Unstructured Creativity
29 Aug 11

Creativity is the generation of novel ideas. It is an essential part of systems planning, in generating options for enhanced systems.

There are several sites that list tools or techniques for generating options. Most of the sites refer to 'creativity' or to 'innovation'.

This page covers "unstructured" creativity. More systematic creativity techniques, such as morphological analysis, are covered on the
structured creativity page.

The first journal about creativity is the '
Journal of Creative Behavior', published from the Creative Education Foundation at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Unfortunately, there is no on-line access to this Journal.

One journal that is of value is '
Creativity and Innovation Management', initially edited by Tudor Rickards from Manchester University. This Journal is available on line, through certain libraries.

Web rings
One of the more useful portals is Charles Cave's Creativity HomePage. It points to many books and other resources related to creativity.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/~charles57/Creative/ but it has not been updated for a while.

A very useful site is the homepage of Michael Michalko, a world renowned author on the subject of creative thinking. The site is part marketing tool for his books (such as "Thinkertoys") and part creative thinking library. It contains links to a number of techniques (including - especially - Leonardo da Vinci's "Ideabox", which is similar to morphological analysis). It also links to many other sites concerned with creativity. [Alex Matthews, Apr 07]
http://creativethinking.net/ [29 Aug 11]

Design Creativity Exercises provides a list of references to sites concerning creativity within systems planning. The site is very detailed, with lists of over 700 sites to visit. It is easy to understand, with each site given a brief synopsis of what it is about. It is fast to open, and has a search engine to find specific information. [Unknown, 2 May 00; JEL, 12 Jan]

Tools and techniques
There is no doubt that one of the major forces behind modern creativity practice is Dr Edward de Bono. His concept of '
lateral thinking' and 'Six thinking hats' has become widely accepted. He has published over forty books in the area, even though many of them overlap in content. He is the inspiration of the de Bono Institute, which are groups of people dedicated to furthering creativity. Check out de Bono's 'official Web site' with several international mirrors (notice the extent of the Australian interest in his work). http://www.edwdebono.com/ Unfortunately, this site has become a marketing page, pushing material for sale.

One of the most useful sites about creativity is provided by Paul Plsek. He gives white papers about his theory of 'Directed Creativity', as well as worked examples of his model at work. Contains links or references to the main authorities. A key site if you want to study creativity. [Alison Guest, 21 Jun 01] http://www.directedcreativity.com/pages/core.html

TRIZ is a process for innovation developed in Russia in 1946 (so it is as old as brainstorming, just not as well advertised, it seems). It has its own journal and appears in the Creativity and Innovation Journal from time to time.
http://www.triz-journal.com/ The journal contains articles such Mann's (2001) linking Six Thinking Hats to TRIZ. http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/2001/03/b/ [Mark Naglost, 15 Oct 01].

Creativity Article Abstracts gives information on a range of different models concerning business cases. It is very thoroughly detailed. [Alison Gordon, Jun 00; JEL, 12 Jan]

The list of American Personal Power Learning Experiences provided by an anonymous member of the Appalachian State University contains a useful list of creative techniques, including Lotus Blossom and other 'oldies but goodies', and links to creativity sites. [EJL after Anna Lestuzzi, 21 May 02]

There is a 'selling' site that is also a minor Web ring (coming back to Cave's pages) at Creativity Unleashed.

The most well known group creativity technique is brainstorming, developed by Alex Osborn in the 30s and described in his 1954 book, 'Applied Imagination'. There are many descriptions of this technique, including www.brainstorming.co [Merv Beergah, Apr 07] , which also provides training in several other unstructured techniques, such as Random Word. He was also the founder of the Creative Problem Solving Institute, the publisher of the "Journal of Creative Behavior".

The brainstorming site from Infinite Innovations of the UK has a comprehensive description of creativity techniques. The site is commercial, supporting the sale of its products (useful appearing and inexpensive), but the techniques are useful. [Michael Sutcliffe, 28 Jun 01]

There is a brief overview of brainstorming, as part of a set of 'MindTools' (also linking back to Cave). [Duncan Anderson, 22 May 00]

The Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process Manual by Dennis Daupert gives a few creativity methods, including a form of morphological analysis and mind-mapping. [Lisa Hubbard, Apt 07] http://www.ideastream.com/create/IDEA-FINDING.html (note: Osborn, the developer of brainstorming, and Parnes were the successive heads of the Creative Education Foundation, and worked together to develop the first creativity course at the Buffalo State College/ State University of New York at Buffalo. This Manual follows their process.)

Dr Alan Black has a personal Web site with a newsletter containing his articles about creativity. The articles cover the approach to creativity more than detailed techniques. The suggestions are similar to the other authors in the field. Site strongly sells self. [Libby McAllister, 28 Jun 01]

Frank Baer is an independent consultant who has his own FRANK creativity process and uses creativity quotations as a basis for developing creativity. [Gus Heatley, 9 Jul 01]

A few articles pushing Creative Problem Solving (CPS) from Parnes-Osborn are produced by a professor with a small creativity company, apparently. Also compares CPS with TRIZ. [Alison Gordon, Jun 00]

The Creative Problem Solving course at Boise State University points to the usual creativity web rings, and a few others. It has a useful description of de Bono's Six Thinking Hats. [Mark Naglost, 15 Oct 01]