4.3 The Stimulation of Creativity

Forecasting requires the capacity to envision what the future might hold. This section describes methods to enhance the forecaster's and technology manager's creativity and to increase their ability to visualize alternative futures. First, methods of stimulating individual creativity are described. These include lateral thinking, suspended judgment, fractionation, reversal, checklists, morphological analysis, and the use of random words. Second, group techniques including brainstorming and Synectics are considered.

4.3.1 Five Elements of Creativity

J. P. Guilford's research into creative behavior established the basis for much of our current understanding of creativity. This research began shortly after World War II as a project funded by the U.S. Navy. Guilford (1959) identified five key elements of creativity: fluency, flexibility, originality, awareness, and drive. Understanding these elements removes some of the mystery surrounding creativity and paves the way for encouraging its growth.

Fluency usually is thought of as the ability to express thoughts in a flowing, effortless style. In creativity, however, fluency is the ability to provide ideas in volume. A simple test might be to see how many uses of an ordinary item, for instance a used paper cup, can be devised in a limited time. Clearly, fluency is important in forecasting to help ensure that all possibly useful alternatives have been identified.

Flexibility is the ability to bend familiar ...

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