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Imperial College London

Systematic Creative Thinking: Tools for Success

Imperial College London via Coursera


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Creativity is a widely acclaimed attribute. A range of creativity tools are available that rely on creativity principles to enable systematic idea generation. This module builds on the first module where various types of brainstorming were introduced along with the creativity diamond framework which provides a guide to which type of creative approach to use. Here we will introduce systematic creativity tools that can be used to provoke a wide range of ideas that might not normally arise and can be used to augment your innate creativity. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN • Familiarity with a range of approaches to creativity • The principles of morphological analysis for generating ideas • the principles of invention • To be able to identify the recommended principles of invention for a given scenario of improving and worsening features • How to use the SCAMPER creative idea provocation tool • Use of the creativity diamond framework to guid what approach to creativity to use SKILLS YOU WILL GAIN • Familiarity with a range of approaches applied to creativity • Systematic idea generation and creativity • Being able to use a morphological chart to develop a range of solutions • How to produce a morphological chart • use of the TRIZ contradiction matrix in identifying principles of invention for resolving contradictions in problem solving • Application of the SCAMPER creative idea provocation tool


  • Week 1
    • There are various creative tools that can be used to provoke a series of ideas that might not normally come to mind. This week you will learn the principles of Morphological Analysis and apply the tool in various life scenarios, from design to developing movie plotlines, whilst developing a more systematic approach to idea generation.
  • Week 2
    • By representing a generic solution to an opportunity or challenge through subsystems and producing a chart that includes options for each subsystem, a morphological chart can be used to enable selection of a series of potential ideas. The tool uses combinational creativity to present a potential idea depending on the selection you make. This week we will explore the use of morphological charts for a number of applications. In addition, we will also explore how the charts are generated and how software can be used to reduce the large number of potential solutions.
  • Week 3
    • Experience and skill are recognised as important enablers in creativity. Familiarity with a domain provides access to building blocks that can be applied or explored in addressing a challenge. TRIZ is a Russian acronym that is generally translated as the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving and comprises a series of tools that enable access to a wide range of accumulated experience. This week we will introduce you to the principles and some of the thinking and approaches used in TRIZ. In particular, we will consider a set of principles of invention along with the oft found challenge that when improving one feature something else gets worse and how TRIZ can be used to address this apparent contradiction.
  • Week 4
    • Often when trying to solve a problem in improving one feature something else gets worse. By analysing successful solutions from patents, particular principles of invention have been identified that enable resolution without the compromise of a worsening feature. TRIZ represents a short cut to experience and a further tool that can be used to systematically aid in the generation of ideas and solutions. This week we will introduce you to one of the key tools in TRIZ, the contradiction matrix that can be used to identify which principles of invention are recommended to resolve a particular pairing of improving and worsening features in an application.
  • Week 5
    • This week, we will introduce you to the SCAMPER creativity tool where each letter represents a generic provocation, substituting, combining, adapting, modifying, petting to other uses, erasing and rearranging. You will become familiar with the concepts of SCAMPER and gain proficiency in its application in various professional and personal situations, for inspiring ideas.
  • Week 6
    • Many creativity processes incorporate a period of divergence where you explore differing ideas and a period of convergence where particular ideas are selected and refined. This week we will explore how some of the techniques we have explored in this module can be used to aid the generation of multiple ideas during the divergent phase, how criteria can be used to select which ideas to take forward and how some of the tools presented can be used to further elaborate ideas and use in solving problems.

Taught by

Peter Childs


4.8 rating at Coursera based on 35 ratings

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