The one-sentence summary

You can be more creative if you train yourself to think differently.


  • Everyone can be creative, regardless of whether they think they are
  • Creativity is variously described as “the spark that ignites new ideas”, “the infinite capacity that resides within you”, and “shaping the game you play, not playing the game you find”
  • Good ideas arise when we take something we already know (light bulb no.1) and consider it in relation to another thing we already know but which is unrelated (no.2). Merging them creates light bulb number 3 – the new idea


  • It explains the origin of the phrase “thinking outside the box”. The Gottschaldt figurine, or nine-dot game, requires you to join all the dots without taking your pen off the paper. You can’t solve it if you view it as a box
  • ROI is used to stand for relevance, originality and impact. Your ideas won’t work if they do not have all three
  • Barriers to creativity have been placed in our way since childhood: don’t be foolish, grow up, work before play, do as you’re told, don’t ask questions, obey the rules, be practical, and so on
  • There are six techniques which you can use in any awayday to generate ideas:
  • Random Word: take a noun randomly from somewhere and apply it to the subject. You can also use pictures
  • Eyes of Experts: choose three respected experts from other fields and consider how they would deal with your issue. There is a variation called Industrial Roundabout where you view it through a different category
  • What’s Hot?: use popular current things to appeal to your audience
  • Curly Questions: use analogies, speculation, role reversal and imagination to re-phrase the issue at hand so that more original answers emerge
  • Exaggeration and Depravation: over-exaggerate the benefits of a product, or push to ludicrous extremes what happens if it isn’t present
  • Exquisite Corpse: based on surrealist thinking, different people randomly select five words to create a sentence in the pattern adjective/noun/verb/adjective/noun. Eg. The peculiar bicycle swims a brilliant banana. Each word is then scrutinised to review the problem


  • You need to control the exercises so they don’t seem trivial
  • You need to be open-minded