Creative Thinking Skills Techniques – The Five Whys
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Creative thinking skills techniques
- Edward DeBono
- Lateral Thinking
- Augmented Creativity
- The Five Whys
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Years ago I attended a talk by creativity keynote speaker Edward DeBono where he taught a number of creative thinking skills techniques. Creativity, innovation and concepts such as DeBono’s ‘Lateral Thinking’ and my ideas around ‘Augmented Creativity’ have never been more important. Whether that’s to help businesses compete in a global marketplace or individuals adapt to changes caused by technological disruption. By developing a toolkit of creative thinking skills, you equip yourself to tackle some of the biggest challenges you face in life and at work.
To change the world requires that we do things differently and we do different things. Many of today’s problems exist not because of a lack of will to solve them but rather a shortage of fresh, innovative, perhaps counterintuitive solutions. New creative ideas are what drive society and humanity forward. However if you ask most people today if they would describe themselves as being creative they will say no. Why is this? Well one reason is that they have never been taught a basic set of skills to generate and develop their ideas.
It starts by recognizing that creativity is not a mystery. Like any subject it can be studied, analyzed and basic principles and techniques arrived at. Understanding how creativity works will not in itself make you creative. You might understand at a theoretical level how to make bread but until you’ve actually mixed the ingredients, kneeded the dough and baked your first loaf you do not really know what baking bread is all about. Creative thinking skills and baking bread both require practice and experience.
Perhaps one of the simplest yet most powerful creative thinking skills is to spend the first 5-10 minutes thinking about the problem rather than generating solutions.
The next time you have a challenge or problem you are trying to solve, whether that’s how to reduce costs or how to market a new product, take five minutes to do the ‘Five Whys’ exercise. I want you to be like a five year old again and playfully ask yourself first “why is this problem important”. Perhaps the problem you think you are trying to solve is to increase footfall into your store.
So you’re first why might be “it’s important to increase footfall to generate sales”. Then ask yourself why again. Now your why might be something like “why will footfall generate sales”. After you’ve asked yourself why five times you might actually find a better solution would be to train your sales team because the real problem is not traffic but converting that footfall into sales.
The ‘Five Whys’ exercise is just one creative thinking skills technique you can use to generate new ideas and create a better life and business. Thanks for watching.