How to stimulate creative thinking

An instructional video on creative thinking: a very handy skill to use when producing alternatives for a case or question is needed. In a humorous, but useful way it guides you through the four preconditions of creative thinking.

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Developing your talent demands flexibility in thinking: create new connections, give creative answers to questions and astonish yourself and your teachers with ideas, alternatives and solutions. Develop your creative thinking skills by practicing. Remember: Creative Thinking is indeed just a skill, you can practice and become an expert in it!

Creative thinking is the counterpart of critical thinking, it produces alternatives you can choose from.

For creative thinking you need 4 preconditions:

1. Postpone your judgement. Don’t judge too soon about ideas, explore and discuss them

2. Creative perception. Come up with all sorts of alternatives and move on from what are the first, most logical and realistic ideas, for a while.

3. Flexible association. Think about anything that is or might be linked to the subject. Think slow, use your time well.

4. Enlarge your world. Stay open minded and get to know things that are around you. Stay curious, always ask: why? Use your imagination and don’t be shy about it.

Use these 4 preconditions and become an expert in creative thinking.

Questions for reflection

1. Challenge: in your next discussion, postpone your judgement until the end of the
discussion and find ways to get to know the subject.


2. Reflect on why it is difficult to postpone your judgement? In what way can you help
yourself in it?


3. The paperclip is the most ‘abused’ piece of office-equipment, start with your class to think of 50 things you can use (the iron of) a paperclip for?

4. Can you find at least 10 interpretations of the 3 circles used in the movie? Can you find other familiar subjects to do this exercise with?

5. What could be another description for Flexible association and Enlarging your view?

6. How can Creative Thinking help you to design your honors program?

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences


Elisabeth Addink – University of Utrecht


Ron Weerheijm – Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences


Droovi Dezilva – University of Utrecht


Droovi Dezilva, Pink Kattenberg, Kiki de Weerd, Marwa Khalil


Byttebier, I., Vullings, R. (2007). Creativity Today. BIS Publishers 9789063691462

Kahneman, D. (2012). Thinking, Fast and Slow. Penguin Books Ltd, 9780141033570

Or consult websites like: 

And of course: consult Youtube on ‘creative thinking techniques’


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