999) is an attempt to specify the set of abilities, skills, traits, dispositions, and/or processes that are involved in creative behaviour. This model suggests that creativity will be highest in that area where the three components (domain-relevantskills, creativity-related processes, and intrinsictask motivation) share their greatest overlap. In other words, people are most likely to be creative within their 'creativity intersection.' Identifying this intersection can be an important step towards creativity.”

Continuous improvement:

  1. “A quality philosophy that assumes further improvements are always possible and the process should be continuously re-evaluated and improvements implemented.”
  2. “The belief that an organization must constantly measure the effectiveness of its process and strive to meet more difficult objectives to satisfy customers”
  3. Ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.

Convergence: the skill as individuals and as a group to select the most important, insightful facts, ideas or solutions using judgment and evaluation.

Creative Environment: “The physical, social, and cultural environment in which creative activity occurs. Creative environments may involve nested environment, for example, a research laboratory nested within a research institute, nested within a university, nested within a particular state or union, nested within a particular time in history. A creative environment is one of three basic elements in a creative ecosystem.” (Creativity Encyclopedia, 1999)

Creative problem solving: “A type of problem solving , is the mental process of searching for a new and novel creative solution to a problem, a solution which is novel, original and not obvious.”
It was invented by Alex Osborne.

Creative thinking: “The process of generating ideas, which frequently emphasizes fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration in thinking. Treffinger & Isakson (1992) defined creative thinking as “Making and expressing meaningful nee connections; it is a process in which we perceive gaps, paradoxes, challenges, concerns, or opportunities; and then think of many possibilities; think and experience various ways, with different viewpoints; think of varied and unusual possibilities; and extend and elaborate alternatives.” (Isakson et al., 1994, Index)

Critical thinking (sub term found under Thinking): “The process of analyzing, refining, developing, or selecting ideas, including categorizing, comparing and contrasting, examining arguments and assumptions, reaching and evaluating inferences and deductions, setting priorities, and making choices or decisions.” (CBIR, 1999)

Debate: “Examining a question, situation, issue, topic, or challenge from many divers perspectives or viewpoints, including sharing of differing experiences and knowledge; focus on the issues involved, as opposed to conflict, which focuses on the people holding or presenting the beliefs or issues. A dimension of the Climate for Innovation Questionnaire.” (Isakson et al., 1994, Index)

Decision making: “It is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from various alternatives. The objective of any Foresight activities is to contribute to, facilitate or guide the decision-making process, usually by providing strategic recommendations to policy-makers or corporate executives as part of the formal outputs of an exercise”.

Deferral of judgment: the ability to consciously separate the two actions of convergence and divergence.

Divergence: the ability to imaginatively list facts, idea and solutions without evaluation, judgment or criticism.

Divergent thinking: The ability to develop original and unique ideas and to envision multiple solutions to a problem, a cognitive trait that J.P. Guilford (1954) considered as the most important ingredient of creativity. It is a form of thinking that does not follow the beaten path of conformityor convention but proceeds towards unusual solutions. The three most important characteristics of divergent thinking are flexibility, originality, and fluency; or the ability to produce, rapidly, a succession of ideas that meet some requirements.”

Domain specific knowledgerefers to knowledge that is encapsulated within a particular domain of learning such as mathematics, history, and literature.” It is extremely important in the development of expertise and skilled problem solving (Ericsson, 2003).

Driver: “A broad term for any force causing change, whether brought about by persons, organizations, or STEEPS3 conditions [A way of looking at the future in terms of eight general subject categories: Science (abbreviated "S zero"), Technology & Information ("T"), Environment, Energy, Resources, and Global Issues ("E one"), Economics, Globalization & Capitalism ("E two"), Politics, Security & Democracy ("P"), Society (Big): Culture, Media, Education & Religion ("S one"), Society (Medium): Business & Organizations ("S two"), and Society (Small): Personal & Career ("S three")]”.

Driving forces are those forces affecting a situation that are pushing in a particular direction; they tend to initiate a change and keep it going. In terms of improving productivity in a work group, pressure from a supervisor, incentive earnings and competition may be examples of driving forces.

Extrinsic motivation: Driveto actionthat (as opposed to intrinsic motivation) springs from outside influencesinstead of from one's own feelings.

Facilitator: The person leading the session, team leader.

Five factor model: “There are 5 fundamental bipolar dimensions to personality: openness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.” (Creativity Encyclopedia, 1999)

Forecasting: “It used to be considered as the approach to envisage the future. It is by definition normative and aims at predicting (technological) developments on the basis of the extrapolation of perceptible trends”.

Foresight: “Foresight is a systematic, participatory, future-intelligence gathering and medium-to-long-term vision-building process aimed at enabling present-day decisions and mobilising joint actions”.

Free-associating – contains elements of several other idea-generating techniques and depends on a mental ‘stream of consciousness’ and network of associations of which there are two:

Serial association, start with a trigger, you record the flow of ideas that come to mind, each idea triggering the next, ultimately reaching a potentially useful one.

Centred association, (which is close to classical brainstorming) prompts you to generate multiple associations to the original trigger so that you ‘delve’ into a particular area of associations.

Full-spectrum thinking: The team looks at all sides of an issue cohesively and without confrontation.

Idea flow: “The speed at which ideas are produced and recorded in a brainstorming session. A rapid, continuous flow can be managed through a variety of recording techniques such as flip charts, storyboards, Post-It ™ notes, or increasing the number of recorders per group.” (Isakson et al., 1994, Index)

Imagery is descriptive language that deals with any of the five senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste) and is intended to make the reader feel more interested in the work by creating a mental image of the subject. Guided imagery involves a facilitator who provides suggestions by involving all five senses as part of descriptive language [5].

Imagination is the ability to form mental images, or the ability to spontaneously generate images within one's own mind. It helps provide meaning to experience and understanding to knowledge; it is a fundamental facility through which people make sense of the world and it also plays a key role in the learning process.

Incubation: “A general phenomenon in the creative process, during which one’s mind may continue to explore ideas when one is not consciously thinking about the challenge or concern.” (Isakson et al., 1994, Index) .

Intrapersonal intelligence: (From Howard Gardner) this capacity helps in making subtle distinctions among cognitive and emotional processes, as one means of understanding and guiding one’s own creative behavior. (Sternberg, 1999)

Intrinsic motivation [10] “refers to motivation that comes from inside an individual rather than from any external or outside rewards, such as money or grades. The motivation comes from the pleasure one gets from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing or even working on a task. An intrinsically motivated person will work on a math equation, for example, because it is enjoyable. Or an intrinsically motivated person will work on a solution to a problem because the challenge of finding a solution is provides a sense of pleasure. In neither case does the person work on the task because there is some reward involved, such as a prize, a payment, or in the case of students, a grade. Intrinsic motivation does not mean, however, that a person will not seek rewards. It just means that such external rewards are not enough to keep a person motivated. An intrinsically motivated student, for example, may want to get a good grade on an assignment, but if the assignment does not interest that student, the possibility of a good grade is not enough to maintain that student's motivation to put any effort into the project”.

Mental image is an experience that significantly resembles the experience of perceiving some object, event, or scene, but that occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present to the senses.

Metaphor: Understanding and experiencing one event, experience, or thing but describing it as another concept, usually from a different realm, which is related to it in several specific ways. In a metaphor, you describe one thing as another, without using the word “like” (which is employed as a simile). Metaphors are used in CPS to gain new perspectives for dealing with problems or challenges. (Often referred to as metaphorical thinking). (Isakson et al., 1994, Index)

Morphological Forced Connections – the general use of a matrix in Creativity and Innovation is often known as a "Morphological" method.

Out-of-the-box thinking: thinking that moves away in diverging directions so as to involve a variety of aspects and which sometimes leads to novel ideas and solutions; associated with creativity.

Outsider: Someone irrelevant to your field of work and from an entirely different working field.

Parallel thinking: everyone is using the same tool at the same time on the same challenge.

Problem-solvingisa mental process that involves discovering, analyzing and solving problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue. Learn more about the steps in problem-solving.

Quantitative information includes the familiar scores, numbers, statistics, etc. gathered by the use of survey instruments and check boxes, scales, etc.

Qualitative information is, essentially, individual (informant) narrative reports of experiences. Qualitative information is gathered by methods that are personal, direct, and open-ended, with minimal constraints on what the answers to the questions may be. These methods include formal research methods such as structured personal interviews, case studies, Naturalistic Inquiry (Lincoln and Guba), formal focus groups, participant observation, Delphi techniques etc, but you can also gather qualitative information by simply asking open-ended and exploratory questions within surveys.

Restraining forces are forces acting to restrain or decrease the driving forces. Apathy, hostility, and poor maintenance of equipment may be examples of restraining forces against increased production.

Role card: A card indicating the role (character or job description) of each participant.

SCAMPER is an acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify (or Magnify or Minimize), Put to other uses, Eliminate (or Exaggerate), Reverse (or Rearrange). It serves as a tool to help develop creative thinking skills by facilitating fluency and flexibility in thinking.

Semantics – studies the practical use of signs by agents or communities of interpretation within particular circumstances and contexts. By the usual convention that calls a study or a theory by the name of its subject matter, semantics may also denote the theoretical study of meaning in systems of signs.

Semantic network is often used as a form of knowledge representation. It is a directed graph consisting of vertices, which represent concepts and edges, which represent semantic relations between the concepts.

Trend: “A pattern of change over time in some variable of interest. Having trend data for some variable implies multiple instances of that variable. For example, one revolution in Africa is an event; two or three revolutions would call for comparative case studies; fifteen revolutions in countries in Africa within five years would constitute a trend. One of the most obvious, and largest trends, is the increase in world population. A potentially even larger trend, but much less obvious -- or even agreed upon -- would be the gradual warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. Another is the continuing decline in the cost of microchips and consequently of computers”.

Vision: “In the context of future-oriented activities, a vision is an imagined representation or a shared picture of the (usually desired) future”.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication
reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any
use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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