The below activity, Combo Chatter, is from 101 Activities that Teach Creativity and Problem Solving by Arthur VanGundy. This activity is useful for a Destination Imagination® team, because it helps team members understand how combining ideas can spark creative ideas or approaches to the Destination Imagination challenges.
The typical new-product process involves generating ideas, selecting the best ones, developing them into workable products, and then assigning them names. Combo Chatter reverses the process somewhat: instead of generating ideas and then names for the ideas, it generates names and then the ideas. For instance, if a company wants to improve the toaster they market, they might think of a toaster made of see-through plastic and name it “BreadView.” Combo Chatter might produce the same see-through product but do it using the works bread and view in juxtaposition. Although this examples applies to new product improvements, that doesn’t mean it is appropriate only for new product development. It can work very well for almost any challenge.
- To help participants generate as many creative ideas as possible.
- To help participants learn how to use the activities to generate new and creative ideas.
Participants: Small groups of four to seven people each.
Materials, Supplies, and Equipment
- For each group: markers, two flip charts, and masking tape for posting flip-chart sheets
- For each participant: one sheet each of three different colors of sticking dots (1/2” diameter) and one pad of 4 x 6 post-it notes
Time: 30 minutes
Handouts: Combo Chatter Handout
- Distribute the handout, review them with the participants, and answer any questions they may have.
- Instruct the participants to generate two lists of five or six words, as a group, related to their problem and write them on a flip chart.
- Have each group member take turns selecting one word from each list and have the group use the combination to stimulate ideas.
- Direct them to write down any ideas on Post-if® Notes and place them on flip chart paper for evaluation.
- If time is available, have individual group members generate their own lists of words for the group to use as idea triggers.
This can be useful techniques for at leat two reasons 1) it has the potential to create many different perspectives and 2) it combines elements of both related and unrelated stimuli. That is, it uses attributes related directly to the problem and combines these attributes to create a more or less unrelated stimulus. Thus, it helps create perspective changes not possible with activities that rely on a single stimulus.
Also consider having participants debrief using the following questions:
- What was most helpful about this exercise?
- What was most challenging?
- What can we apply in our work?
- What did you lean?
- Which ideas were the most interesting and why?