IAF Methods

Productive Thinking Model

by for . Last edit was almost 2 years ago
120 - 180 26 - 50

Exploring problems and opportunities from a variety of perspectives

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To thoroughly understand problems, generate opportunities and actions.


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  • cards, markers, flip charts


The facilitator guides the participants through six stages. The cycle
can be repeated when it is necessary.

Step 1: "What's Going On?
During the first step, the facilitator guides the participants through
an exploration of the problems or opportunities being addressed. By
exploring the so called "itch" the group will reveal factors,
circumstances and entities that have an influence in the situation and
can get an idea of what a solution might look like.

The following questions can be addressed:

  • "What's the Itch?" - the answers to this question can generate a
    substantial list of problems and opportunities. Restating similar
    problems in different ways can help in identifying patterns and
    clusters that can reveal the key problem that needs to be addressed.
  • "What's the Impact?" - in order to dig deeper into the issue and
    place it in a wider context
  • "What's the Information?" - detailed description of various
    aspects of the problem
  • "Who's Involved?" - identifying other stakeholders in the issue
  • "What's the Vision?"- a wishful thinking approach to resolving
    the problem (e.g., "If only my dog didn't run away when I let him

Step 2: "What's Success?"
The second step establishes a vision for a future in which the problem
was solved or the opportunity exploited. Active imagination is used to
explore and describe a possible future. The vision resulted will be
applied through a tool called DRIVE in order to achieve a clear view of
the future.

  • Do - what do you want the solution to do?
  • Restrictions - what must the solution NOT do?
  • Investment - what resources can be invested?
  • Values - what values must you live by?
  • Essential outcomes - what are the essential outcomes?

Step 3: "What's the Question?"

The challenge is then framed into a question. Brainstorming techniques
can be used to generate as many questions as possible. The results are
clustered and combined in order to select the most stimulating question
or questions.

Step 4: "Generate Answers"
In step 4 a list of possible solution to the problem questions is
identified through brainstorming and other idea generating techniques.
At the end of the brainstorming process, one of the solutions (or a
combination of more) is selected for further development

Step 5: "Forge the Solution"

The tool POWER is used to develop the selected solution. POWER stands for:

  • Positives - what's good about the idea?
  • Objections - what's bad about it?
  • What else? - what does it remind you of?
  • Enhancements - how can what's good about it be made better?
  • Remedies - how can the things that are bad about it be corrected?

Step 6: "Align Resources"
In the final step the selected, developed solution is turned into an
action plan that can include among other things:

  • to do lists
  • timelines and milestones
  • lists of people who need to get involved
  • lists of issues that need further work


Source: Tim Hurson

Derived from: Creative Problem Solving (CPS) and NASA's IDEF

Recognizable components: brainstorming, lateral thinking

References: brainstorming, lateral thinking

Alternative names: Thinkx

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  • Eto srazu v memoriz... nice one

    almost 2 years ago