19 September 2006

Accelerated Thinking Skills

For the past two days I have attended the "Accelerated Thinking Skills" which was conducted by Dr Micheal S J Butterworth. I have previously attended a course which was also facilitated by him on "Creative Thinking". I remembered him because of his unique name "Butterworth" where his great grandfather was the first Straits Commissioner where the current Butterworth was named after his great grandfather. He was a linguist and can speak Arabic, Italian, Cantonese, Hokien and Teochew. However I did not know that the course that I am attending would be also facilitated by him.

The last time I attended his course, he was engaged with a company. He has since ventured out on his own and operate under a company called "Out Of the Box1 Pte Ltd". The course was designed to enable Managers to come out with creative and innovative ideas for which are "Areas of Concern" or "Areas of Interest". It uses a tool called "KnowBrainer" to enable us to use both our right and left brain to go about thinking creativity.

What I like about this course is on the subject on how to conduct a brainstorming session. Usually (and currently) when we are engaged in a brainstorming session, it's really a "STORM" where ideas really poured out from everyone and in the end there was no concrete or acceptable ideas being generated. Dr. Butterworth managed to teach us the following methodology to have an effective braining storming session:

Step 1 - Thinking in the Box
All participants are required to write down in a piece of paper all their ideas. They are not allow to divulge to any participants of what they have written.
Step 2 - Thinking outside the Box
Once all the participants have completed writing their ideas, all ideas are compared to an appointed person. The ideas are recorded and similar ideas that have been thought of by other participants are counted. This step will enable the listing of all the ideas of participants and at the same time list out which are the common ideas and which are the original ideas.
Step 3 - Thinking in and out of the Box (provoked thinking)
Using the SCAMPER method(which stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt from other Industry, Magnify or minify for a better idea, Put to other use to come out with a better idea and Rearrange or reverse the use for a better idea) the ideas are analyzed for improvement.
Step 4 - Thinking out of the Box (wild ideas)
Think about some crazy or weird ideas. These ideas may be laughed at but the participant may have a reason for providing such ideas.

In the end, the best ideas are selected where the brainstorming session would prove to be very effective.

Every one enjoyed the course and the feedback obtained indicated that all of us really appreciate the above new way to conduct a brainstorming session.

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