A Framework for Creative Thinking
Christensen, Dallon, Strategic Finance
Financial professionals are often considered the guardians of traditional practices and methods. But many of us are now called on to drive breakthrough ideas and results for our companies or clients. How can we break free of our traditional thought patterns and consider new ideas and patterns? In his book, Think Better,Tim Hurson encourages us to do just that by following his Creative Problem Solving (CPS) thinking model, a consistent, repeatable process that spurs creative ideas.
CPS encourages its users to separate thinking about a particular problem into two distinct sections: divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking requires the user to think of many different and creative ideas about the problem. Convergent thinking then forces the user to determine the few key ideas or connections between ideas that solve the problem best. While this idea seems simple in theory, Hurson provides several enlightening stories to illustrate his point, demonstrating why a framework for thinking is crucial. One example is the story called "Elephant Tether," which shows how NASA engineers were tethered by their own models for technological superiority when working to design a pen that could write properly in zero gravity. Russian space engineers solved the same problem without a tether by giving their cosmonauts pencils.
The CPS model can lead to breakthrough ideas through creative thought. Hurson skillfully outlines how today's focus on incremental improvement, or "kaizen," can create strong patterns that prohibit creative thought. Many finance professionals will undoubtedly see their own organizations reflected in Hurson's kaizen discussion and identify with the extra focus on kaizen instead of breakthrough ideas. Hurson then introduces the concept of "tenkaizen," or reproductive revolution, to drive the concept of breakthrough thought home to the reader. …