How to be ingenious

Yesterday I met up with Jamie Young, Researcher in design, technology & behaviour at the RSA. I thought the A just stood for ‘arts’ but  its full title is ‘Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce’.

Jamie is working on the environmental part of the Citizen Power Programme in Peterborough UK, which is where I live so I really should sit up and take notice (I have already found and booked on a ‘resilient heritage conference’).

Jamie has just last week had his booklet ‘How to be Ingenious’ which is a great overview of creativity and innovation packed full of interesting examples, quotes, stories and some really insightful comments. It can be downloaded for free from here on the RSA website.

I was particularly intrigued by all the material on bounded approaches, making the most of what you have got, doing more with less, frugality etc. As Jamie says:

This pamphlet suggests specific principles which teams and individuals could use to turn a lack of resource from an affliction into an advantage.

The RSA definition on ingenuity being:

a capability that some people exhibit. It has three elements at its core; an inclination to work with the resources easily to hand, a knack for combining these resources in a surprising way, and in doing so, an ability to solve some practical problem.

I was also interested to see the quote from  a recent RSA seminar on ingenuity that:

TRIZ works very well at the rule-governed end [of the problem-solving spectrum], synectics works very well at the non-rule governed.

I just happen to teach and facilitate both these approaches, TRIZ with Oxford Creativity where I first met Jamie, and synectics which is a key part of our innovation booster training with Argenta Europ. Serendipitously my colleage Alan Drummond from Argenta is currently blogging about these very differences over at the Argenta blog.

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