Creative Thinking

Introduction

Entrepreneurs need to think creatively. Creativity is all about coming up with ideas that offer a competitive advantage. A competitive advantage should be unique and not easy to copy. It could be a unique word, a unique design or something as common as customer service but unique because of the manner in which it is delivered.



Tangible and Intangible Competitive Advantage

A competitive advantage can be tangible or non tangible. A tangible competitive advantage is something physical which you can touch, hold or posses such as a piece of machinery or premises. Whilst intangible competitive advantages can not be held, they are not physical items. Examples of an intangible competitive advantage include corporate strategy, management expertise or ability to innovate. Some commentators assert that an intangible competitive advantage is more valuable than a tangible competitive advantage because it is harder to copy (than a tangible advantage) and if managed well will appreciate over time

Deliberate Creativity

When a business uses techniques to generate creativity it is called deliberate creativity. We discuss different types of deliberate creativity below.

Lateral Thinking Or "Thinking Out of The Box"

Lateral thinking is about rejecting conventional ways to do something and using your creative "juices" to solve a problem or improve a situation. Children often use lateral thinking as they are often unaware of "conventional wisdom". Lateral thinking involves throwing away assumptions but it doesn't mean that you have to come up with complicated solutions. In fact when an effective solution has been found it usually seems like the simplest and most obvious solution.

Blue Skies Thinking

Blue skies thinking is about coming up with ideas that are based on a question, object or ideas. One way of using an object is to place the object on the table and listing words associated with the object. Each of the words in the list will be analysed to solve the problem. Under blue skies thinking every idea (no matter how silly or wacky) is worthy of consideration as sometimes the relevance of something isn't always obvious. You can't always tell what an idea or comment will lead to.

Six Thinking Hats

The diagram below summarises the purpose of each hat in De Bono's Six Thinking Hats creativity strategy.

Edward De Bono Six Thinking Hats Diagram



Six Thinking Hats is a strategy devised by Edward De Bono for creativity in a group session. As the name suggests the group will imagine that they are putting on six hats in order to come up with different ideas. Each hat is a different colour and has a specific function.

White Hat Thinking looks at the facts of the issue. It examines all of the information that the group have or need.

Red Hat Thinking is about how the group feels about the product, situation or project; their gut feeling. Its about things they love/hate, gut reactions, and hunches so red hat statements do not need to be justified.

Black Hat Thinking with black hat thinking you have to play devils advocate. What could go wrong with the idea? and how would you solve the issue? The black hat brings a realistic dimension to the discussion but don't prioritise or over use the black hat as it could limit creativity.

Yellow Hat Thinking is the opposite to black hat thinking which can focus on negative issues, yellow hat thinking is about being positive, what will be the results if it goes well? What value does the solution have? Under yellow hat thinking the group will focus on the benefits and positive aspects of each proposal.

Green Hat Thinking Green is the creative hat. It will be used to think about how to solve the problem they are discussing or to invent the firm's next concept. The green hat is the idea's hat.

Blue Hat Thinking

Blue hat thinking is about managing the thinking process so that everybody is following the guidelines associated with each of the six hats. Six hat thinking sessions often start and end with the blue hat; at the start the blue hat can be used to agree the session's format and at the end it can be used to summarise the marketing creativity session and the actions agreed.

Summary

As we have read there are a number of different ways to be creative. All of them aim to dismiss the way things are currently done and open the mind to ideas that seem unorthodox, eccentric, and even avant-garde.

 

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