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An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Creativity: Think More, Think Better by Joe Y. F. Lau

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CHAPTER 24

CREATIVE THINKING HABITS

A crucial step in the creativity cycle is to actively explore the connections between ideas. Tons of books have been written about this topic,1 and in this chapter we highlight some of the more useful thinking techniques. We call them creative thinking habits to emphasize two points. First, a thinking habit is a way of thinking that has become second nature. By making it a habit to apply these techniques we can make our minds more flexible and so more creative. Second, a way of thinking becomes a habit only after extended practice. The emergence of a new idea might only take seconds, but the thinking habits that allow the idea to emerge can take years of hardwork and discipline to cultivate.

24.1 CREATIVE THINKING HABITS

All these thinking habits are based on one fundamental principle—a new idea is made up of old ideas combined in a new way. The simplest way to do this is by adding, replacing, or subtracting ideas. Suppose you sell simple hamburgers made of a bun and a beef patty in the middle. To explore new products, you can add one more beef patty in the middle for those who love meat (addition). Or you can replace the beef patty with chicken, mushrooms, or even ice cream (replacement)! Or you can sell just the patties without the bun for people to cook at home (subtraction).

24.1.1 SCAMPER

SCAMPER is a mnemonic for a list of ways to get new ideas.2 The instructions are pretty self-explanatory. There is of course some overlap in the instructions—for ...

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