Mike Dominik can provide more detail, instruction, and assistance on the application of
some of these techniques. Contact him directly for more information!

Brainstorming: Let the ideas flow
Brainstorming is by far the most widely used tool to stimulate creative thinking. It was developed in the
1940s by the American advertising executive Alex Osborn who believed that anyone could learn to
generate creative solutions for a wide variety of problems.

Rice Storm: Problem definition first
“A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved”

   Imagine your group as a gigantic boat powered by a group of people with their own outboard motors.
Without direction, agreement, collaboration, and communication each person will likely be pointing his or
her motor in a different direction, and the boat will founder or turn in circles. On the other hand, if the group
comes to a common understanding and agreement about their direction and destination, the members
can align their individual motors toward a common goal.
   TKJ is a Japanese technique, developed by Kobayashi and Kawakita, which recognizes the need for a
single group approach to problem definition and resolution. It has been referred to by a Japanese-
American professor as a “Rice Storm”.
   The technique synthesizes different individual perspectives and experiences into a problem definition
and solution that is acceptable to the group. There are two stages to TKJ: understanding the problem, and
solving it. Understanding the problem involves getting each member of the group to grasp the essence of
the problem; solving it means encouraging all members to participate in suggesting solutions.

Root-Cause Analysis: Underlying causes

  • What is it? A systematic analysis of an issue to identify the root causes rather than the symptoms.
  • When to use it? When you need to delve beyond surface symptoms and uncover the underlying
    causes of problems.
  • What does it do? Leads to more complete and final solutions whereas dealing with surface issues
    often allows problems to recur.

Gap Analysis: See the shortfalls

  • What is it? Gap analysis is a technique for identifying blocks to achieving a desired goal.
  • When to use it? When a group needs to understand the gap between where they currently are as
    compared to where they ultimately want to end up.
  • What does it do? Gap analysis lets you explore the missing steps between where you are and
    where you want to go. It forces a realistic look at the present and helps identify the things that need
    to be done to arrive at the desired future.

Force-Field Analysis: Get the big picture

  • What is it? Force-field is a structured method of looking at the two opposing forces acting on a
  • When to use it? When you need to surface all of the factors at play in a situation, so that barriers
    and problems can be identified.
  • What does it do? Clarifies the resources available and the barriers or obstacles to success.  Helps
    groups understand where they need to focus their attentions.

Visioning: Build consensus

  • What is it? A highly participative approach to goal setting for groups of all sizes.
  • When to use it? When members need to clarify their own thoughts and then share those ideas with
    each other. To create a clear, shared statement of the desired future.
  • What does it do? Allows people to put forward their ideas. Makes sure everyone is involved and
    heard from. Creates energy. Gets people aligned. Gives people a creative method to identify a
    group goal.

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Creative Problem Solving Techniques