The workshop “Lateral Thinking: Thinking outside the box” promised to impart alternative ways of thinking. The technique should change the conventional way of brainstorming or problem-solving. And it did.
In our roles and jobs a large base of expertise and experience seems to be required to find new ideas. Lateral Thinking, however, considers this perception as an obstacle. The approach just requires an open mind; neither expertise nor experience in the field one works in.
Paul McKie, Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester started the Coaching Saturday, with a piece of paper in A4. The attendants were asked to transform it to a frame. The problem: The frame should be in such a way that one’s body could slip through. Merely impossible – but one participant coped with that difficult task and won a bottle of wine. At the same time this case revealed the need for a new way of thinking: To solve problems without any previous knowledge.
In the following four hours the 13 students learned two different approaches. Paul McKie, not only a Lecturer but also a multiple entrepreneur, presented the techniques. In groups, the approaches were then assessed considering the practical use. And they passed. For example, the groups had the task to find new features for Apple’s iPhone 7. After a short period of time some good ideas were emerging (actually that good that the participants should try to sell it to Apple …). The event has been closed with a short discussion and a film on the influence of schools on creativity.
The attendants agreed: Four voluntary hours at university were worth it. The topic was imparted comprehensibly and rich in variety. Especially some short stories of success contributed to that and each method was considered detailed. Furthermore the participants not only learned about a business-tool but also a tool for every day’s life. The students were happy with Paul McKie who never was too serious. Quite the reverse: The Australian showed that a self-ironic and funny way of teaching encourages students to play an active part in a lecture.
Sebastian Traub (WSP11B) - participant of the Workshop