Checklists help to generate ideas in a systematic way. Once a problem is identified, teams can use checklists to explore all areas and issues that are associated with the problem. They help the team think and are often in the form of questions. Many of the mapping tools, like 6M, are just like checklists, encouraging you to be systematic in your approach.
The simplest tools include checklists like the questions which, why, where, when, how and who. Thinkers from Plato onwards have developed hundreds of thinking tools which are as easy to learn as the three Rs ([r]eading, w[r]iting, [a[r]ithmetic).
The following checklist was created by Alex Osborn, an advertising manager and author of the creativity technique called brainstorming. Apply it to develop ideas on a chosen problem. Teams can then discuss the problem together.
· Put to other uses?
· Adapt? Is there anything else like this? What does this tell you? Is the past comparable?
· Modify? Give it a new angle?
· Magnify? Can it be duplicated, multiplied or exaggerated?
· Minimize? Can anything be taken away? Made smaller? Lowered?
· Shortened? Lengthened? Omitted? Broken up?
· Substitute? Different ingredients used? Other material?
· Other processes? Other places? Other approachs? Other tone of voice? Someone else?
· Rearrange? Swap components? Alter the pattern, sequence or layout? Change the pace or schedule? Transpose cause and effect?
· Reverse? Opposites? Backwards? Reverse roles?