Specialists in Aerospace Safety, Control and Automation Systems.
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Automation Creativity

Creativity is a element in any design especially automation.The dictionary defines automation as “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.”

The International Society of Automation defines automation as "the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.”

I love this definition as it highlights that automation is a creative process- Creativity is the core of any engineer – that process of having an original idea that has value.

CREATIVITY thinking 

This past weekend during a business incubator I was introduced to an excellence tool that helps fuel innovation and creativity inside organizations through creative thinking and brainstorming.

Walt Disney was talented in discovering creative ideas and converting them into reality. Based on a close associate, he used to say “There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming to the meeting.”

We were introduced to this method of thinking by the story of an engineering team looking to overcome the problem of a dementia patient being able to remember to take their medicine.

The dreamers job is to come up with the most impossible idea – so they said let’s put an elephant in the room, they are large noisy and rather smelly- you would never miss that.

This was translated in to a realist solution which was to create a divice that had a strobe light and alarm that gave off nasty smells until the medication was removed

The Disney Creativity Strategy separates out three vital roles – dreamer, realist, and critic  – involved in the process of generating creating ideas and translating them into reality. The roles are explored separately for maximum clarity and effect.

  • Dreamer:   Let your mind wander freely. Produce a visionary big picture with no boundaries, limitations or restraint.In our groups we actively looked for the wildest craziest idea – that looked impossible on the out set.
  • Realist:  This is about organizing ideas to put your plan into practice. What would need to happen to make it real? How could you do it? Think constructively. Devise an action plan and evaluate it to determine what is realistic.   Ask Yourself "What will I do to make these plans a reality?" Establish time frames and milstones  
  • Critic:Test your plan, look for problem  , difficulties and unintended consequences. Evaluate them. Ask yourself "What could go wrong?" Think of what is missing, what is surplus, what the spins-offs will be. Define the context in which your plan is workable and problematic.

 As a result of using the three main stages above in Disney’s Creative Strategy, the team reached a solid creative idea with an action plan to apply it. The first stage focused on the creative aspect and sharing creative ideas and solutions. The second stage focused on reality and how to turn the idea into an action plan and finally the third stage aims to identify the weakness in the idea and overcome it in the final plan.

Another creative process that I learnt at a stratergy weekend is the Six Thinking Hats

The Thinking Hats exercise is a kind of role-play in which different perspectives are represented by hats of different colours. When a participant is symbolically wearing a specific hat, they must seek to perceive the situation through the lens associated with that colour. This method shows how different aspects of one’s personality can approach a problem differently.

It is tool that assists in the critical analysis of complex situations by simulating diverse points of view in a controlled environment. It helps to achieve more comprehensive perspectives and sounder solutions, by forcing the participants to step outside the limits of their standard thought processes and points of view.

As before we used this in a team where we worked in a team of 7 one person gave an idea and we each gave our opinion based on the hat we wear.

I found both these exercises valuable and also fun a great way to solve problems by thinking differently

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