Synergy Map

Understanding goals and creating synergies.  more

Visual ABC

Use the six dimensions of visualization effectively.  more

Paths to Success

On-demand Creativity Support beyond Brainstorming

There is a wide consensus in industry and academia that creativity is a key requisite to master today’s societal and business challenges. A recent CEO survey by IBM showed that creativity is the number one requirement of today’s managers for the next years to come (in the view of the CEOs surveyed). To be creative under time pressure, however, is not an easy task. Ideas are often the result of per chance insights or come about through the long incubation and development of dispersed findings and insights. Yet in business contexts, idea generation must work ad-hoc, on-demand and often in group contexts, as diverse and distributed knowledge is needed to solve problems creatively.

To facilitate such instant creative idea sessions, various creativity techniques have been developed over the last decades. These techniques are supposed to help professionals be more creative and generate novel and feasible ideas, either individually or in teams. Still, numerous scientific evaluations show that the most widely used method in business today, brainstorming, is not an effective tool for high-quality idea generation in groups. Participants may think too far out of the box so that their ideas cannot really be put to use, as they are not sufficiently related to the problem at hand. In addition, group brainstorming suffers from the fact that participants prematurely influence one another in the sense that they ‘contaminate’ each other’s thinking by providing thinking vectors that lead in one direction only. Another widely acknowledged problem with group brainstorming is ‘production blocking’ or the fact that one cannot develop ideas while listening to others presenting theirs.


Innovative ways to overcome obstacles and reach the desired goal.

So what can managers, researchers, or engineers do to move beyond brainstorming when having to develop ideas (individually or in groups) under time pressure? They can rely on more than sixty years of solid research into creativity enablers and use these mechanisms in their daily practices. They can also make use of the power of (software-supported and paper-based) information visualization – a field that has thus far not embraced creativity as a an application scope. The Path to Success method presents thus a practical method that is based upon on such mechanisms and combines them with the naturalness, immediacy and stimulation of drawing.

The basic premise of this creativity method is that a visual, sketch-based approach to group creativity that integrates existing insights into creativity can yield higher value than current approaches. The method combines proven creativity mechanisms with the seamlessness, revisability and spontaneity of hand-drawn sketching. It also combines individual and collective idea generation moments.

Metaphor of Journey

The visual framework is based on the metaphor of solving a problem as being the finding of multiple pathways to the final goal from the current position. Different pathways are envisioned and act as systematic, varied stimuli for individual and joint idea generation.



There is a need to find new, creative ways to overcome obstacles and reach a goal.
To create new options, innovative ideas and alternative plans.
Draw the status-quo and the desired goal as two points. Place large obstacle blocks between them. Draw multiple pathways to the goal. Discuss new options to achieve your objective.
  • Place the status-quo at the lower left.
  • Place the goal at the upper right.
  • Define obstacles in between and label them.
  • Devise or discuss paths from the status quo to the goal.
  • Consider indirect ways and proxy goals
Innovative ways to overcome obstacles and reach the desired goal.
Consultants, strategists, managers, facilitators, coaches