It is important to start with a clear definition of what we mean by creativity, as there are two completely different types:

The first is technical creativity, where people create new theories, technologies or ideas. This is the type of creativity we discuss here.

The second is artistic creativity, which is more born of skill, technique and self-expression. Artistic creativity is beyond the scope of these articles.

Many of the techniques in this chapter have been used by great thinkers to drive their creativity. Albert Einstein, for example, used his own informal variant of Provocation to trigger ideas that led to the Theory of Relativity. But anyone can learn to be technically creative, and use these tools. They are designed to help you devise creative and imaginative solutions to problems, and help you to spot opportunities that you might otherwise miss.

There are two main strands to technical creativity: programmed thinking and lateral thinking. Programmed thinking relies on logical or structured ways of creating a new product or service. Examples of this approach are Morphological Analysis and the Reframing Matrix.

The other main strand uses ‘Lateral Thinking’. Examples of this are Brainstorming, Random Input and Provocation. Lateral Thinking has been developed and popularized by Edward de Bono, whose books you can find in the appropriate articles.