“Breakthrough Creativity occurs at the intersection of two previously unconnected trains of thought.”

This quote, from a Harvard Professor of Innovation, led me to envision the graphic to the right. The blue train of thought connects with the red, borrows concepts in green, and moves along in a new breakthrough direction. The Catalytic Thinking process reaches outside the box to link trains of thought to generate breakthrough ideas. To show how Catalytic Thinking works let’s look at a breakthrough idea we all know. Serendipity and the story of Velcro®>>

catalytic thinking

Step 1. Specific Train of Thought >> Describe your train of thought in as much detail as possible.

Step 2. Re-Description >> Do with words what “panning out’ does to a camera. Describe from a wider view.

Step 3. General Train of Thought >> Create a broad description that encompasses much more than only your specifics.

Step 4. Contribute Analogous Trains of Thought >> Intersect to analogous trains of thought free from judgment or problem solving.

Step 5. Glean Concepts >> Identify all concepts that exist within your analogous train of thought.

Step 6. Seek Relevance >> Now explore the relevance of these concepts back to your specific train of thought.