Edward de Bono developed the ‘Concept Fan’ technique for taking a step back to get a broader perspective and thereby a new view of the subject, what you want to achieve and new ways of solving the problem. This is particularly useful when we are trying to think of new ideas and solutions to problems it is very tempting to stick with the very first ideas. However, the first ideas might not always be the best. As the Concept Fan is a useful technique for widening the search for solutions when you have rejected all obvious approaches.
- To start a Concept Fan, draw a circle on a large piece of paper, just right of center. Write the problem you are trying to solve it. To the right of it radiate lines representing possible solutions to the problem.
- Use this as the starting point to radiate out new ideas.
- If this does not give you the idea you are looking for then repeat the process by redefining the problem more broadly. Write this broader definition in a circle to the left of the first one.
- Draw an arrow from the initial problem definition to the new one to show the linkage between the problems. Then radiate possible solutions from this broader definition.
- Keep on expanding and redefining the problem until you have a useful solution.
(*Source: Edward de Bono, 1992)