110 101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving
101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving.Copyright © 2005 by John Wiley &
Sons, Inc. Reproduced by permission of Pfeiffer, an Imprint of Wiley. http://www.pfeiffer.com
Say What? Handout
To illustrate this technique, consider the problem of how to recruit professional employ-
ees. To generate ideas, you might select two proverbs. The first is “Stone walls do not a
prison make.” This proverb might elicit the following free associations:
- Although you can imprison my body, you can’t imprison my spirit.
- Many people create their own “mental” prisons that restrict their ability to think cre-
- Stone walls are generally built from the bottom up in layers.
- It is much easier to go over, under, or around stone walls than through them.
These interpretations then might spark the following ideas:
- Emphasize personal and professional growth opportunities or, if they don’t exist, cre-
ate them (from “you can’t imprison my spirit”).
- Demonstrate in-house creativity sessions at professional meetings to show how much
fun it is to work for your organization and how creativity is encouraged (from “Many
people create their own mental prisons”).
- Provide intensive orientation sessions to lay a good foundation for understanding the
organization (from “Stone walls are generally built up in layers”).
- Promise new executives direct access to upper management (from “Stone walls are
generally built up in layers”).
- Provide new executives with a personal mentor to help cut through the red tape dur-
ing their first year on the job (from “It is much easier to go over, under, or around
stone walls than through them”).
For the second proverb, you might select “All work and no play makes Jack a dull
boy.” It might suggest the following thoughts:
- We all occasionally need to relax and recharge our batteries.
- We should strive to achieve balance in the amount of work and play we do.
- Dull people can be unpleasant to be around.
These interpretations might prompt the following types of ideas:
- Provide professionals with executive sabbaticals (from “We all occasionally need to
relax and recharge our batteries”).
- Require all employees to take a “play break” every day (from “We should strive to
achieve balance in the amount of work and play we do”).
- To keep people sharp, require job rotation (from “Dull people can be unpleasant to be
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