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.


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:

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:


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:

Strong performance of KIT teams at regional cup Karlsruhe, Elevator Pitch BW

The initiative for start-ups and business succession (ifex) of the Ministry of Finance and Economics Baden-Württemberg initiated the novel state-wide event format Elevator Pitch BW in 2013. Until reaching the state final, this annual series of competitions travels through several cities in Baden-Württemberg looking for the best founders in the state.

At the local pitch events, the so called regional cups, the aspiring founders can submit their business ideas and gauge themselves. Through a public online voting the ten most convincing ideas are determined – and they may make their pitch in front of a competent jury at the regional cup.  The respective winners of the local pitch competitions win not only the prize money but also a place in the state final, where they can present their idea in front of a large audience again. There they have another chance to win prize money for the three best ideas. Even if it does not work out with a rank at the regional cup or the state final, all teams benefit from the media presence and the feedback within the Elevator Pitch BW.

For the regional cup Karlsruhe 2014, a total of 19 ideas were presented for the online voting. With 174 to 324 votes, ten very different ideas reached the regional cup Karlsruhe. This took place on November 18th, 2014 as part of the day of the founders and young entrepreneurs of the chamber of industry and commerce Karlsruhe. The following teams presented their ideas, in the three minute pitches, to the jury and the interested audience:

  2. – Finanzverwaltung
  3. Keypoint
  4. LehrWerk
  5. one&now
  7. smartapply
  8. soop – the crowd solution platform
  9. vasQlab
  10. wikiMerkur

All teams confidently presented their ideas and answered the critical questions of the jury, consisting of representatives from ifex, the Karlsruhe founders’ alliance, and startup firms from Karlsruhe. The pitches from Karlsruhe and the other locations will shortly be published as videos by Elevator Pitch BW. At the regional cup Karlsruhe, three KIT teams finally managed to prevail with their business ideas and convincing pitches.

  1. Place: vasQlab, with miniaturized printed human organs, as “Body-on-a-chip”- system, via  a 3D printing process
  2. Place: Key point, with flexible software for the display and ordering of figures to support project monitoring
  3. Place and the audience’s favorite: Lehrwerk, with construction kits that can be touched, as teaching materials for engineers and technicians

We are happy about this success and congratulate the three prize winners. We are curious how far vasQlab and Lehrwerk (with a wild card) will come in the state final in the summer of 2015!

Six teams start at the KIT Accelerator upCAT#3


This week, the third round of the KIT’s own accelerator program upCAT (Startup Catalyst) started with a total of six teams. The participating teams start into the accelerator with the most diverse ideas: the topics range from energy, through education, to bio technology and outdoor products. We are happy that such a wide variety of products has reached the third program cycle. The start of upCat was on November 17th, 2014 with the kick-off week. Apart from the introduction into the program, the teams, organizers, and mentors got to know each other.

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