(The teaching of creative thinking. Page 8)
There is a level of everyday creativity that should become part of our normal thinking skills. This should apply to everyone in an organization. In an ideal society, creativity would be a part of education at all levels. Analysis of information is not enough. We need to develop the skills of design in order to make things happen. Design needs creative skills.
In any organization there should be an attempt to train all personnel in basic creative thinking skills. This can be done most easily by providing training in some of the deliberate techniques of lateral thinking. This provides people with something to do. Just exhorting people to "be creative" is not effective.
"People who have never considered themselves to be creative find that the formal techniques allow them to build up a useful skill of creativity."
As the simple lateral thinking tools get used, the behaviour and attitudes incorporated in the tools become part of the thinking skill of that person and can be applied even if the tool itself is not formally used.
Training in creativity should be an essential part of such programs as quality management, continuous improvement, cost-cutting and customer service. In all such programs, there is an element of analysis and information collecting. There is the application of "common sense" principles. But there is also a need to generate alternatives and new ways of doing things. The creative belief that anything can probably be done in a better way is a basic attitude that is much needed in such programs. I have written about the necessity of seeking Simplicity as a goal and using creativity to achieve it.
There are special areas where there is a continual demand for fresh thinking: research; product development, marketing, corporate strategy and even labour relations. People in such areas are often quite complacent about their creative skills, which undoubtedly exist. When they see how the formal techniques of lateral thinking can supplement those skills, they often become enthusiastic about the use of these techniques.
The specific use of creativity involves the formal definition of creative focuses and creative tasks. Once there is a willingness to take creativity seriously and set up creative training, then it becomes possible to define targets which need new ideas and new concepts. In this way creativity becomes a corporate resource which can be used deliberately and in a focused manner. Where do we need new ideas? Now let's do something about those areas.
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