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Canary Nigeria

Managing Creative Thinking Skills



Blocks and Blockbusters to Creativity

1.)    Making assumptions >>> Checking assumptions

2.)    Following the rules >>> Breaking the rules

3.)    Over-reliance on logic >>> Use imagination and intuition

4.)    Fear of failure >>> Risk-taking culture


They are mental obstacles that constrain the way the problem is defined and limit the number of alternative solutions thought to be relevant.


The more formal education an individual and the more experience they have on a job, the less able they are to solve problems in a creative way.

Formal education often produces the “right answers”, analytical rules or thinking boundaries.

Experience on the job teaches proper ways of doing things, specialized knowledge and rigid expectation of appropriate actions.

All this put together makes the individuals lose the ability to experiment, improvise and take mental detours.


1.)    Constancy

  • Vertical Thinking
  • One Thinking Language

2.)    Compression

  • Distinguishing figure from ground
  • Artificial Constraint

3.)    Complacency

  • Non-inquisitiveness
  • Non-thinking


  • Vertical Thinking
  • The defining problem in only one way without considering alternative views.
  • Lateral thinkers, on the other hand, generate alternative ways of viewing a problem and produce multiple definitions.
  • One Thinking Language
  • Using only one language (e.g. words) to define and assess the problem.
  • Disregarding another language such as nonverbal or symbolic languages (e.g. mathematics), sensory imagery (smelling), feelings and emotions (fear, happiness) and visual imagery (mental pictures).


  • Distinguishing Figure From Ground
  • Not filtering out irrelevant information or finding needed information.
  • The inability to separate the important from the unimportant, and to appropriately compress problems.
  • Artificial Constraints
  • Defining the boundaries of a problem too narrowly.
  • People assume that some problem definitions or alternative solutions are off-limits, so they ignore them.


  • Non-inquisitiveness
  • Not asking questions.
  • Sometimes the inability to solve problems results from a reticence to ask questions, to obtain information, or to search for data.
  • Non-thinking
  • An inclination to avoid doing mental work.


EXPERTISE: Expertise is in a word knowledge, technical, procedural and intellectual.

MOTIVATION: Not all motivation is created equal. An inner passion for solving the problem at hand leads to solutions far more creative than do external rewards such as money.

CREATIVE THINKING SKILLS: Creative thinking skills determine how flexible and imaginatively people approach problems.


1.)    The smarter you are, the more creative you are.

2.)    The young are more creative than the old.

3.)    Creativity is reserved for the few – the flamboyant risk takers.

4.)    Creativity is a solitary act.

5.)    You can’t manage creativity.


  • Kipling Method
  • Problem Statement
  • Challenge Method

Kipling Method

  • Rudyard Kipling used a set of questions (5W + 1H) to help trigger ideas and solve problems
  • One approach with this is to use the questions in a particular order to help guide you through a sequence of thought towards a complete answer, such as: What is happening? Where is it happening? When is it happening? Why is it happening? How can you overcome this problem? Who do you need to get involved? When will you know you have solved the problem?
  • The Kipling questions work because they are short and direct. They are also largely general, and what can be applied to many different situations, making them a flexible resource.

Problem Statement

  • When starting to solve a creative problem it is a good idea to define the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Start by discussing the overall context and situation in which the creative activity is aimed.
  • Write down more than one draft of the problem statement. Remember that defining the problem is almost a complete project in itself and you may benefit from going through iterative stages of convergence and divergence.
  • Listen and write down everybody’s opinion of what the problem really is. Find the points of agreement and then discuss the differences.

Challenge Method

  • Use it to force yourself or other people out of a thinking rut.
  • Use it to test out ideas for validity.
  • Use it to challenge the problem or situation you are considering when initially defining the problem.
  • Find something to challenge and question it deeply. You can challenge many things.


Concepts – and broad ideas

Assumptions – and beliefs that are not questioned

Boundaries – across which you do not yet cross

‘Impossible’ – things that are assumed cannot happen

‘Can’t be done’ – things that are assumed cannot be done

‘Essentials’ – things that you assume cannot be disposed of

Sacred cows – that cannot be challenged


1.)    Attribute Listing

2.)    Brainstorming

3.)    Visioning


Motivation – Challenge, Fun

Empowerment – Freedom, Time, Support

Dynamism – Energy, Debate, and Dialog

Openness – Experimentation, Trust, Risk


Compiled By- Olisaemeka Anene

Photo credit- Google images

culled from BEDOUIN