Creativity techniques

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Creativity techniques are methods for promoting creativity and the targeted generation of new ideas in order to develop visions or to solve problems . For this purpose, innovation workshops and innovation projects are carried out in business, politics, education, etc. When applying creativity techniques, one should not forget that creativity takes place in a complex interaction of talent, knowledge, ability, motivation, personality traits and environmental conditions.

According to a meta-analysis, creativity techniques that emphasize the technique of building analogies and those that practice identifying the limitations of the situation or environment work best . In contrast, techniques that are based on expressive activities (e.g. painting emotions, dancing according to moods) have strongly negative effects on creative performance.


The methods described in the following are suitable for specifying problems, accelerating the generation of ideas and the flow of ideas for individuals or groups, expanding the search direction and dissolving mental blocks. In the case of poorly structured, open problems, the number and type of possible solutions are not specified; every result of the solution process is only a relatively optimal solution at a given point in time. The application of creativity techniques stimulates the creativity of those involved in order to find completely new, not yet realized solutions.

Generate ideas

“Idea generation” is understood as the controlled generation of new concepts at a defined point in time. Numerous methods have been developed to generate ideas. These methods are not algorithms that, when applied correctly, are guaranteed to lead to a “correct” result, such as written addition. Rather, they are heuristics ; H. Processes that have proven to be effective in practice, but deliver different results of different quality for each application. The best-known method is brainstorming , which was developed by Alex Osborn in the USA in the 1950s and has since been understood as the epitome of brainstorming.

Idea generation methods are primarily suitable for problems for which the solution is still unknown (so-called "poorly structured" problems), less for problems for which there is a known solution (so-called "well-structured" problems). In some cases, however, brainstorming is used to question existing solutions, because changed circumstances or requirements can make new solutions desirable or necessary, regardless of an already existing, accepted solution.

The quality and quantity of ideas depend on the task, the method used, the participants and, in particular, their inner attitude. The results are not known beforehand. The quality is increased when the participants use creative thinking strategies .

Advantage of the group

Most of the methods are known as group methods , but can usually also be used by individuals . In order to generate ideas in this sense, groups of 7-14 participants are usually formed who use such a method. Depending on the method, such an idea generation session lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. The group has the advantage that not only a large number but also a greater diversity of solution ideas can be achieved. The group composition should therefore be as heterogeneous as possible. So that the group can work effectively, a moderator is usually required to generate ideas , who knows the method and guides the participants accordingly.

general structure

As a rule, the methods provide initial basic ideas, which then have to be further developed and concretized into idea concepts and then selected for implementation ( evaluation procedures and selection strategies ).

The creativity methods can be divided into intuitive and discursive methods.

Intuitive methods

Intuitive methods deliver a large number of ideas in a short time (100–400 individual ideas in 30 minutes). They encourage thought associations in the search for new ideas. They are designed to activate the unconscious: knowledge that you would otherwise not think of. These techniques and work formats are intended to help break the beaten track. They activate the potential of entire groups and lay a broad basis of ideas before continuing to work with discursive methods.

The best known is probably the brainstorming carried out out loud in the group , which is practiced in a large number of variants. The rather calm, written form of brainwriting has in turn followed many offshoots. Other well-known formats are the analogy and alienation methods, in which solutions in one area should provide corresponding ideas for another area, such as bionics . A third strand of the intuitive formats works with moving style elements, such as B. the gallery method .

calm techniques loud techniques moving techniques

Discursive methods

Discursive methods deliver 10–50 ideas in 30 minutes. You carry out the process of finding a solution systematically and consciously in individual, logical steps (discursive = logically progressing from concept to concept). Such methods describe a problem completely by analytically breaking it down into the smallest units, as in the case of the morphological box , whose criteria and characteristics are intended to describe a problem clearly, completely and without overlapping ( MECE : mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive ). Likewise the relevance tree analysis, which becomes more precise from branch to branch.

Combination methods

In addition, creativity approaches have developed which combine intuitive and discursive elements:

Important people and organizations

See also


  • Ari Bosse: The collective genius. The innovation performance of role-based groups. Tectum-Verlag, Marburg 2007, ISBN 3-8288-9332-5 .
  • Rainer M. Holm-Hadulla : Creativity. Concept and lifestyle. 3. Edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010, ISBN 3-525-49073-9 .
  • Michael Luther, Jutta Gründonner: The royal road to creativity. Power training for creative thinking. Junfermann, Paderborn 2000, ISBN 3-87387-379-6 .
  • Michael Luther: The great handbook of creativity methods. ManagerSeminare, Bonn 2013, ISBN 3-941965-47-6 .
  • Alex F. Osborn : Applied Imagination. Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving. Scribner, New York 1953; ibid. 1979, ISBN 0-02-389520-9 .
  • Paul B. Paulus, Bernard A. Nijstad (Eds.): Group Creativity: Innovation Through Collaboration. Oxford University Press, London 2003, ISBN 0-19-514730-8 .
  • Helmut Schlicksupp: Innovation, creativity & brainstorming. Vogel, Würzburg 1981, ISBN 3-8023-0650-3 ; 5th revised and expanded edition ibid. 1999, ISBN 3-8023-1786-6 .
  • Nadja Schnetzler: The Idea Machine: Method instead of a flash of inspiration - How ideas are industrially produced. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 978-3-527-50269-1 .
  • Peter Thiesen: Creative play with children, adolescents and adults. BildungsverlagEins, Troisdorf 1995, ISBN 3-8237-8112-X .
  • Arthur B. VanGundy: 108 Ways to Get a Bright Idea and Increase Your Creative Potential. Prentice Hall, 1983, ISBN 0-13-634824-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mihály Csíkszentmihályi : Creativity. Harper Collins, New York (NY) 1996.
  2. ^ Mark Runco: Creativity. Theories and Themes: Research, Development and Practice. Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington 2007.
  3. ^ Rainer M. Holm-Hadulla: The dialectic of creativity: A synthesis of neurobiological, psychological, cultural and practical aspects of the creative process. In: Creativity Research Journal. 25, No. 3, 2013, pp. 293-299.
  4. Gina Marie Scott, Lyle E. Leritz, Michael D. Mumford: The effectiveness of creativity workout: A quantitative review . In: Creativity Research Journal . tape 16 , no. 4 , December 1, 2004, ISSN  1040-0419 , p. 361-388 , doi : 10.1080 / 10400410409534549 .
  5. ^ WC Miller: The Creative Edge: Fostering Innovation Where You Work. Addison-Wesley, Reading (MA.) 1987, p. 73.