Definition of "heuristic": A rule of thumb that often helps in solving a certain class of problems, but makes no guarantees.
An example of a heuristic in business: "What gets measured gets done." This is useful advice in that it points us in a potentially productive direction. It suggests that if we want action on our organizational priorities, we should consider stating those priorities in measurable terms and tracking our progress. But, of course, it does not guarantee that we will always be successful.
Research indicates that heuristics are key to good thinking; whether we are trying to be creative, play chess, or do successful business planning. Good thinkers do not necessarily think harder, longer, or more exactly; they have simply learned to think in directions that are more likely to be productive.
The heuristic "rules of thumb" in the table below are based on a modern understanding of how the mind works as a adaptive, self-organizing patterning system; as well as on the practical experience of seasoned creative thinkers.
Basic Heuristics for Getting Started in DirectedCreativity
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