By providing training materials and exercises, this site is designed to help users build their abilities to think more creatively. Techniques included here are Random Word, Random Picture, False Rules, Random Website, SCAMPER, Search and Reapply, Role Play, Challenge Facts, Escape, Analogies, and Wishful Thinking. Explanations are provided for using each technique, along with examples for using each technique and areas to be careful of in applying each technique. There is also a link to a random word generator, a random picture generator, a ?false rules? generator, and a random website generator.
Type of Material:
This material has a broad application. It could be used as a tool in an individual or group homework assignment, as part of a lecture, as an in-class exercise or as a personal development project. Could be assigned as an example of lateral thinking techniques in a class on creativity, or a module on creative thinking
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
This site provides a number of creative thinking techniques for the learner, based on the notion of lateral thinking. Edward de Bono was the pioneer of this method, although the site does not really attribute any reference to his work.
The major learning goal of this module is to teach users techniques to utilize to help to stimulate creative thinking.
Target Student Population:
The target population for this module is very broad. It would make an interesting addition to any number of management classes (both graduate and undergraduate), but it could be equally useful in management development seminars.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
None noted; basic college level.
This is an interesting site. We discuss the importance of creative solutions to management issues but rarely do we provide practical information to help an organization build a creative workforce. This material introduces several techniques that corporations, teams, and individuals can apply to stimulate creative thinking and decision making. Overall, the content is generally good in terms of providing a range of techniques and interactive exercises that demonstrate lateral thinking. The exercises have examples that are easy to understand. It has a training and tutorial area, then a "try this tool" area. By providing background materials, examples, some simulations, and even warnings of potential pitfalls, this site gives a thorough demonstration of a wide variety of different techniques.
As mentioned earlier, this site is based on many of the methods developed by Ed de Bono, but does not bother to mention or review his work. This is to be expected, as it not an academic but a commercial website, designed to sell their online products. Ultimately the site is designed to sell its ?Brainstorming Toolbox? software at a cost of $36. However, there is enough information provided free of charge (as well as an opportunity to try the software for 30 days for free) to still make this a worthwhile site.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Creativity is a difficult subject to teach. However, because this site provides not only background information and examples, but in several cases opportunities to actually try these techniques, it provides a meaningful approach to introduce users to methodologies they can apply to stimulate their own creative processes. There are an ample amount of "free access" materials,
that this site could be integrated into a course module on creative thinking. The instructor could have students try several of methods, and write a paper describing their results.
Because this is not an academic site, an instructor would need to put this material into context - e.g. ? the role of creativity in building a successful organization. TAnother concern is that this site seems to convey the idea that creativity requires brainstorming tools, namely their commercial product. This is not necessarily a good way to teach what creativity.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The module is easy to use and provides examples and interactive exercises that make it informative, interesting and engaging.
The main design flaw is that, being a commercial site, there is a frame of distracting advertisements surrounding the material. However, if one looks carefully, there is a link where these can be removed from the frame.
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