Creativit through ABC-listsABC-lists are used as a creativity and thinking tool,developed by Mrs. Birkenbihl years ago. It...
You only need to comply with 3simple rules:   1. Run over the alphabet – up and down!You do not have to start at the top a...
The ABC-technique for creative workThis ABC-technique helps you to be ever more creative. By filling in the blanks of anAB...
Consultation of ABC-listsTo consult ABC-lists mean to “make sense of it”. You can consult one list you havecreated, more l...
The step-by-step approachStep 1: Identify the problem at hand. It becomes most obvious when you write itdown.Step 2: Consu...
Statistically, one consults 2.5 ABC-lists. This is valuable information when starting offusing ABC-lists, since you will n...
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Creativity through ABC-lists

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ABC-lists are used as a creativity and thinking tool, developed by Mr. Birkenbihl years ago. It can help you to solve problems, come up with new ideas or simply summarize gained knowledge.

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Creativity through ABC-lists

  1. 1. Creativit through ABC-listsABC-lists are used as a creativity and thinking tool,developed by Mrs. Birkenbihl years ago. It can help you tosolve problems, come up with new ideas or simplysummarize gained knowledge.Vera F. Birkenbihl developed ABC-lists. This creativity and thinking tool can be appliedto all areas of life. Decades ago, Elizabeth Loftus found out that people rememberinformation by listing them according to their first letter. This is the reason, why it iseasier for us to recall information by using ABC-lists.To create an ABC-list, you should start off writing down the topic, called the problem.You can do that by hand on a sheet of paper or electronically. Then you need to writedown the alphabet vertically. There should be enough space to the right of theletters. Now you can start creating your list. Take about 2 – 3 minutes and write downeverything that comes to your mind. Vilango GmbH The Birkenbihl Approach
  2. 2. You only need to comply with 3simple rules: 1. Run over the alphabet – up and down!You do not have to start at the top and go down all the way. In fact, this is counter-productive. Wherever some association pops up, write it down and move on. Bymoving up and down all the time, more associations, ideas, formulations etc. willcome up. Thereby, unconscious knowledge is used. This is knowledge that you arenot aware of! Repeat the process of moving up and down several times. It isrecommended to set a timer – 3 minutes maximum! 2. Gaps and multiple entries are allowedNo more pressure! When using ABC-lists you do not have to fill all blanks. If morethan one association pops up – great! Write down as many as you want. If there aremany gaps at the end of session one, you might fill them in the next sessions. 3. Literal arabesques, a sophisticated techniqueThis is a technique for people who are already familiar with ABC-lists. It ensures moreproductivity. For more information, please contact us or participate in one of our freeeSeminars. Vilango GmbH The Birkenbihl Approach
  3. 3. The ABC-technique for creative workThis ABC-technique helps you to be ever more creative. By filling in the blanks of anABC-list, you collect associations, which are “old connections” of our network ofknowledge. If you do not now anything about a topic, you have a gap in the network.If you know a little bit about a topic, there might be a few “gnats”. If you know a lotabout a topic, there are “clouds of gnats”. Associations are therefore generated bythe connection of these gnats. This implies that we can only associate things wealready know.Real creativity is described by the connection of two or more knowledge domains(seemingly unconnected) that results in a new development. Vera F. Birkenbihl alsodescribed it as “bi-sociative” creativity. Vilango GmbH The Birkenbihl Approach
  4. 4. Consultation of ABC-listsTo consult ABC-lists mean to “make sense of it”. You can consult one list you havecreated, more lists you have created, or lists somebody else has created. First, youshould summarize double entries. You could even allocate weighting for all entries.Different associations, which actually state something similar, can be categorized.Thereby, you create a network of knowledge, which can help you and other personsto make decisions. Your lists can be the basis for new ideas that finally ease your life.Make sense of ABC-lists!In the previously published post I described the ABC-technique in details. However, Ihave not set out details about the last step of the technique: consulting the lists.Actually making sense of the lists to use the collected information is the mostimportant step. Not consulting lists make your work useless. Therefore it is essentialto follow these easy steps towards optimal consultation.First of all, it is fundamental to know that you can consult any ABC-lists – whether it isyours or not, whether you have created it or somebody else. Vilango GmbH The Birkenbihl Approach
  5. 5. The step-by-step approachStep 1: Identify the problem at hand. It becomes most obvious when you write itdown.Step 2: Consult the list. Do you know under which letter to search for? If not, youmight use the method of letter lottery or even lists lottery.Letter lottery: Prepare little plastic balls with letters on it and keep it in a bag or can.Whenever you need a letter, draw a ball. Thereby, a letter is randomly chosen.Step 3: Produce spontaneous associations immediately. Speak your associations outload – within 90 seconds. It is suggested to draw or write down your associations inthe moment they come to your mind. By documenting them, the danger of loosingthem is limited.Step 4: Think through each of the associations separately. Hence, helpful connectionsare detected which might trigger new ideas.Step 5: Back to step 2. Repeat the process using other lists, if necessary.These 5 steps describe the general approach. However, the process might be alteredor interrupted. Sometimes the redeeming solution pops up during the first run.Sometimes you need 4 or 5 runs until you find a satisfiable answer. Vilango GmbH The Birkenbihl Approach
  6. 6. Statistically, one consults 2.5 ABC-lists. This is valuable information when starting offusing ABC-lists, since you will need more time and runs at the beginning. Later on,you will get more used to thinking “in ABC-lists”. Remember: The first step is alwaysthe hardest.Get more information about ABC-lists on our homepage for foreignlanguage learning and life-timelearning. Computer courses providemore information. Vilango GmbH The Birkenbihl Approach

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