Tools and Techniques

Generating Innovative Solutions

Often the hardest part of generating new innovative solutions is knowing where and how to begin looking for them. Whether you are wanting to inspire your staff or facilitate an idea-generation session, you'll benefit greatly by knowing which techniques belong to which Innovation Style. You can better select the techniques that will work for a particular mix of people, or which tools to introduce first and last. For example, a group of people who strongly prefer Modifying will not start well with Exploring techniques, but could use them well if they were introduced later.

Modifying and Experimenting idea-generation techniques begin by gathering facts, details and other data. Modifying builds on what is known, while Experimenting combines the components in new ways. These techniques are more linear than intuitive in their approach to generating ideas. They take advantage of different ways of organizing known information so as to approach problems from new and more comprehensive angles. Using a logical pattern or a sequence of steps, they help focus the attention on where to look for innovations.

Visioning and Exploring idea-generation techniques start with an intuitive insight, hunch or hypothesis; then they gather information to confirm and fill out the intuition. The difference between these two techniques is that Visioning searches for a clear mental picture of the future, while Exploring often employs symbols to sense what is metaphorically possible. These techniques take advantage of the right-brain capability to perceive whole solutions in sudden leaps of logic.

Modifying Techniques

Three idea-generation techniques that emphasize the Modifying style are Force-field, Attribute listing, and SCAMPER. Use these techniques when you want to generate ideas that build on what is already known and when you want to develop versatility with this style.

  • Force-field   view
  • Attribute listing   view
  • "SCAMPER"   view

Experimenting Techniques

Three idea-generation techniques that emphasize the Experimenting style are Matrix analysis, Morphological Analysis, and Alternate scenarios. Use these techniques when you want to generate ideas that combine different elements in new ways and when you want to develop versatility with this style.

  • Matrix analysis   view
  • Morphological Analysis   view
  • Alternate scenarios   view

Visioning Techniques

Three idea-generation techniques that emphasize the Visioning style are Alter-ego, History of the future, and Vision circle. Use these techniques when you want to generate ideas by creating a mental picture of an ideal future and when you want to develop versatility with this style.

  • Alter-ego   view
  • History of the future   view
  • Vision circle   view

Exploring Techniques

Three idea-generation techniques that emphasize the Exploring style are Analogy, Nature symbol, and Dreaming. Use these techniques when you want to generate ideas using metaphors, symbols and analogies and when you want to develop versatility with this style.

  • Guided imagery   view
  • Nature symbol   view
  • Forced association   view
Innovation Styles logo
Welcome to Innovation Styles
Sign in