Part 2: Intuitive creativity techniques – Three examples

My last blog entry began with a brief introduction into the world of creativity techniques. At this point, I would like to present three different intuitive creativity methods.

Bisociation

In 1964, Austro-Hungarian author Arthur Koestler mentioned the theory of bisociation for the first time in his work “The Act of Creation” The meaning is derived from the term “association”. However, it isn’t the linear mental abstraction or link that is in the foreground but rather the connection of aspects of different domains. More specifically, this means that problems are solved by observing two thought dimensions.

In the first stage, participants must (as often happens) become aware of what problem prevails such as a specific issue in product development. Subsequently, a second, completely independent domain, for instance from nature, is determined. From this basis, an association phase begins with the help of stimulus images. This is intended to evoke thoughts, ideas, or feelings in participants. In doing so, it is important to write down the results of the associations. After this, the results are reviewed for analogies that may manifest themselves in the form of joint principles and realizations between the original problem and the association phase. In the end, the analogies must be evaluated and the original domain adapted.

The creativity technique of bisociation is especially useful for problems in the advertising and marketing areas. However, using them also makes sense for technical problems. Strangely enough, humorists also pays attention to bisociation, as a certain comedy may develop through the analogy of two different and independent areas. However, you should schedule a lot of time for the application of the method in both cases.

For further information about the bisociation methodology, visit: http://www.ideenfindung.de/start_english_version.html

Headstand technique

The headstand technique promises a lot of good solutions, because it makes use of a human characteristic: the contradiction of statements! For our intellect, it is easier to find negative aspects for something than to find positive ones. This is where the creativity technique sets in.

You formulate a problem as a question and then make it the opposite. For instance, an automotive manufacturer will ask, “Why are the sales figures of vans decreasing on the home market?” Now turn the question around and ask, “How can I decrease the sales figures of vans on the home market?” You will realize that you will come up with a lot more answers. Possible answers may be (1) higher gasoline consumption, (2) less space, (3) inferior comfort… Then you just turn the answers around: (1) lower gasoline consumption, (2) more space, (3) high-class comfort… and the answers fit to the initial question perfectly.

If you want to find out more about the headstand technique, you can read more here:  http://www.ideenfindung.de/start_english_version.html

6-3-5-method

In the 6-3-5 method, the name says it all. 6 participants must note down 3 ideas, each on a sheet of paper with 3 columns and 6 rows, and pass it on 5 times.

To begin with, each of the six participants jots down three ideas for a problem on a sheet of paper. Then the sheet of paper is passed around to the next person who writes down three new ideas in addition to those of the previous writer and, thus, further develops these ideas. This process is repeated five times so that each of the six participants has noted down three initial ideas and fifteen ideas for development by the end. Calculating this procedure to 30 minutes, you get a maximum of 108 ideas.

This method is similar to the brainwriting technique. However, the quality of the ideas is usually better due to the continuous development. The 6-3-5 method is simple and uncomplicated. It also doesn’t require a mediator.

A detailed description (incl. worksheet) of the 6-5-3 method can be found here:  http://www.ideenfindung.de/6-3-5-Methode-Kreativit%C3%A4tstechnik-Brainstorming-Ideenfindung.html

Spark, fire, coal – factors for success with the EXIST Business Start-Up Grant

Many of the founder teams of students, researchers, and / or graduates of the KIT wonder whether their ideas, their startup projects, or their research projects are suitable for an application for the EXIST Business Start-Up Grant. Directly related to this is the question of what to bring to a successful application. Below, we highlight the three main evaluation criteria – which we will discuss in detail in the founder consultation with the teams. Continue reading

A brief introduction to creativity techniques

Not only images, movies, or poems can be creative, but also people, behaviors, and businesses. Just what exactly is creative and what is not? Unlike in art, the degree of creativity in companies is judged not by society but creativity is reflected in unconventional solutions to complex problems or issues. Whenever known methods do not lead to success, rethinking is needed. To get a bit closer to this goal, you can make use of different creativity techniques in the business world. In the first step, therefore, it is advisable to get an overview of the existing methods. Creativity methods can be divided into two categories -the intuitive and discursive methods. Continue reading

Particularities of life science startups

For some years now, increasingly more startups in the life sciences sector emerge at the KIT, such as Amcure, Incella, Acquifer, Corvolution, or recently 300Microns. In this area there are highly exciting projects that, through their immediate international focus, have larger growth opportunities than a classic startup but are much more complex and thus also more labor intensive in the design phase.

While a technical or IT-based startup is mainly oriented on the market, a successful life sciences startup must also always act in the scientific field. Only those which are present at conferences and verifiably document results that were generated with the startup technology in scientific publications are perceived in the academic market, which is often the entry market.

The scientific founders therefore often remain in the academic field rather than transferring into the management of the startup company completely, which is otherwise usual. As co-founders, they assist in the advisory panel, the so-called Advisory Board, with product development, shape the corporate strategy, and support the acquisition of customers through their academic network.

The financing of life science startups is also a particular challenge. When laboratory tests for product development or manufacturing are required, the young company is going to incur high costs. Here, the KIT can help by providing for the initial phase of the founding with fully equipped laboratory and office spaces in the KIT’s own high-tech incubator for moderate rental fees.

Last but not least, life science founders need a lot of stamina. Economic success arises much later for them due to the long phases of product development and approval, particularly in the clinical field. In comparison, non-technology-based startups can offer a different product or service on the market after a short startup phase.

Are you currently working on a technology from which a business idea can be developed? Are you toying with the idea of founding a company? Do you need advice on founding? Then use the offers of the KIT Founders Forge and make an appointment with the consultant team of the KIT Innovation Management – we support you in your startup projects.

EXIST – Higher funding rates for transfer of research

The “EXIST Transfer of Research” is, next to the “EXIST Business Start-Up Grant“, the program “Young Innovators” of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and the “Helmholtz Enterprise” program of the Helmholtz Association, one of the major instruments to promote high tech spin-offs from the KIT. Therefore, we are particularly pleased to inform all interested of the new, improved conditions for EXIST Transfer of Research in force since December 9th, 2014.

The most important changes in the new funding guidelines, in particular the changes in relation to the nature, extent and level of funding, are summarized below.

Funding phase I

The funding period is generally up to 18 months. New: For highly innovative and demonstrably particularly time-consuming development projects with the express consent of the expert jury, a funding period of up to 36 months may be granted. For unplanned delays in development of the funding period, this may be extended by up to six months while maintaining the funding volume.

Eligible are:

  • Personnel expenses / costs for a founding team with a maximum of four members – consisting of the research team with three research assistants (or one of them a technician / laboratory assistant) and a person with business administration skills
  • Expenses / costs for student assistants and administrative expenditures / costs are basically eligible up to € 250,000 (previously € 70,000).

Funding phase II

Overall, in funding phase II a non-refundable startup grant of up to € 180,000 (previously € 150,000) is made available to the company. The startup company needs to finance the funding phase II with own funds in the form of equity of the founders and possibly equity in the ratio of 1:3 to the amount of the startup grant. The funding phase II generally does not to exceed a period of 18 months.

You can read detailed information on support by the EXIST business startup grant in the guidelines. For further questions the consultant team of KIT Innovation Management is at your disposal.

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