the hall of fame technique from the book thinkertoys


I discovered the Hall of Fame Technique in a book on creativity titled Thinkertoys. If you have never seen that book, you owe it to yourself to get it. It is by far and away the best book on creativity I have ever read. There is not a close second and I have read a lot of books on creativity.

In ThinkerToys you will find many techniques that will work even if you are a novice to creativity. There are techniques for people who think more right brain, as well as techniques for other people who prefer using the left side of the brain. If you are a person who is analytical and logical, you are more left brain; if you are a person who is more artistic, you are more right brain.

Either way, this is a book for you. Consider ThinkerToys a powder keg for boosting creativity.


The Thinkertoys Blueprint For The Hall Of Fame Technique

Few things will motivate you more than coming up with a creative solution to a problem you've had a hard time solving. Think excitement. Like the excitement you feel when, a basketball game is won in the last second by a 30 foot shot. The shot drops and your team wins. It's that kind of excitement.

Like building a house, a blueprint helps understand the structure of what you are working with. In Thinkertoys, you are given blueprints for every technique in the book. Just follow the technique and become more creative.

Here is the blueprint for The Hall Of Fame Technique:

  • Create your personal Hall of Fame. Select those people, living or dead, real or fictional, who appeal to you for one reason or another. Following are some of the members of my personal Hall of Fame: Ben Franklin, Bill Moyers, Mark Twain, Clarence Darrow, Rupert Murdock, George Patton, John Kennedy, Dorothy Parker, Winston Churchill...There were many others the author included.
  • When you have a challenge, consult your Hall of Fame. Select an adviser and choose a favorite quotation.
  • Ponder the quotation. Write down your thoughts, regardless of appropriateness to the challenge. If you think it, write it, and try to use these thoughts to generate more relevant thoughts. The basic rules are: 1) Strive for quantity. 2) Defer judgement 3) Freewheel. 4) Seek to combine and improve your thoughts.
  • Choose the thought or combination of thoughts that hold the most promise. Then restate the challenge.
  • Allow yourself five to ten minutes to come up with new ideas. If you produce nothing significant, select another quote or go to another adviser. Keep consulting your Hall of Fame until a quote or passage provokes a train of usable ideas.


Side Note:

Not only are there many techniques in the book "ThinkerToys," there are also many real life examples showing how the techniques have been used to solve problems.

There are linear techniques for people who are left brain and there are intuition techniques for people who are right brain. Of course, it is best to use a combination of both when solving difficult problems.

You owe it to yourself to get the book Thinkertoys.

End Side Note.

Here are some generic examples of using the technique:

  • Let's say I am a salesman who sales are not what they use to be and he needs to find a way to increase sales. So my challenge becomes, "In what ways can I increase sales." I choose a quotation from Jim Rohn. He says, "Success is neither magical or mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals." I restate the challenge to "In what ways can I do a better job applying the fundamentals of selling?" That causes me to break down what I do. So...In what ways can I do a better job of prospecting? In what ways can I do a better job of contacting prospects? In what ways can I do a better job of keeping in touch with my customers and/or prospects? Etc." There is a second  word he could use, consistency. Now he could change the challenge to, "In what ways can I improve my consistency in term of number of calls I make?" Or "In what ways can I become more consistent with my record keeping which would help me analyze my performance?"
  • Now let's say I am the same salesmen and picks a second quote from Jim Rohn. This one is: "You don't get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour." So the salesman restates his challenge to, "In what ways can I bring more value to my customers and prospects?" That could mean in terms of products, price, service, etc. You can see how much more depth is being analyzed than it might have been without the technique. But let's not stop there.
  • Now, let's use a quotation by someone else. Same salesman, but the person he chooses this time is John Wooden, the legendary coach of UCLA. Wooden coached the Bruins to 10 championships in college basketball. The quotation the salesman chooses is, "It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." We restate the challenge to, "In what ways am I leaving out the little details that can make a big difference?" or "In what ways can I add some small details that would make a difference to my customers and prospects?" It could be the salesman decides to call all his customers a little more often. Not a huge thing in and of itself, but over time his relationships will get better and perhaps he starts to get more referrals.
  • Let's do one more quote. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”  -  Theodore Roosevelt. The salesman changes the challenge to, "In what ways can I enhance my belief in myself?" Or perhaps, "In what ways can I enhance my belief in the company or perhaps the products?" He could spend a little time with the people who are experts in the products (perhaps, created them). Perhaps the company has gotten an award and the salesman has not mentioned it enough to his prospects and customers, enhancing their belief in the company.

 So look at what has happened for the salesman because he used this technique to help him grow his sales. He would:

  • Check himself against the fundamentals of selling. 
  • Check his consistency of doing the fundamentals.
  • Check out the value of his products to see if there was a problem there.
  • Checks to see if there are little details he could implement which would make a big difference.
  • Checks out ways to enhance his belief in himself, the products, and the company.

Once the salesman has gone through the above effort, he finds what needs to change, makes the changes, and well, you can imagine how motivated he becomes. And, of course, there are other quotations on this website for him to consider when using this wonderful technique drawn from ThinkerToys.

Think about it this way, this technique will help you make better decisions by giving you more options. And more options mean a better chance of getting things right. I like to think of creative options as little shots of adrenaline helping you create a better future.

Finally, there are many quotes by successful people on this site. Why not use them with this technique? And, to make it easy, here is a link to the Quotation Index. Be aware that with each quote, I include one or more affirmations and using affirmations can also make a difference in your quest for the good life.

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