Mastering Creative Thinking: Two Techniques to Make Creative Thinking Stick

Episode 026: What’s In a Name?
January 18, 2021
Episode 027: Creative Ways to Improve How People See You: Adding Prestige to Who You Are
January 25, 2021

Mastering Creative Thinking: Two Techniques to Make Creative Thinking Stick

Becoming even just a little bit more creative will enhance what you do every day – whether at work, at home, or just about anywhere. 

But how do you learn creativity? 

More importantly, how do you make it stick?

Specifically, there are five patterns of systematic inventive thinking (SIT) method that tend to explain the majority of innovations out there. Once you learn this, you’re able to replicate those patterns inherent in any product or service to generate your own creative ideas. 

The 5 Patterns of the SIT Method

  1. Subtraction – removal of a core element
  2. Task unification – making something about the element take on an additional job 
  3. Multiplication – creating a copy of a component
  4. Attribute dependency – creating a correlation between that and some other attribute 
  5. Division – you take something, cut it, and rearrange it

2 Techniques to Master Creative Thinking

  1. Pattern Spotting

Any time you notice something creative that catches your eye, try to spot which of the five SIT patterns might have been used or could be used to explain that innovation. 

  1. Mental Simulation

Mental simulation is the idea that before you’re taking any action, you’re simulating those actions in your mind first. All kinds of professions use this – chefs, lawyers, doctors, athletes, gymnasts, etc. When they practice what to do inside their heads, they’re more likely to do things with perfection. And you can do this with creativity as well. 

Example of Real-Life Application

For example, you’re standing at an airport, and then you spot a wall clock. Using the pattern Attribute Dependency, the face of the clock now changes depending on the number of people in the terminal or the functioning of the clock changes in response to the weather conditions outside. The creative act happens when you’re taking two things that generally don’t belong together, and now forcing them to have some creative value.

Practical Tips

  • Don’t try to learn the entire method all at once. 
  • Learn the core principles such as:
    • Closed world principle 
    • Function follows form
    • Principle of constraints
  • Pick one or two of the five techniques you like the most and master those first before you move on to the next one.
  • Find your tribe. Creative thinking is a team sport. You can just get so much more value by leveraging the brainpower of others and connecting with like-minded people. 

To hear more on how to master creative thinking, listen to the full podcast episode here: Episode 025: Mastering Creative Thinking: Two Techniques to Make Creative Thinking Stick.