By May 20, 2007 Read More →

Idea Techniques (Group B)

In the book THINKERTOYS, Michael Michalko, presents sets of techniques for generating ideas. In my previous post, I covered Group A linear techniques for ideas. In this post, I’ll cover Group B. The Group B linear techniques arranges information in a way so that you move in determined steps toward a new idea.

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • My favorite example is the Tug-of-War. It’s about reframing and changing the position of negative forces to neutralize thier impact and empower you.
  • Fitting your challenges into an Idea Box forces you to find new meanings and connections.
  • I like the Idea Grid’s ability to compress information. I find compressed information is easier to quickly see new patterns and possbilities.
  • I had a hard time following how to do the Lotus Blossum, but once I figured it out, I like how it helps you track the whole systems of interacting elements.
  • I like the lightweight and question-driven appraoch to Pheonix.


  • Tug-of-War (Force field analysis) – How to graph a challenge’s positive and negative forces and then maximize the positives and minimize the negatives.
  • Idea Box (Morphological analysis) – How to identify and box the parameters of a challenge to quickly produce thousands of new ideas.
  • Idea Grid (FCB grid) – How to find new ideas and creative strategies using a grid to organize complex masses of information.
  • Lotus Blossom (Diagramming) – How to diagram obstacles and then use them to reach your goal.
  • Phoenix (Questions) – How to use a checklist of problem-solving questions – originated by the CIA – to guide your thinking.
  • The Great Transpacific Airline and Storm Door Company (Matrix) – How to create a keyword index and mix and match the key words in a matrix to produce new ideas.
  • Future Fruit (Future scenarios) – How to project a future scenario in order to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

Additional Resources

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