Canadian creativity theorist Tim Hurson developed the Productive Thinking Model (“ThinkX”), a structured approach to solving problems or generating creative ideas, outlined in Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide to Productive Thinking.
- “What’s Going On?” defines the problem’s context and potential solution structure
- “What’s the Itch?” generates an extensive list of perceived problems or opportunities, then distills these into problem clusters, which reveal highest priority issues
- “What’s the Impact?” analyzes the issue and its implications
- “What’s the Information?” provides problem details
- “Who’s Involved?” identifies involved stakeholders
- “What’s the Vision?” and “What’s Success?” specify desired changes in the future state using the mnemonic “DRIVE“:
- Do – What must the solution do?
- Restrictions – What must the solution not do?
- Investment – What resources can be invested?
- Values – What values must the solution fulfill?
- Essential outcomes – What are other elements specify the required future state?
- “What’s the Question?” defines the problem as a question through brainstorming, clustering and prioritizing
- “What are Answers?” generates possible solutions through the same approach of brainstorming, clustering, and prioritizing
- “What’s the Solution?” develops the suggested solution into a more robust approach using the mnemonic POWER:
- Positives – What’s good about the idea?
- Objections – What’s sub-optimal about the recommendation?
- What else? – What else does the solution suggest?
- Enhancements – How can the solution’s benefits be improved?
- Remedies – How can the idea’s drawbacks be corrected?
- “How are Resources Aligned?” specified tasks, timelines, milestones, deliverables, issues, mitigations, stakeholders, and project team members who execute plan.
Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future outlines required innovation thinking skills to solve problems using approaches like Hurson’s Productive Thinking.
He argues that contemporary world economic conditions require six conceptual, subjective, holistic “senses” to transform abundant information into meaningful and actionable implications:
- Design is more important than function
- Story eclipses argument
- “Symphony” (collaborative integration) surpasses focus
- Empathy is more relevant than logic
- Play trumps seriousness
- Meaning is valued above accumulation.
Seymour Epstein of University of Massachusetts supports Pink’s argument by positing two thinking styles in Constructive Thinking: The Key to Emotional Intelligence:
- Rational-analytical mind, measured by intelligence tests
- Intuitive-experiential mind, associated with emotions and more intuitive ways of knowing, and measured by Epstein’s Constructive Thinking Inventory (CTI)
This “bicameral mind” model is similar to earlier notions of “Left-brain, Right-
brain”, and Dweck’s Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset
Like Howard Gardner of Harvard’s theory of multiple intelligences in Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Epstein suggests that both “minds” demonstrate unique types of intelligent knowing, and the Intuitive-experiential mind can be developed to support Emotional Intelligence competences of self-awareness and self-regulation.
These authors and their findings suggest the value of cultivating less analytic and conscious modes of knowing to enhance:
- Creative problem solving
- Emotional Intelligence skills: Self-awareness, social insight, self-regulation, managing conflict, collaboration, influence in interpersonal relationships.
-*What skills and techniques help you innovate problem solutions?
- “Productive Pause”, Intuition for Better Decisions
- Pattern Recognition in Entrepreneurship
- Developing a SMARTER Mindset for Resilience, Emotional Intelligence – Part 2
- Creating Productive Thought Patterns through “Thought Self-Leadership”\
- Design Thinking to Address Social and Business Problems
- Effective Questions as Change and Innovation Catalyst
- How and Who of Innovation
- Crash Course on Innovation, Creativity
- Two Models of Business Innovation, Courtesy of Two Kaplans