Why didn’t I Think of That?

I had the opportunity to read this short book and I can recommend it to anyone involved in work with ideas.

Creativity and innovation expert Roger Firestien, PhD, offers a powerful tool for achieving goals and visions in WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?: Better Ideas & Decision Making At Home And At Work (press release below).

“Creative Problem-Solving is one of the most powerful tools that we can use to create innovations, empowering ourselves to deal with change as it comes, but also to be constantly prepared for future change,” says Firestien.

WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?:

Better Ideas & Decision Making At Home And At Work

By Roger L. Firestien, PhD

BETTER IDEAS AND DECISION MAKINGS

Creative Problem Solving Facilitates Breakthrough Discoveries

In a world where change is a constant, people need imaginative thinking and a new perspective to problem solving.  Creativity and innovation expert Roger Firestien, PhD, offers a powerful tool for achieving goals and visions in WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?: Better Ideas & Decision Making At Home And At Work.

Told through the fictional story of a person working for a large corporation trying to break through the bounds of conformity that stifle innovation, the book teaches an idea generating technique, the Creative Problem-Solving (CPS) process, that has been used to invent new products, save millions of dollars, effect social change and even save lives.  It is capable of generating a hundred ideas in as little as 15 minutes, greatly increasing the odds of coming up with winning ideas.  A research study has found that groups of people trained in CPS are capable of creating twice as many ideas as untrained groups.

The Creative Problem-Solving process is a simple, repeatable technique that has been used to solve seemingly intractable problems.  It employs both divergent and convergent thinking to generate potential ideas and select the best ones.

Changes are brought about by innovators – people who have the skills to envision the future not just in an abstract, daydreaming way, but who have the interest, the capability, and commitment to achieve that vision.  Innovation is a skill one can build, says Firestien.  To get new ideas, it is important to stretch beyond the obvious ways for solving a problem.  The more ways of accomplishing a goal, the greater the chances of success.

The book distills the creativity process into 10 rules:

1.             Capture ideas whenever and wherever they come 

2.             Model openness and acceptance of ideas

3.             Redefine the problem 

4.             Go outside the problem area

5.             Develop creativity habits

6.             Separate imaginative thinking from judgmental thinking  

7.             Evaluate ideas by considering the Pluses or strengths of the idea first, then list the Potentials in the idea, then list the Concerns (PPC) 

8.             When working to solve a problem, set a quota of at least 40 ideas 

9.             Creativity, like any skill, requires practice

10.          Look at problems as opportunities 

“Creative Problem-Solving is one of the most powerful tools that we can use to create innovations, empowering ourselves to deal with change as it comes, but also to be constantly prepared for future change,” says Firestien.

CPS-trained groups participate more, criticize ideas less, and generate more ideas than groups not trained in CPS.  When business experts evaluated the ideas for quality, they found that the trained groups outperformed their counterparts by a margin of more than two to one.  Finally, as a bonus, members of the trained groups indicated they enjoyed solving the problem as a group more than the untrained groups.

The book provides real-life examples of how people and companies have applied the principles explored in the book to their professional and personal lives.  Firestien relates how General Motors applied Creative Problem-Solving in one of its plants where machines that were used to stamp out parts were breaking down at a rate that was costing the company $50,000 a week.

After convening a CPS session with a cross section of plant employees, a breakthrough idea from the session revealed that lubricating the machines with a soap and oil solution, costing about $1.50, would keep them in operation.  A $50,000 problem had been solved with a $1.50 solution.

Although CPS is not designed as a counseling method, one of Firestien’s students, a social worker, facilitated a suicidal 18 year-old through several phases of the Creative Problem- Solving process.  By using the brainstorming technique and the PPC approach, this young man found he had too many interesting things to do and so much to live for that it wasn’t worthwhile to end his life.

The tools and techniques in WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? will help business leaders, team members, students and anyone who aspires to succeed to imagine ideas that can better themselves and the world.

About the Author

Roger L. Firestien, PhD has trained more people to lead the creative process than anyone else in the world. He is Senior Faculty and Associate Professor at the Center for Applied Imagination at SUNY Buffalo State.  As president of Innovation Resources, Inc., he consults, creates training programs, runs Breakthrough Labs, and has created a series of courses for Open Sesame.  He is author of several popular books including Create In A Flash:  A Leader’s Recipe For Breakthrough Innovation.

For more information, please visit www.RogerFirestien.com.

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