Using creative provocations is an effective way to get new thoughts , according to the creativity guru Edward de Bono. To make our thoughts go beyond their usual limits, we need a push in the right direction. This push is called provocation since it provoces our way of thinking. But it is not easy to create provocations that really work.
If the provocation is too cautious, it will not challenge our thoughts enough, resulting in ideas that lack creativity. On the other hand, if the provocation is too challenging, it makes no sense and it gets nearly impossible to “connect” to an idea or a solution, it will not be successful either.
It requires a lot of practice to create good provocations and to come up with effective ones quickly.
What then characterizes a good provocation?
- A good provocation engages us and elicits our active participation.
- It makes us think twice and see things in a new light.
- A good provocation is open and allows different ideas and solutions without limiting us.
- It is positive and points to opportunities, even those that may be far in the future.
- A good provocation is forward-looking and does not direct its criticism at anyone or anything.
- It challenges the established approach and breaks with existing norms.
- The answers to the provocation cannot be found within the existing system.
- The provocation should take our thoughts outside the box, without limiting anyone.
This kind of thought-provoking can be followed by the PMI method.
And finally, a good provocation should be clear so that we don’t struggle to understand what is expected of us.
Examples of provocation that could push our thinking:
Provocation: “What would happen if we eliminated all instructions and rules within our organization?”
By using this provocation, one can challenge the established view and encourage creative thinking.
Here are some possible ideas that could be generated in response to this provocation:
1. A self-managing team: By eliminating instructions and rules, teams can be given greater autonomy and let them make decisions on their own. This can lead to an increased sense of responsibility and creativity.
2. Use of AI and machine learning: Instead of having human instructions, advanced algorithms and AI technology can be used to optimize and adapt work processes. This can provide faster and more efficient results.
3. Focus on basic principles: By eliminating specific instructions, one can instead emphasize basic principles and values that should guide the organization. This can contribute to increased flexibility and creativity among employees.
4. Experimentation and innovation: By removing rules and instructions, one can create an environment where experimentation and innovation are encouraged. This can lead to employees daring to think new things and try new ideas without fear of breaking existing rules.
5. Development of a learning organization: By eliminating instructions, you can create a culture where learning and knowledge sharing are central. Employees are encouraged to take their own initiative, learn from mistakes and share their experiences.
These are just a few examples of how a provocation can generate ideas. By challenging the established and opening up to new perspectives, you can create an atmosphere where creativity flourishes and innovative solutions can arise.
By using creative provocations, we can stimulate new thinking and generate innovative ideas that take us beyond our usual paths of thought.
Practice asking reasonable provocative questions and it will be easier for you to find ideas!