I was encouraged recently to read some books by Edward de Bono – of Six Thinking Hats fame. So I went to the library and picked up How to have creative ideas . The book takes the premise that creativity isn’t just something you have or don’t have but that it is something you can develop. As someone who wouldn’t count myself as being particularly creative this is a helpful and reassuring concept.
The book contains 62 different games and exercises, built around random words chosen from a list, to help encourage creativity and lateral thinking. For example, Game 3: Odd Man Out, where you take four random words. You then show how one of the words is the ‘odd man out’, define why that is. So the four random words could be: fur; ransom; chimpanzee; worry. Your immediate thoughts might be that ‘worry’ is the only human emotion amongst the words; or that ‘chimpanzee’ is the only creature. You could develop that and say that ‘ransom’ is the only word that implies criminal action; ‘fur’, ‘ransom’ and ‘worry’ are all unpleasant (for some people), ‘chimpanzee’ is not.
All the exercises are simple, practical and fun, and can be done by anyone, and they are also the kind of thing I could imagine small groups could do to increase creativity, certainly they could be used for those long journeys!