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Monday, April 15, 2013

Break Out of Your Rut!: Creative Thinking in TQM

Abstract: Although some experts say that creativity can't be taught, creative thinking techniques can help groups apply new ideas to solve common problems. Two easy-to-follow techniques for interactive individual and small group activities offer practical, innovative ways to apply creative thinking and new ideas. Developing a reversal statement for a problem provides a new perspective and changes the way individuals and groups look at a situation, and the characteristic changing technique identifies parts of a problem and then divides each part into characteristics that describe it.
There are four steps to the reversal technique: (1) Clarify the problem; (2) write a reversal statement by substituting a word with its opposite meaning or by changing the direction of actions; and (3) Identify causes and solutions to the problems presented in the reversal statement; and (4) Analyze the causes and identify solutions for the reversal statement.
The key to the characteristic changing technique is to challenge current thinking and find ways to change each identified characteristic. Through these creative thinking techniques, participants learn to escape from old thought patterns, restructure their thinking about problems and situations, challenge assumptions, and generate new alternatives.

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