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Creativity Templates in Idea Generation

Presenter: Jacob Goldenberg

Among all the domains in which problem solving paradigms are applied, innovation is considered to be relatively dominant in its attention to and respect for creativity. This importance ascribed to creativity may be a consequence of the fact that in some situations it provides some added value. Consequently, innovation field presents an ideal arena in which ideation, problem solving and creativity may be studied. In order to present this unique framework, the presentation will be an overview of a research on repeated, well defined structures (termed templates) in creativity and ideation rather than a focus on one research and its findings.

It was found that the majority of new product versions can be accounted for by as few as five templates of ideation that underlie the product evolution and new product emergence. Further, it was demonstrated that new product ideation may be enhanced by applying these templates.  The rationale on which this approach is based may be conceptualized by viewing the relations between innovations and their adopters as Natural Selection mechanisms. Innovations failing to satisfy needs disappear while succeeding products survive - until emerging demands transform the system again, to create a new wave of natural selection. According to this perspective, markets are factors that exert environmental pressure, forcing products to evolve continuously to conform to ever-changing demands. This view of the 'survival of the fittest' is not inconsistent with the prevailing marketing approach by which attention to the environment inputs, coined “voice of the customer”, is crucial for inducing changes that ensure product success.  

The empirical findings indicate that ideas elicited by individuals trained in template-ideation were judged superior to ideas produced through alternative methods.

In a different study judges, who were blind to the purpose of the study,  evaluated ideas that were "suggested" by a computer program that followed the prescribed rules of one template (in an advertising context) as more creative than ideas that were suggested by (human) individuals.

The talk will cover studies from several papers, with a focus on one template (Replacement). One of the main conclusions to be discussed is that, perhaps surprising, order is manifested in creativity, and analytic and well defined procedures can lead to an efficient creative ideation. 

Learning Objectives:

1. Explain differences thinking outside the box and inside the box.

2. Utilize a systematic creativity in ideation processes.

3. Apply constrains to increase a challenged ideation approach.