I developed the approach because all too often I found myself having dull conversations with bright people. The spirit of play was missing – partly because many of us have sort of forgotten how to play. But the capacity is certainly there, and we have adult abilities that far exceed what we could do when we were children.
I have played all the games myself, of course. One that I have found especially valuable is Rich Associations. Rich Associations are mental jumps that spontaneously take our thinking ‘out-of-the-box’. Having played with Rich Associations for years, I discovered to my delight that my sense of humor is sharper and faster. I come up with offbeat ways of looking at things that make my partner laugh.
Once I ran a games evening for parents and students of a ‘free’ school in Princeton New Jersey. A mother and nine-year-old son were house painters. She was the boss, and it was obvious that he was very sloppy. She reprimanded him a couple of times, and finally said: “If you mess up one more time I’m going to have to fire you!”
She looked at him. He looked at her. They understood each other. Whereupon he dipped his hair in his imaginary bucket of paint and begins to paint the wall with it. It brought the house down!
Teachers can use the adaptation of Synectics® to help their students cross-connect ideas (helps memory, mentally stimulating) and gain deeper insight into concepts from science, literature and mathematics … and of course develop their creative thinking skills in the process.
One of the games is Visiting Expert. You are interviewed on how you accomplish some improbable thing!
While you do not need to know the theory back of these games, there is one. Each game and exercise has one or more creative thinking skills built into it. By playing the games you develop the skills. They become part of your neurological repertoire. Once you have internalized the skills you use them spontaneously thereafter. It’s kind of fun!