Part 6 (page 1 of 3)
18 May 1997
A Partial Taxonomy of All Possible Methods for Solving Problems
Our whole method and system and theory
first began to evolve soon after I first came into the literature on
creativity, in 1967 while I was still serving full-time as a college
teacher. My one real contribution was his asking the proposition: if
you have a good method for solving problems, one of that method's
best uses is on the problem of how to create better methods for
solving problems. One of their best uses is on the problem of how to
create even better such methods.....
We in Project Renaissance have developed
at least 40 "Toolbuilder" procedures by means of which to discover
yet other and better procedures. You can make last week's column,
"Over-the-Wall" into a "Toolbuilder" with this simple method. Have
on display, in the "Answer-Space" on the far side of that garden
wall, a highly advanced future civilization where everyone is a
solution-finder par excellence. Far beyond anything seen here on our
own Earth. Just beyond this point of the wall, let there be whatever
it is that's made that civilization a population of ingenious
problem-solvers. Let yourself be surprised by what you see
When hundreds of methods now exist in the
art and science of creativity and effective problem-solving, we may
need a map to find our way. Creating a "taxonomy" can provide us
some sense of order and relationship among such methods.
Advantages of a
Such advantages are essentially the same
as those of the periodic table of the elements in chemistry.
Grouping specific elements into more general categories is
conceptually easier. It brings into view regularities which in turn
suggest potentially useful models and theories.
Please note also the general principle
that no categorical system is "right" or "wrong" (except for needing
to be reasonably consistent), so much as it is more or less USEFUL
for the purposes to which you put it.
This present draft outline is an initial
cut only. In no way is it to be regarded as an authoritative
taxonomy. It badly needs extensive criticizing, revision, and
testing. We hope this present draft stimulates creation of
alternative models, comparison of which will lead toward an
authoritative (or at least generally useful) taxonomy.
All of the great minds of the past had
hit into only one or a very few such methods as basis for their
successes. YOU now have all these available to you! Many of the
methods listed are self-evident from their descriptions, and so
their inclusion here provides you with a wider working toolkit of
Each category or sub-category below
contains one or several specific techniques. Some of the more
successful techniques involve more than one category.
Getting At Your Own Einstein
Some Ways to Get At Your Own Real
Albert says: to practice some form of my Deep
Thought Method: Let your imagery play, examine it as closely as
possible to see what you can learn from it. We say, practice
Socratic forms of Einstein's Deep Thought Method. While observing
these free images, describe them in detail to a listener; be
surprised at what comes up for you.
Here are a few of the many additional ways to bring
up your own very real genius to enrich your life:
1) Find ways to "get on a roll," stay on a roll, get
back to being on that roll, until more falls into it.
2) Find ways to verbally describe "the
indescribable:" where you have to "reach" to convey an effect, is
your growth zone.
3) Pick up on and describe subtleties and nuance.
These arise in parts of your brain usually offline from where you
are verbally focussed, conscious. Describing subtler impressions
reinforces more and more onto line with your immediate consciousness
those subtler regions of your brain, together with their
4) Improve the physical health and condition of your
a) Improve circulation to your brain;
nutrition to your brain;
c) Improve your brain's