Thinking outside the box – and this universe
After many attempts to get the HMA team together for a length of time long enough for me to present my book report, we finally succeeded!
This month’s selection was the second edition of Thinkertoys, by Michael Michalko. I came across a recommendation for the book via someone’s review on Twitter, so I was intrigued to get into the meat of the book – a 380-page handbook chock full of creative thinking techniques that can easily be applied to the PR profession.
The book is divided into three parts:
- Linear Thinkertoys, which structure existing information;
- Intuitive Thinkertoys, which generate new information using insight, imagination and intuition; and
- Group brainstorming activities.
We started out with a creative warm-up activity called “Space Creature,” in which I asked each member of our team to imagine a creature living on another planet with a different atmosphere in a distant solar system. True to my artsy craftsy self, I provided crayons, markers, colored pencils and – yes – glitter pens so everyone could get as creative as they wanted. The ideas we came up with were as diverse as our personalities: Scott’s creature we described as a ghost mixed with Cousin Itt; Abbie’s triangle head man; Alison’s Planet Orange-dwelling Suns-loving creature; and my amoeba-like blob.
Next, we moved on to a linear Thinkertoy called “Slice and Dice.” The activity calls for a person or group to state a challenge; analyze the challenge and list as many attributes as possible; and take each attribute one at a time and think of ways to change or improve it. We brainstormed about reaching out to a certain target audience and came up five new ideas – not bad for our first time!
Overall, I thought the book was a great read, with useful techniques that can be applied to one’s personal and professional life. Besides, I’ll look for any reason to use a glitter pen!