http://litemind.com

Litemind (hosted by Luciano Passuello, a bright mind indeed)  is about exploring ways to use our minds efficiently. This translates to a wide variety of topics such as creativity, problem-solving, visual thinking, self-mastery and more. His blog cites a post about the Phoenix Checklist Creative Method developed by the CIA – worth repeating and worth reading, no doubt:

THE PROBLEM.

– why is it necessary to solve the problem?
– what benefits will you gain by solving the problem?
– what is the unknown?
– what is it you don’t understand?
– what is the information you have?
– what isn’t the problem?
– is the information sufficient? or is it insufficient? or redundant? or contradictory?
– should you draw a diagram of the problem?
– where are the boundaries of the problem?
– can you separate the various parts of the problem? can you write them down? what are the relationships of the parts of the problem?
– what are the constants (things that can’t be changed) of the problem?
– have you seen this problem before?
– have you seen this problem in a slightly different form?
– do you know a related problem?
– try to think of a familiar problem having the same or similar unknown
– suppose you find a problem related to yours that has already been solved. can you see it? can you use it’s method?
– can you restate your problem? how many different ways can you restated it? more general? more specific? can the rules be changed?
– what are the best, worst and most probable cases can you imagine?

THE PLAN.

– can you solve the whole problem? part of the problem?
– what would you like the resolution to be? can you picture it?
– how much of the unknown can you determine?
– can you derive something useful from the information you have?
– have you used all the information?
– have you taken into account all essential notions in the problem?
– can you separate the steps in the problem solving process? can you determine the correctness of each step?
– what creative thinking techniques can you use to generate ideas? how many?
– can you see the result? how many different kinds of results can you see?
– how many different ways have you tried to solve the problem?
– what have others done?
– can you intuit the solution? can you check the result?
– what should be done? how should it be done?
– where should it be done?
– when should it be done?
– who should do it?
– what do you need to do at this time?
– who will be responsible for what?
– can you use this problem to solve some other problem?
– what is the unique set of qualities that makes this problem what it is and none other?
– what milestones can best mark your progress?
– how will you know when you are successful?

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