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Creative Problem Solving with Van Gundy

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:12

A year ago I was relishing creative problem solving in business using techniques developed largely by Van Gundy. I just got this 1970s edition hardback through the post from the US. A little indulgent, but hopefully of practical use too.

Odd for me not to have it as an eBook. These days I prefer to shift from iBook to Kindle or to PC screen to read, annotate, note, highlight ... even share online to Twitter and Facebook as a I read.

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B822 Techniques Library: Keeping a Dream Diary & Working with Dreams

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:25

The lack of control over where your head goes and what it reveals should understandably go with a note of considerable caution. There often is no such thing as an innocent dream. It sometimes throws me when what is apparent in the dream: its people, actions and events can once analysed tell you something you can't accept or dislike about yourself or others.

Context is everything.

What bothers you as you fall asleep?

What's on your mind?

A film you have just watched could very well fill your head; I'm still enjoying the afterglow of '500 days of summer': troubled because its truth but delighted in the outcome.

It is less the dream diary, but a diary that can help you put your subconscious to work.

Should you write up your troubled day, and should you care not only to bring work home with you but also take it to bed, then indeed, the issue that is strangling your budget, or losing you business friends could be resolved in a dream. Once you have that dream in the conscious arena you can even rework it like a TV producer changing the protagonists and outcomes.

I dreamt I was in a court of sorts (I can see it in my mind's eye but will neither describe it or attempt to draw it unless some detail needs bringing out).

I presume I was a prosecuting solicitor.

Two trials cut together one after the other (have dreams always been film literate?). The second case is a rape; he is 'cock sure' thankfully there is no murder involved. He deserves to receive the severest punishment. The previous case with a different barrister had gone off like a damp squib; perhaps it wasn't as serious a case but I felt the person had got off lightly and I blamed the barrister for not following my instructions suitably closely. In this second trial I have a word perfect summing up which I might expect this new barrister to follow. On the contrary, I find this person launch in more like a hack journalist/columnist than a prosecuting lawyer. I worry that the defendant will get off lightly; however, it soon dawns on me that this person is using my argument but not the script and like a stand-up comic (though with professionalism and the hint of a smile of confidence) they will deliver a knock-out blow: they have taken what I can provide and made it better.

Does this solve my problem?

It doesn't answer something specific. If the photocopier is broken and never gets fixed I don't think I'd turn to my 'dream spirits' for the answer.

Does it even suggest to you that this approach has legs?

Me, I'm the defence solicitor, not the barrister. I may not solve the 'problem' the defendant, though I make my contribution.

Nor have I had to resort to a set of 27 questions to reach this point (see below).

I do not imagine sitting with a bunch of colleagues interpreting their dreams would be appropriate or suitable; they ate too random, and so are we. But I do recommend this approach for personal problem resolution, but be warned, you may try to get your dreams to set out your next career move only to discover that in your heart you hate your job and sector and wish instead to teach English to Japanese school-girls.

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B822 BK 2 C4 Perspectives and Frameworks

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:21

'The way in which a problem (and our attempts to manage it) is perceived and described will inevitably constrain our thinking and action with respect to it.' (Henry et al. 2010:47)

N.B. Preferred personal style, experience, the culture you work in and the type of situation you are facing.

Activity 4.1. Free Association ideas. Gordon (1961)

Fig. 4.1. The Buffalo Creative problem-solving method

Synectics. Vincent Nolan (1989) The Innovator's Handbook.

Open up a problem, don't define it.

N.B. How well you chose to overcome the challenges it raises.

REF: Friend and Hickling.

'Simply using an electronic medium does not remove non-rational factors, nor the need for skilful communication or facilitation'. (2010:57)

  • Precepts
  • Techniques
  • Method
  • Framework

'If a technique is a separate dish, and a method is a menu for a complete meal, then a 'framework' is the broad concept behind a given menu - the difference between creating a menu for a 'fast-food snack' a 'family celebration', or a 'slimmer's lunch', a 'romantic dinner', or whatever'. (2010:59)

Problem solving as:

  • Answering
  • Searching
  • Cultivation
  • Mapping
  • Debate
  • Reperception

Binary Judgements for actions. Nolan (1989)

REFERENCE

Friend, J and Hickling, A (1997) Planning under Pressure (2nd edn)(Oxford: Buterworth-Heinemann.

Gordon, W.J.J. (1961) Synectics. New York, Harper & Row

Isaksen, S.G. and Treffinger, D.J. (1985) Creative Problem Solving: The Basic Course, Buffalo: Bearly LTD.

Nolan, V (1989) The Innovators' Handbook

 

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