To subscribe to a
short MONTHLY MENTOR email reminder with links to changes in
Feature Article, Creativity Comments, Topics, and Visual Treats,
enter "Update" on the Subject line.
Email addresses will never be given out. You can cancel at
Creativity Comments by Winston J. Brill, Ph.D.
08/03 Creativity Comment
Summary to the Creativity Technique Challenge
In the three months since giving our readers (05-07/03
Creativity Comment) an opportunity to indicate the value of a
particular creativity technique, I received 41 responses.
I was hoping to be convinced of least one example of a
method that actually does significantly stimulate new and useful
8 respondents claimed a specific technique to be
effective. Six were
professional creativity consultants or trainers, most promoting
their businesses, so I don’t consider them to have an objective
view of the value of creativity techniques.
They could have demonstrated the value of a technique by
providing a list of great ideas from clients who used the process.
Or they could have indicated satisfied clients who I could
contact to check on their assessment of the value of the methods.
Each of the other two people (whose professions I could not
ascertain) claimed that a certain technique does stimulate
significant creativity. Each
made this claim for a different technique, but did not give
examples of what useful was accomplished with the method.
28 respondents had experience with various creativity
methods, but stated that they weren’t effective. Excerpts from their responses:
“Upper management, looking for an easy way to get our
company to be more creative, had
Human Resource staff trained off-site. They
came back full of high expectations.
After six months of brainstorming, no one now dares use the
“My supervisor selected me to attend a three-week course on
creative thinking and I was eager to learn.
But I learned nothing practical—just someone’s opinion
of what people should do to be more creative, with no foundation
for the opinion.”
“Aren’t we all very creative? What’s to learn? ‘Methods’
“Maybe creativity techniques are useful in advertising but
I they are not useful in product development which is my area.”
“Creativity trainers I know could use some creativity
“I wonder what creativity methods Einstein, Picasso and
Beethoven used? Who
taught them to be so creative?
No one? Hmm!
Would a creative thinking technique have made them even
Each of the 5 remaining responses can be summarized as
claiming that I am too prejudiced against creativity techniques to
objectively see their value; however, none of them provided
evidence of an effective method.
I guess I do have this prejudice, which is getting stronger
every time I visit an organization, attend a creative-thinking
session, or see results from surveys such as this.