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There has been much empirical study in psychology and cognitive science of the processes through which creativity occurs. Interpretation of the results of these studies has led to several possible explanations of the sources and methods of creativity.
This creative thinking process can be accidental or deliberate .
Without using special techniques creative thinking does still occur, but usually in the accidental way; like a chance happening making you think about something in a different way and you then discovering a beneficial change. Other changes happen slowly through pure use of intelligence and logical progression. Using this accidental or logical progression process, it often takes a long time for products to develop and improve. In an accelerating and competitive world this is obviously disadvantageous.
Using special techniques, deliberate creative thinking can be used to develop new ideas. These techniques force the mergance of a wide range of ideas to spark off new thoughts and processes. Brainstorming is one of these special techniques, but traditionally it starts with unoriginal ideas.
Developments of products occur much more rapidly using these deliberate techniques than by accident. Many people known for being creative use these techniques, but are not aware they are doing so because they have not been formally trained in them. If you use these deliberate techniques during advanced brainstorming sessions then you too will be more creative.
With practice, ongoing creative thinking (the continuous investigation, questioning and analysis that develops through education, training and self-awareness) occurs all the time. Ongoing creativity maximizes both accidental and deliberate creative thinking. Ongoing creativity takes time and deliberate practice to become skillful at, but it's surprising how quickly it becomes an attitude, not a technique.
The first step to take is to learn the creative thinking techniques so that you can deliberately use them to come up with new ideas. You will then be at an immediate advantage over those who don't know how to use them. You should then practise the techniques to increase your skill at ongoing creative thinking. (After a while you may even find it unnecessary to use specific techniques because you may be having too many ideas anyway.)
Now let's find out how creative thinking techniques work ... (or just download our specialist software Brainstorming Toolbox to make these techniques instant and interactive (free 30 day trial))
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Value Analysis techniques are used to collect business, product, and process data on productivity, quality, and costs. Workshop participants include marketing, design, operations, quality, purchasing, service personnel as well as suppliers, workers, and customers as appropriate. Customer requirements are determined and quantified using QFD techniques. Process mapping (from TQM) is used to develop an understanding of the product / service and the processes used to produce and deliver it. Quality issues are raised and root causes are sought. VA brainstorming is used to identify potential improvements. Ideas are refined and the benefits of the most promising improvements are quantified. Specific product and process re-design projects are selected for Six Sigma Leaders and / or teams to undertake in Phase 3.