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Osborn’s Checklist

Posted by Jutta from Visionautik Akademie


 TARGET GROUP

Group size

1 - 500

Subgroup size

groups of 4 - 6

Is participant experience relevant?

It's okay if participants haven't seen the inside of a classroom in years.

Physical trust needed

Mental trust needed

 MATERIALS

Material Description

-A printout of the questions
-Flipchart and markers or
-Pin board, moderation cards and markers or
-Pen and paper (for individual use of the method)

Create materials quick and dirty

5 min

Create materials with love and care

20 min

Available material for free

http://www.hostingtransformation.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Osborne-Questions.pdf

 REQUIREMENTS

Duration

30 minutes - 3 hours

Experience level of the facilitator

taken part OR some facilitation experience

Number of facilitators

1, if it is a group with rigid communication patterns you might want to choose one facilitator for each subgroup.

 CHARACTER OF THE  METHOD

Level of activation

neutral

Woo-Woo Level - How touchy-feely is this method?

From 1.Rationalist-Materialist "No feelings here, folks." to 5.Esoteric-Shamanic Bleeding Heart:

Innovation Phases:

4 Idea Generation
5 Grounding the Idea

Method Category:

Business / Entrepreneurial Thinking
Idea generator
Problem Solving
Strategy / Planning

SHORT DESCRIPTION

A classic, effective ideation technique, best used if you already have something to build on: a situation, product, process you want to change or improve. The 62 questions in 9 clusters help you rethink what you took for granted and find better solutions.

ALTERNATIVE NAME OF THE METHOD

Osborn Questions, Osborn's questions

 BACKGROUND

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

For Alex F. Osborn, the originator of the classical brainstorming technique, building upon ideas already suggested was an important factor of successful brainstorming. This technique is based on playfully and systematically modifying existing products or processes and finding alternatives to the original solution/process/product/situation.

Why is it  helpful to look for such alternatives?

a) One of the alternative ideas may solve your problem.
b) An alternative idea may help you rearrange the components of your problem, thereby solving it indirectly.
c) The alternative might prove to be a better starting point.
d) One alternative might be a breakthrough idea that has nothing to do with the problem at hand.

ORIGINAL SOURCE

Alex F. Osborn, A.F. Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953

https://archive.org/details/appliedimaginati00osborich

 STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

PRE-EXERCISES

Any exercise that fosters a spirit of curiosity

PREPARATION (excluding materials)

Provide a communicative setting for your group.

1 Clarify the topic

Make your group define the objective of their creative search. What do they need an idea for? What process/product/situation do they want to improve? What would be an outcome they would be happy with after having gone through Osborn’s checklist?


2 Brainstorm along the checklist

Depending on how experienced your group is with creative thinking, you might want to revise the basic rules for brainstorming:
-No criticism of ideas
-Go for large quantities of ideas
-Build on each other’s ideas
-Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas

Then put your product/process/situation you want to improve into the center of attention, spark a spirit of curiosity, and go through the different aspects of Osborn’s questions. Brainstorm around those questions using them as a focalizer.

Be aware that this is a trial and error process and will bring up all different kinds of ideas that might not be helpful: this is part of the game and can bring about a wonderful light atmosphere of fun and laughter if the group can let that happen. Also there might be a wide range of how the group members understand a question. It is not necessary that there be unity in the way the question is understood. Multiple interpretations lead to multiple results.

Here’s the full list of 62 questions:

PUT TO OTHER USES ?
New ways to use it?
Other uses if modified?

ADAPT?
What else is like this?
What other idea does this suggest?
Does the past offer parallels?
What could I copy?
Whom could I emulate?

MODIFY?
New twist?
Change meaning, color, motion, sound, odor, form, shape?
Other shapes?

MAGNIFY?
What to add?
More time?
Greater frequency?
Stronger?
Higher?
Longer?
Thicker?
Extra value?
Plus ingredient?
Duplicate?
Multiply?
Exaggerate?

MINIMIZE?
What to subtract?
Smaller?
Condensed?
Miniature?
Lower?
Shorter?
Lighter?
Omit?
Streamline?
Split up?
Understate?

SUBSTITUTE?
Who else instead?
What else instead?
Other ingredient?
Other material?
Other process?
Other power?
Other place?
Other approach?
Other tone of voice?

REARRANGE?
Interchange components?
Other pattern?
Other layout?
Other sequence?
Transpose cause and effect?
Change pace?
Change schedule?

REVERSE?
Transpose positive and negative?
How about opposites?
Turn it backward?
Turn it upside down?
Reverse roles?
Change shoes?
Turn tables?
Turn other cheek?

COMBINE?
How about a blend, an alloy, an assortment, an ensemble?
Combine units?
Combine purposes?
Combine appeals?
Combine ideas?


HARVEST

Take a break, refresh the brain, come back and evaluate the ideas. You might do this intuitively or by a group evaluation method. Check in the database if you need help with evaluation tools.

 FURTHER INFORMATION

CULTURAL VARIATIONS

A similar checklist called Scamper has been developed by Bob Eberle based on the Osborn questions. It is almost the same, but structured a little differently. Some people prefer it as the acronym SCAMMPERR can be remembered more easily.

Trainers for this method can be hired here:

Visionautik Akademie www.visionautik.de

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