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
- 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: markers, two flip charts, and masking tape for posting flip-chart
- 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
- Brain Borrow 
- Have small groups borrow the basics of another idea and adapt it to their situa-
tion. Tell them to think of who is doing similar things or making similar products.
There doesn’t have to be a direct connection. Tell them to examine what others are
doing and try to make it work for their challenge.
- To clarify the exercise, tell them the following story:
Kent Savage, president of Electronic Merchandising Systems, Inc., of Cincinnati,
Ohio, started out in the vending machine business. He tried the conventional
approach: snacks, coffee, and cold drinks. Then a few years ago, he traveled to
Japan. There he saw $300 pearl necklaces and even sake offered in vending
“What an eye opener,” Savage now recalls. “I realized I could break out of the
mold and move into higher-priced items.” And so he did. When he returned to
the United States, he approached Eastman Kodak and offered to sell cameras and
film in his vending machines. After two years, his vending machines now sell
Kodak products in more than twenty states.
In 1993, Savage introduced machines that sell tools on factory floors. His com-
pany now turns a sizable profit, with the machine tools expected to bring in more
than $100 million over the next five years (some of which will come from exports
to Japan, ironically).
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