101 Activities For Teaching Creativity And Problem Solving

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activity. The number of groups and number of participants in groups will affect these
estimates. In the selection guide, activities with a single or double asterisk indicate
prior participant activity (*) or prior preparation for facilitators (**). For instance, Idea
Shopping [14] requires participants to visit a store before attending an activity. A dou-
ble asterisk, in contrast, denotes that facilitators will need to make preparations
beyond what normally might be expected. An example would be Greeting Cards [96],
in which facilitators must gather and organize materials for making greeting cards or
Balloon, Balloon, Balloon [92], which involves purchasing balloons, inserting slips of
paper, and blowing them up (of course, you also could enlist the aid of the partici-
pants in this instance).

  • Stimuli (related vs. unrelated): As discussed previously, all of the activities are based on
    stimuli related to a problem, unrelated, or a combination of both. A rule of thumb is
    that unrelated stimuli often will yield more unique ideas than related stimuli will.
    However, this guideline can be affected by the creativity of the participants and fac-
    tors related to a group’s creative climate (that is, the perception of free and open
    expression of ideas).

  • Potential for idea quantity: Subjectively estimates the probability an activity will result
    in a relatively large quantity of ideas within the available time. There are a significant
    number of research studies on the ability of different methods to generate ideas.
    Brainwriting methods, in particular, have the greatest potential for idea quantity. Time
    also can be a factor because the more time available, the greater the number of ideas
    that can be generated, up to a point. Responses are based on low, medium, and high
    probabilities of occurrence.

  • Potential for novel ideas: Subjectively estimates the probability that ideas produced will
    possess statistical infrequency within the problem-solving domain (for example, ideas
    for customer service). The less expected an idea is for a domain, the greater the poten-
    tial novelty. The research on idea novelty is less clear on what types of activities are
    likely to spark novelty. In general, novel ideas are more likely when unrelated stimuli
    are used. Responses for this category are based on low, medium, and high probabili-

  • Difficulty of use: Uses low, medium, and high estimates of how complicated an activity
    is to implement. Difficulty can be affected by the number of steps involved, tasks
    unfamiliar to participants, and the trainer’s overall familiarity and experience in
    using an activity.

  • Group energy level required:Group energy typically is lowest right after lunch and near
    the end of the day. All the activities are rated with respect to how much energy must
    be invested to complete the activities. Thus, high-energy activities might be reserved
    for earlier in the day. On the other hand, if an activity involves physical movement
    (for example, Balloon, Balloon, Balloon [92]), then the activity might help increase a
    group’s overall energy level and work well in early or late afternoon.

  • Potential for creating a fun environment (“Fun Factor”): Subjectively estimates the likeli-
    hood that an activity will provoke mirth and humor, which should affect both the
    quantity and novelty of ideas. Some research indicates that groups with high “posi-
    tive affect” tend to be more creative than groups lower in positive affect. Perception of

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