Compare the graphs below between the crew of the Titanic and my students. The crew's graph is narrow, a typical vertical graph that shows little creativity. My students' graph, with its many ideas, is wide in the horizontal dimension.
Problem: Save the People on the Titanic
Putting people in lifeboats was the only serious solution that Titanic's crew came up with to save the people on the sinking ship. Their idea saved just 705 of the 2,228 passengers (only 32% of the passengers).
On a problem solving graph below that divides solutions into their basic components, you will see that the crew only used one resource (i.e., lifeboats) and one interaction (i.e., put people in those lifeboats) to try to achieve their goal.
It is quite a vertical graph as the human mind hastens to travel in the vertical direction to connect the goal with the resources as quickly as possible--but often not very effectively.
What was important about lifeboats? They floated and were wooden.
These details about lifeboats triggered many other details about floating things.
My student group noticed that the iceberg is a floating thing that could possibly been used to keep people out of the water. They noticed wooden tables, wooden planks, steamer trunks--even car tires and inner tubes from the estimated 40 cars in storage. Each of these floating things could have been used in isolation or in combination with other floating things to keep people out of the water.
The Horizontal is the creative direction.
We have techniques to help your team move horizontally. These techniques reveal more entries of each possible component: more ways to rephrase your goal, more resources, more features, and more interactions.
A horizontal graph is a creative graph!
Contact Dr. Tony McCaffrey (email@example.com) to start your team on the proper graphing techniques for innovation.