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Creativity Tools - An Overview

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Creativity Tools - An Overview

What is it and how can it help me?

Creativity tools are tried and tested ways of coming up with new solutions and perspectives to an issue or problem that won't seem to go away.

If you want to think innovatively, you need to observe what is going on around you. We are used to viewing situations from our own personal perspectives. However, by developing the skill of looking at things in a variety of different ways, you can make new connections and lateral leaps. When you are stuck in one way of thinking and feel that you have exhausted all the options, a ‘fresh pair of eyes' can see a whole new way of doing things that you hadn't thought of before.

When does it work best?

You have probably already identified and fixed the easy things, but now you need to improve and fine tune all the elements of the patient journey. To do this, it helps if you see things with new eyes, gathering different perspectives to tease out the alternative ways of getting things done (then you can test them out).

Paul Plsek says there are five reasons why organisations should be concerned with ‘creativity and innovation'.
  1. Superior long term financial performance is associated with innovation.
  2. Customers i.e. patients and commissioners, are increasingly demanding new ways  of doing things.
  3. Competitors are getting better at copying past innovations.
  4. New technologies enable innovation.
  5. What used to work doesn't anymore.
All these will have an impact on making improvements and streamlining your services. 

How to use it

Techniques for stimulating resourceful thinking typically involve three mental processes:

  • Focusing attention on something that you don't normally focus on
  • Escaping the way you traditionally think, commonly called ‘thinking outside the box'
  • Suspending judgment and allowing your imagination to explore different possibilities.

A range of tools are designed to help us do this.


A great example of creative thinking: Prof Elliot connected car racing to heart surgery and used the learning of a pit stop to improve transfer processes at the end of heart surgery. ('Ferrari Pit Stop Saves Alexander's Life' by William Greaves - The Telegraph 29 August 2006).  

What next?

Visit all the creativity tools that are available on this website. You will be familiar with some of them, although you may not have used them much before. Sometimes you may need to follow simple rules for the tools to be effective.

Other useful tools and techniques on this website

Additional resources

Paul Plsek ‘Creativity, Innovation, and Quality' Quality Press

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