Creative Thinking

What is it?

Creative thinking is a way of thinking that can result in new ways of problem resolution. Sometimes it is known as out of the box thinking and is an approach that looks at issues from a number of different perspectives. It's a method that leaves behind older and more traditional modes of thinking, leading us out of the box and away from the straight jacket. It challenges our existing values, beliefs, experiences and pre conceptions that we may have formed during our lifetime and shows us that there are more and different ways in which we can see our world. It can help us gain a greater understanding of events, the ways in which people think and the way in which things work.

A number of tools and techniques have evolved to help the creative thinking process which have shown it to be a technique that can be taught to those of us who may not think of ourselves as creative thinkers.

The Need for Creative Thinking

So, why do we believe there is a need for us both as individuals and as a society to become creative thinkers ?

In an increasingly competitive world organisations are looking at ways in which they can generate new ideas and improve their competitiveness, whilst making full use of their human resources. In our knowledge based society there is now seen to be a need to go beyond known boundaries. Knowledge alone may not be sufficient to provide new and innovative solutions, there is a need to understand, discover and investigate new and alternative ways of doing things at an ever increasing rate. Although the initial driver for this creativity may appear to be purely economic, it is acknowledged that there is a strong desire by individuals to be creative. As more and more of the problems we encounter become increasingly complex, there is a realisation that more than knowledge and experience is needed to solve them. It is therefore crucial that organisations create the conditions and ensure that creativity is able to permeate throughout all areas of their business.

Ultimately the drivers of this need to think creatively can be seen as both social and economic, satisfying both individual and organisational requirements

Tools for Creative Thinking

There have been a number of influential thinkers in the field of creativity. This article will not attempt to review or describe any of these thinking techniques in any detail. However it is of value to highlight some of the resources which may be of importance to anyone considering further work or investigation into the techniques which can assist creative thinking.

Probably the most comprehensive resource can be found at which lists and references over one hundred creative thinking techniques. Study of these techniques should provide one that is suited to most situations.

Probably the world's best known and leading authority on the topic is Edward de Bono, who has been influential in the development of creative thinking techniques with, for example, his six thinking hats, lateral thinking and direct attention thinking tools. References to his work can be found at and also at

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