101 Activities For Teaching Creativity And Problem Solving

(Joyce) #1

Combinations 123

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

23. Circle of Opportunity

In one respect, all creative activity is a gamble. We invest our time, effort, and creative
abilities in some problem with an unknown outcome. We can’t always predict the result.
Sometimes our creative efforts may even make things worse. It’s a crapshoot of the mind.
All gambling involves some form of randomness. Chance makes things interesting. It
determines whether we win or lose. We can’t control chance, but we can try to capitalize
on it and use it to our advantage. We can use randomness, for example, to help prompt
ideas. In particular, random combinations of problem attributes can create associations
that lead to breakthrough ideas.
The Circle of Opportunity activity, created by Michael Michalko (1991), is based on
the random combination of problem attributes.


  • To help participants generate as many creative ideas as possible

  • To help participants learn how to use the activities to generate ideas

Small groups of four to seven people each

Materials, Supplies, and Equipment

  • For each group: a set of die, markers, two flip charts, and masking tape for posting
    flip-chart sheets

  • For each participant: one sheet each of three different colors of sticking dots
    (^1 ⁄ 2 ” diameter) and one pad of 4 x 6 Post-it®Notes

30 minutes

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