A variation of mind-mapping to discover alternative approaches to a solution
The Concept Fan is a way of discovering alternative approaches to a problem when you have discarded all obvious solutions. It develops the principle of 'taking a step back' to get a broader viewpoint.
- pen and paper
Initially, the Concept Fan requires you to draw a circle in the middle of a large piece of paper. Write the problem you are trying to solve in the circle. To the right of it radiate lines representing possible solutions to the problem. It is possible that the ideas you have come up with are impractical or do not really solve the problem. If this is the case, take a 'step back' for a broader analysis of the problem. Drawing a circle to the left of the first circle does this, writing the broader definition into this new circle and linking it with an arrow to show that it comes from the first circle. Use this as a starting point to radiate out other ideas, if this does not give you an adequate amount of new ideas, you can take yet another step back (and another, and another?).
Source: Edward de Bono
Derived from: Edward de Bono's book Serious Creativity