Concept Fan – Widening the Search for Solutions

Concept Fans help you find new approaches to problem solving, when you have rejected all obvious solutions. Originated by Edward de Bono in his book  Serious Creativity, they develop the principle of  ‘taking one step back’ to get a broader perspective.

To use the model:

To start a Concept Fan, draw a circle in the middle of a large piece of paper. Write the problem you are trying to solve into it. To the right of it radiate lines representing possible solutions to the problem. This is shown in Figure 1:

It may be that the ideas you have are impractical or do not really solve the problem. If this is the case, take a ’step back’ for a broader view of the problem.

Do this by drawing a circle to the left of the first circle, and write the broader definition into this new circle. Link it with an arrow to show that it comes from the first circle:

Use this as a starting point to radiate out other ideas:

If this does not give you enough new ideas, you can take yet another step back (and another, and another…):

Concept Fan Diagram

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