Innovative Thinking – A Paper Clip – Blog 127

Divergent Thinking


What Can You Do With A Paperclip


This activity was first developed by J.P. Guilford in 1967.  Guilford looked at four areas of creativity;


Originality: The novelty of alternative uses for the paperclip.

Fluency: The total number of uses the subject was able to innovate.

Flexibility: The categories with which the alternative uses fell into.  And…

Elaboration: The amount of detail the subject provided with regards to the alternative uses for the paperclip.


You can do this alone or as a team activity.  If you are working with more than one person, try to break the group into teams.  Competition really motivates some people and it’s fun to watch.

If you are performing this activity alone, really push yourself to see how many uses you can innovate.Allow a time limit of three minutes, set the timer, and start the creativity.  At the end of the three minutes, rate the teams on each of the categories above on a scale from 1 to 10, except of course, Fluency.


Determine a winner!  (Psst…Everyone wins here!)


Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking


Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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