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Tutorial on creativity, brainstorming and innovation

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Welcome to the Brainstorming Toolbox tutorial on Creative/Lateral Thinking and Problem Solving.

This tutorial is taken from the full training material for Brainstorming Toolbox held at and deals purely with the Creative Thinking techniques which are used within the framework of the Problem Solving process. Creative thinking and brainstorm techniques are used to generate new idea and solutions for business and pleasure. Other lateral thinking techniques in the Problem Solving process are shown: Click here to go to the section of this page on the Problem Solving process.

Use this page to learn how to brainstorm and use creative / lateral techniques for business solutions. Enhance your creativity, brainstorm and innovation skills with techniques such as random word and SCAMPER.

innovation house Click here NOW to go to INNOVATION HOUSE, web resource for creativity and brainstorming.

"Never be stuck for a new idea."


Creativity is the bringing into being something which did not exist before, either as a product, a process or a thought.

You would be demonstrating creativity if you:
  • Invent something which has never existed before.
  • Invent something which exists elsewhere but you are not aware of.
  • Invent a new process for doing something.
  • Reapply an existing process or product into a new or different market.
  • Develop a new way of looking at something (bringing a new idea into existence).
  • Change the way someone else looks at something.
We are all creative every day because we are constantly changing the ideas which we hold about the world about us and our relationship with it. Creativity does not have to be about developing something new to the world, it is more to do with developing something new to ourselves. When we change ourselves, the world changes with us, both in the way that the world is affected by our changed actions and in the changed way that we experience the world.

Creativity can be used to make products, processes and services better and it can be used to create them in the first place. It is expected that Instant Brainstorming Toolbox will be used to help you, your organisation and your customers become happier through improvements in your quality and quantity of output. Instant Brainstorming Toolbox should be beneficial to your career and to your company.


Creative thinking is the process which we use when we come up with a new idea. It is the merging of ideas which have not been merged before. New ideas are formed by developing the current ones within our minds. Our brains are self-organising systems which organise thoughts coming in depending on what is already there. That is, we can only think of new ideas within the context of what we already know. While this may seem to mean that we cannot have any really creative ideas, you will find that this is not really the case and that by combining computer techniques and our own minds we have the perfect combination of skills to create wildly creative yet meaningful solutions.

This creative thought process can be accidental, deliberate or ongoing.

Without using special techniques, creative thinking still occurs but usually in the accidental way; a chance happening makes you think about something in a different way and you discover a beneficial change. Other changes happen slowly through pure use of intelligence and logical progression. Using this accidental or logical progression process often takes a long time for products to develop and improve.

Using special techniques, deliberate creative thinking can be used to develop new ideas. The techniques force a wide range of merging ideas to happen to spark off new thoughts and processes. Developments of products occur much more rapidly using these techniques than by accident. Many people who are known as being creative use these techniques but not aware that they are using them because they have not been formally trained in them.

Ongoing creative thinking is the continuous investigation, questioning and analysis that develops through education, training and self-awareness. Ongoing creativity maximises both accidental and deliberate creative thinking. It is a quest for improvement which never ends. It is an acceptance of and a looking for continuous change that differentiates between ongoing creativity and mental inflexibility. Ongoing creativity takes time and practice to become skillful. Ongoing creative thinking soon becomes an attitude not a technique. Instant Brainstorming Toolbox is designed to help you become and stay continuously creative by providing all the necessary tools at your fingertips for both training purposes and for daily use.

The first step to take is to learn the creative thinking techniques so that you can use them deliberately to come up with new ideas. You will then be at an immediate advantage to those who do not know how to use them. You should then practice them to increase your skill at ongoing creative thinking. With practice you may even find it unnecessary to use specific techniques because you may soon have too many ideas without using them at all.


New ideas happen when two or more ideas are merged when they have never been merged before. It is the combining of two previously-uncombined thoughts, products or processes. Creative thinking techniques provide the method for deliberately combining ideas in ways which you would not normally come across or think about.

The creative thinking process looks like this:

This shows the creative process

You mean thats it? Yes, Creative Thinking is about merging two ideas which have not been merged before. BUT the hard bit is finding the ideas to merge. AND the next hard bit is developing that new idea into a workable solution.

The first hard bit is helped by the Creative Thinking techniques which suggest ideas to merge. Since the computer doesnt actually understand what it is you are trying to do, then it is the perfect partner for providing ideas which you would not have thought of merging. The computer does not have the pre-conceptions or biases which make us human and so is a superb way to help us merge ideas in new ways.

Whether that new idea is of immediate value is not a concern at this stage. It is the generation of new ideas which matters at this stage of the problem solving process. It is then up to you to decide if the idea is of value to you.

Once you have come up with the new idea, the next hard bit is to make it workable and useable to solve your problem. This is where the computer is not so good and your brain has to do most of the work in putting the idea into the right context. The computer can give you standard prompts for you to analyse the idea, but it is your skill in developing the new idea into a solution for your specific problem.

This makes the best use out of both you and your computer. The computer provides the stimulus for you and you turn the stimulus into a solution.

The process then becomes:

This shows the final creative process

You provide the understanding of the problem and use a Stimulus idea from your personal computer (PC) to develop a new idea. This idea can either be immediately useful or you can use the idea as a bridge between the stimulus and the final workable idea. The idea which is the merging between the stimulus and the problem concept is called the Bridging Idea because it is a bridge between the problem and the final solution. It is a concept that is developed by the merging of idea which is then used to generate the solution which uses that concept.

Brainstorming Toolbox both provides the Stimulus Idea and provides the mechanism for recording and organising both the Bridging Idea and the Final Idea.


The techniques you can use are listed below and you can click on it for further information.

To really see what these techniques are about you need to try our brainstorming software.

This is the end of the tutorial on Creative Thinking. We hope that you will now want to make the most efficient use of these techniques by purchasing the full Brainstorming Toolbox software.

See below for the tutorial on the Problem Solving process.

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Free Demonstration version of Brainstorming Toolbox

If you would like to try out the full version of Brainstorming Toolbox then click the next line. It includes a full training manual on creative thinking, the creative techniques and problem solving. Click here to go to the Brainstorming Toolbox download page


This is a tutorial on the process of solving problems of which Brainstorming Toolbox is the best tool for the idea generation part. The process is a structured way of working through all aspects of a problem to reach a good, realistic solution. This page summarises it all and explains how they fit together.


The Problem Solving process consists of a sequence of sections which fit together depending on the type of problem to be solved. These are:
  • Problem Definition.
  • Problem Analysis.
  • Generating possible Solutions (using Brainstorming Toolbox).
  • Analysing the Solutions.
  • Selecting the best Solution(s).
  • Planning the next course of action (Next Steps)
The process is only a guide for problem solving. It is useful to have a structure to follow to make sure that nothing is overlooked. Nothing here is likely to be brand new to anyone, but it is the pure acknowledgement and reminding of the process which can help the problems to be solved.

Problem Definition

The normal process for solving a problem will initially involve defining the problem you want to solve. You need to decide what you want achieve and write it down. Often people keep the problem in their head as a vague idea and can so often get lost in what they are trying to solve that no solution seems to fit. Merely writing down the problem forces you to think about what you are actually trying to solve and how much you want to achieve. The first part of the process not only involves writing down the problem to solve, but also checking that you are answering the right problem. It is a check-step to ensure that you do not answer a side-issue or only solve the part of the problem which is most easy to solve. People often use the most immediate solution to the first problem definition that they find without spending time checking the problem is the right one to answer.

Problem Analysis

The next step in the process is often to check where we are, what is the current situation and what is involved in making it a problem. For example, what are the benefits of the current product/service/process? And why did we decide to make it like that? Understanding where the problem is coming from, how it fits in with current developments and what the current environment is, is crucial when working out whether a solution will actually work or not. Similarly you must have a set of criteria by which to evaluate any new solutions or you will not know whether the idea is workable or not. This section of the problem solving process ensures that time is spent in stepping back and assessing the current situation and what actually needs to be changed.

After this investigation, it is often good to go back one step to reconfirm that your problem definition is still valid. Frequently after the investigation people discover that the problem they really want to answer is very different from their original interpretation of it.

Generating possible Solutions (brainstorming)

When you have discovered the real problem that you want to solve and have investigated the climate into which the solution must fit, the next stage is to generate a number of possible solutions. This is when you should use Brainstorming Toolbox to aid your group brainstorming sessions, or you can even use it to brainstorm by yourself. At this stage you should concentrate on generating many solutions and should not evaluate them at all. Very often an idea, which would have been discarded immediately, when evaluated properly can be developed into a superb solution. At this stage, you should not pre-judge any potential solutions but should treat each idea as a new idea in its own right and worthy of consideration. This is the section where you will be using the advanced brainstorming techniques. Brainstorming Toolbox brings effective techniques to your screen for you to use immediately and interactively. Click here to download Brainstorming Toolbox or click here for a complete training manual on brainstorming.

Analysing Solutions

This section of the problem solving process is where you investigate the various factors about each of the potential solutions. You note down the good and bad points and other things which are relevant to each solution. Even at this stage you are not evaluating the solution because if you do so then you could decide not to write down the valid good points about it because overall you think it will not work. However you might discover that by writing down its advantages that it has a totally unique advantage. Only by discovering this might you choose to put the effort in to develop the idea so that it will work.

Voting for the best Solution(s)

This is the section where you look through the various influencing factors for each possible solution and decide which solutions to keep and which to disregard. You look at the solution as a whole and use your judgement as to whether to use the solution or not. You can vote using either a Yes/No/Interesting process or on a sliding scale depending on how good the idea is. Then you give a score of 3 for a Yes, 1 for an "Interesting" and -1 for a No, and then add up the scores and put them in order. Sometimes there will be times when pure facts and figures dictate which ideas will work and which will not. Othertimes it will be purely feelings and intuition which decides. Remember that intuition is really a lifetimes experience and judgement compressed into a single decision.

By voting for the solutions you will end up with a shortlist of potential solutions. You may want to increase the depth in the analysis of each idea and vote again on that shortlist to further refine your shortlist.

You will then end up with one, many or no viable solutions. In the case where you have no solutions which work, you will need to repeat the generation of solutions section to discover more potential solutions. Alternatively you might consider re-evaluating the problem again as sometimes you may not find a solution because the problem definition is not well defined or self-contradictory.

Planning the next course of action (Next Steps)

This section of the process is where you write down what you are going to do next. Now that you have a potential solution or solutions you need to decide how you will make the solution happen. This will involve people doing various things at various times in the future and then confirming that they have been carried out as planned. This stage ensures that the valuable thinking that has gone into solving the problem becomes reality. This series of Next Steps is the logical step to physically solving the problem.

Using Brainstorming Toolbox to help create new ideas

You can use Brainstorming Toolbox in your brainstorming section of the above process to generate new and original ideas. Brainstorming Toolbox helps you solve problems and generate new solutions to help you, your career and your company. Click here to go to the Brainstorming Toolbox download page

innovation house Click here NOW to go to INNOVATION HOUSE, web resource for creativity and brainstorming.

Free Demonstration version of Brainstorming Toolbox

If you would like to try out the full version of Brainstorming Toolbox then click the next line. It includes a full training manual on creative thinking, the creative techniques and problem solving. Click here to go to the Brainstorming Toolbox download page

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