Thinking outside the box – and this universe

August 26, 2009

BethAfter many attempts to get the HMA team together for a length of time long enough for me to present my book report, we finally succeeded!

This month’s selection was the second edition of Thinkertoys, by Michael Michalko.  I came across a recommendation for the book via someone’s review on Twitter, so I was intrigued to get into the meat of the book – a 380-page handbook chock full of creative thinking techniques that can easily be applied to the PR profession.Thinkertoys

The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Linear Thinkertoys, which structure existing information;
  2. Intuitive Thinkertoys, which generate new information using insight, imagination and intuition; and
  3. Group brainstorming activities.

We started out with a creative warm-up activity called “Space Creature,” in which I asked each member of our team to imagine a creature living on another planet with a different atmosphere in a distant solar system.  True to my artsy craftsy self, I provided crayons, markers, colored pencils and – yes – glitter pens so everyone could get as creative as they wanted.  The ideas we came up with were as diverse as our personalities: Scott’s creature we described as a ghost mixed with Cousin Itt; Abbie’s triangle head man; Alison’s Planet Orange-dwelling Suns-loving creature; and my amoeba-like blob.DSC07974

Next, we moved on to a linear Thinkertoy called “Slice and Dice.”  The activity calls for a person or group to state a challenge; analyze the challenge and list as many attributes as possible; and take each attribute one at a time and think of ways to change or improve it.  We brainstormed about reaching out to a certain target audience and came up five new ideas – not bad for our first time!

Overall, I thought the book was a great read, with useful techniques that can be applied to one’s personal and professional life.  Besides, I’ll look for any reason to use a glitter pen!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s