Tip #659:  Generating Ideas with SCAMPER

On February 21, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #659:  Generating Ideas with SCAMPER

“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” Linus Pauling

Whenever there is a need to generate ideas, brainstorming inevitably comes to mind. But there is another method called SCAMPER that puts a spin on brainstorming. SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse.

You go down the list, using each of the words as a prompt for questions to brainstorm, when you want to come up with new ideas to develop or improve a product, process, service or even people.

As with any brainstorming session, some of the answers may not be possible or useful. However, SCAMPER provides a format that can generate more answers than … Read the rest

Tip #630: How Tradition and Familiarity Can Curb Learning

On July 18, 2016, Posted by , In brain research, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #630: How Tradition and Familiarity Can Curb Learning

“Even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder.”  Tierney Gearon

Andra May has identified ten cognitive biases. We have considered the first four biases: Confirmation, Anchoring, Curse of Knowledge and the Dunning-Kruger effect in previous Tips.

Now we’ll look at the next two cognitive biases and discuss how we can counter their effect through our training design and delivery. The titles and descriptions of the biases are Ms. May’s. The commentary continues to be mine.

  1.  Functional Fixedness: This bias limits a person to utilizing an object or idea in only the way it is traditionally used.

When we want participants to be creative, we often use a brainstorming activity. However, when they are brainstorming options to address … Read the rest

Tip #613:  Brainwriting

On March 21, 2016, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #613:  Brainwriting

“Brainwriting is brainstorming on steroids.”  Luciano Passuello

Brainstorming is not as effective as we thought. We discussed “question-storming” as a better alternative in Tip #610. In this Tip, we will come at brainstorming from a different perspective.

Extensive studies of brainstorming teams have found that participants who work in isolation consistently outperform participants who work in group. This is true in terms of both the quantity and the quality of the ideas generated.

There are three major reasons for this.

First, since all of the participants in a brainstorming group cannot talk at once, some ideas don’t get heard. This is called “production blocking.”

Second, some participants may hold back their most original ideas because they fear they may … Read the rest

Tip #610: Question-Storming

On February 29, 2016, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #610: Question-Storming

“One does not begin with answers. One begins by asking, ‘What are our questions?’ ” Peter Drucker

Brainstorming is a familiar and convenient problem-solving activity. We like it because each idea sparks another one and, since no idea is unacceptable, the more bizarre ideas can generate breakthrough solutions.

Brainstorming sessions challenge the participants to come up with creative ideas. However, there are two potential drawbacks to using brainstorming:

  1. It can generate a lot of pressure on the participants to produce ideas.
  1. If there is strong peer pressure, the participants can be influenced to  come up with obvious responses rather than free associate.

There is an alternative that satisfies the desire for collaborative thinking and problem solving without these negative consequences.… Read the rest

Tip #333: It Helps to Lighten Up: How Humor Can Enrich Any Learning Situation

On July 26, 2010, Posted by , In presentation, By ,,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #333: It Helps to Lighten Up: How Humor Can Enrich Any Learning Situation

“The human race has only one effective weapon and that is laughter. The moment it arises, all your irritations go away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.” Mark Twain

It might surprise you to learn that there is an actual Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. It certainly surprised me! According to their website, therapeutic humor is: “Any intervention that promotes health and wellness by stimulating a playful discovery, expression or appreciation of the absurdity or incongruity of life’s situations.”

I have found that humor is a vital training tool.

Humor can help individuals feel more comfortable participating in different learning activities. For example, when the assignment is to answer a questionnaire, I offer the participants a choice. They … Read the rest