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Creativity techniques are methods that encourage creative actions, whether in the arts or sciences. They focus on a variety of aspects of creativity, including techniques for idea generation and divergent thinking, methods of re-framing problems, changes in the affective environment and so on. They can be used as part of problem solving, artistic expression, or therapy.
Some techniques require groups of two or more people while other techniques can be accomplished alone. These methods include word games, written exercises and different types of improvisation, or algorithms for approaching problems. Aleatory techniques exploiting randomness are also common.
Aleatoricism is the incorporation of chance (random elements) into the process of creation, especially the creation of art or media. Aleatoricism is commonly found in music, art, and literature, particularly in poetry. In film, Andy Voda made a movie in 1979 called "Chance Chants", which he produced by a flip of a coin or roll of a dice. In music, John Cage, an avant-garde musician, composed music by superimposing star maps on blank sheet music, by rolling dice and preparing open ended scores that depended on the spontaneous decisions of the performers. (1) Other ways of practicing randomness include coin tossing, picking something out of a hat, or selecting random words from a dictionary.
In short, aleatoricism is a way to introduce new thoughts or ideas into a creative process.
Improvisation is a creative process which can be spoken, written, or composed without prior preparation. Improvisation, also called extemporization, can lead to the discovery of new ways to act, new patterns of thought and practices, or new structures. Improvisation is used in the creation of music, theater, and other various forms. Many artists also use improvisational techniques to help their creative flow.
The following are two significant methods:
- Improvisational theater is a form of theater in which actors use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously. Many improvisational (“improv”) techniques are taught in standard drama classes. The basic skills of listening, clarity, confidence, and performing instinctively and spontaneously are considered important skills for actors to develop.
- Free improvisation is real-time composition. Musicians of all kinds improvise (“improv”) music; such improvised music is not limited to a particular genre. Two contemporary musicians that use free improvisation are Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor. Through free improvisation, musicians can develop increased spontaneity and fluency.
Each type of improvisation improves the thinking and acting skills of the actor, and this is done by using no practice. A similar set of techniques is called alienation since one of its many techniques uses actors that haven't rehearsed or even read the play. Improvisation is an acting technique during which actors make up a storyline, start and end on the spot, and try their best to keep in character.
In problem-solving contexts, the random-word creativity technique is perhaps the simplest method. A person confronted with a problem is presented with a randomly generated word, in the hopes of a solution arising from any associations between the word and the problem. A random image, sound, or article can be used instead of a random word as a kind of creativity goad or provocation.
There are many tools and methodologies to support creativity:
- TRIZ (theory which are derived from tools such as ARIZ or TRIZ contradiction matrix)
- Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS) (complex strategy, also known as Osborn-Parnes-process)
- Lateral thinking process, of Edward de Bono
- Six Thinking Hats, of Edward de Bono
- Method Herrmann - right brain / left brain
- Brainstorming and Brainwriting
- Think outside the box
- Business war games, for the resolution of competitive problems
- SWOT analysis
- The method USIT of convergent creativity
- Thought experiment
- Five Ws
- Problem solving
- Decision tree
- Design tool
- Ideas banks
- Lateral thinking
- Improvisation | Define Improvisation at Dictionary.com
-  Archived July 6, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- jazz improvisation : music improvisation : jazz theory
- More On Idea Generation Tools and Techniques. IdeaFlow: Discussion about innovation and creativity - new products, strategy, open innovation, commercialization of technologies...
- "Idea Generation, Creativity and Incentives" (PDF). Mitsloan.mit.edu. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- See Christian Gänshirt (2007): Tools for Ideas. An Introduction to Architectural Design, translated by Michael Robinson, Basel, Boston, Berlin: Birkhäuser, ISBN 978-3-7643-7577-5