Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Sue Sampanthar of MetaMemes was kind enough to send me a ThinkCube to play with.
The ThinkCube is kit of cards that help to stimulate thoughts about how one might attack a current problem. Essentially the ThinkCube is a systematic way to think through solutions to current problems. Like any good process it is rooted in simplicity with the different steps being Define, Stimulate, Think, Evaluate, Incubate, and Elaborate. The objective is for the individual, or team, to use the cards to stimulate lateral thinking to develop novel solutions. The cards themselves are patterned such that they force thinking into unintended directions.
There's a lot to be said for a structured idea development process. In fact much of the gains attributed to Lean Manufacturing come from the Kaizen which is nothing more than a structured problem solving approach.
The neat thing about the ThinkCube is that it offers the structure required to produce an output, versus wandering in the weeds all day, but it also allows the flexibility required for the truly great ideas to peculate to the top. It is defintely a tool that works.
A word of caution though, if you are planning on using this at work you might want to consider the organizational context. Tools like the ThinkCube are on the leading edge of organizational processes that help drive creative thinking into the organization so it might not be fully appreciated by everyone. If that's the case just use the system by yourself and show them the results.
Image via MetaMemes