| Home page |
Training section | Tool
Sometimes the first innovative
solution that comes to mind is not the best way to go. Sometimes a
quick-fix or snappy answer won't work because breakthroughs often
reveal themselves in progressive sequences.
- This thinking technique was
developed by William Gordon of the Arthur D. Little consulting
company who calls it « Progressive Revelation ».
- A group brainstorming
technique, it involves seeing problems or challenges from their
larger macro levels, and then working down through a series of
planned progressions to their micro levels. Then apply what you
learned to provoke breakthroughs in your thinking.
The situation is initially
presented to a creative feed-back team in a very theoretical,
non-specific form - and then more factual details are progressively
made known, in a step-by-step way. The graduated approach avoids
premature closure - even if the problem is deemed "easy to solve" -
and it helps maintain the excitement and novelty of the group so they
don't fall prey to quick-fixes.
The technique assumes that the
participants do not already know what the problem is:
- Explain what is going to happen
&endash; i.e. that you are going to present a problem in a very
abstract and theoretical way, because that often makes it easier
to think openly about it.
- The scope of the problem is
presented in a very large, generalised form and then downsized to
an actual fit of the real issues.
- To generate ideas, participants
may use an idea generation tool from our Tool
- Repeat steps 2-3 when the idea
flow slows down, you can go back to step 2 to provide additional
information, repeating this cycle and providing increasingly more
information-facts every time, until you have finally presented the
- Finally once the full scope of
the problem is been revealed, the group uses the previously
generated ideas as triggers to jump-start finding actual solutions
to the original problem.
Example - A problem about the
need for more parking spaces might be presented as
- Extremely abstract and
generalised: 'Brainstorm ways to allow larger numbers to transport
themselves to a location.
- Slightly less generalised:
"'Brainstorm ways of maximizing space to permit frequent and easy
access and egress to that location.
- Approaching the real problem:
'What if the location has insufficient space to park many
- The actual problem: 'The
problem is how to improve the vehicle parking potential of
MegaMart Inc. by XX amount of spaces'.
The procedure needs to be explained
clearly to the participants as they could feel like their ideas are
being manipulated. They should know that the creative process
requires a wholistic effort. The idea is to bring ideas from outside
of the problem into it.
Try to avoid biasing idea
generation and select the most appropriate points at which to reveal
more factual information. In the example above once the car-parking
problem had been introduced as a storage problem, it is less likely
to be seen as a travel problem, as a way of displaying personal
wealth or as a security problem, etc. - The exercise focuses on
the lack of space.
| Home page |
Training section | Tool Box |