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Synectics is, in our experience, one of the most useful systems for creative problem solving. It is based on a simple concept for problem solving and creative thinking - you need to generate ideas, and you need to evaluate ideas. Whilst this may be stating the obvious the methods used to perform these two tasks are extremely powerful.
Keys to a successful outcome are;
- Pre-planning ( check that the problem owner has the desire and authority to solve the problem, and also that they are solving the right problem)
- Use a facilitator to control the process, and ensure that the correct language is used ( 'I wish' to enable more diverse thinking).
- separate out the divergent and convergent phases of problem solving ( don't try and assess ideas during during the 'brainstorming / idea generation phase )
Have a look at the synectics pages for more information.