Preparing for creative thinking.

The design and development of a project requires a lot of creative thinking at a practical level, especially if it is being designed from scratch. Pure imagination may be required if the concepts of the project have no parallel in the real world.

This article looks at how imagination can be used to help with working out what a project is do. Mainly in the forms or tips and suggestions, it does not explain the design process to any detail. There are plenty of articles and guides describing this process, this article supplement them

The supporting topics of Imagination basics and Chaos may help with the challenge of designing and managing the thinking.  

The starting point

Before the imagination can be let loose into a project it needs to understand the real world aspects that influence the thinking. Three key points for consideration are:

  • Objective
  • Starting point
  • Resources

To help explain these notes an example for designing a bridge across a gap will be used for demonstration

Objectives to be considered

  • What is the point of the project?
  • Is the final purpose fully understood?
  • Has everything be thought about?

Caution: Further details may be provided to these questions, but that does not always mean that everything is covered.

Bridge building: In its simplest form,

  • The point of the project is: ‘we want to build a bridge’.
  • The final purpose is: ‘to reach the other side’
  • Things to be thought about can include: the type of material to be used and the two places the bridge must link.

Starting point

  • Where is the project at this moment in time?
  • Is it being designed from scratch, or does it already have some type of existence in the world?
  • If the design is starting from scratch, then how much requires totally original thinking and how much can be based on existing ideas?

Bridge building questions:

  • Have the foundations been installed on either side, or must that be included?
  • Has the medium to be used been defined?
  • How wide is the gap?
  • Is there another bridge of a similar design somewhere else to reference?


  • What resources do we need?
  • Have they been identified or are some still unknown?
  • Do they already exist, if so where? 

Bridge building:

  • Do we have all of the tools?
  • The materiel for making the bridge from (Metal, wood, rope)?
  • The people to build the bridge?

Introducing the imagination

Once the general aspects of the project have been identified, then comes the task of spotting the gaps. It is these gaps where the imagination comes into play.

Preparing to use the imagination
Finding a quiet place is essential and using pen and paper is a very good medium for doing the imaginative thinking with. Read Thinking with pen and paper to discover how to prepare for the task and tips on using this method.

Assessing the situation
The project details will need to be accessed. Each aspect of the project is like a stepping stone to the success and it is the gaps between them that must be filled with imagination, effectively building ‘mental bridges’ between them.

Questions for reflection:

  • Is there information or items still missing? 
  • Are there any gaps in the details that do exist?

Using Intuition
Intuition and imagination go hand in hand. Intuition can often guide the imagination to a better result. 

  • If your intuition is telling you that an idea doesn’t feel right, then often there is a problem. If it is not easy to understand what the problem might be, then make some notes around the area to see if that will help clarify it. 
  • If your imagination is drying up, relax a little and open up your intuition. In this instance the act of not trying too hard to think on the idea can sometimes bring other possibilities to the mind. some of which may be ridiculous, but there may be one that drifts in that could be just what you need.

Completing the preparation

How long it takes to complete this stage depends upon the size and depth of the project itself. If there is uncertainly in those aspects as well, then a few reiterations of this preparation stage may be required, effectively going round in circles through the key points and slowly expanding on them.

General tips

Don’t be afraid of leaving large gaps in the thinking
In these instances focus on what is known first and then go round the loop to see what can be added another time later.

If your ideas do not appear to link up, then leave the spaces between them for now.
Return to them once the surrounding ideas are better developed. You may then see what should go between  

 Jenny Maryl ~  Inspiring the Imagination ~ Contact Me


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: