# Thinker's Keys - Explained

What are the Thinker's Keys?

# What are the Thinker’s Keys?

The  Thinker's Keys, proposed by Tony Ryan (1990), seeks to facilitate innovative and creative thinking on any issue or problem through asking and answering a number of questions about the issue (XYZ).

The following are identified keys.

• The REVERSE Key - Name 10 things you cannot XYZ.
• The WHAT IF Key - What if XYZ stopped shining?
• The DISADVANTAGES Key - List disadvantages of XYZ, and then brainstorm various ways of correcting or eliminating the disadvantages.
• The COMBINATION Key - List attributes of two dissimilar objects, then combine the attributes into a single object.
• The BAR Key - Make XYZ bigger, add something to it, replace something on it.
• The ALPHABET Key - Compile a list of words on XYZ from A to Z.
• The VARIATIONS Key - How many ways can you XYZ.
• The PICTURE Key - Draw a simple diagram and work out how to link it to XYZ.
• The PREDICTION Key - Predict what XYZ will be like in 10 years.
• The DIFFERENT USES Key - Find 10 uses for XYZ.
• The RIDICULOUS Key - Try to justify the statement XYZ ...
• The COMMONALITY Key - Find common points between XYZ and ...
• The QUESTION Key - Suppose XYZ is the answer, list five questions that give only that answer.
• The BRAINSTORMING Key - XYZ is a problem that needs to be solved. Brainstorm a list of practical, creative or innovative solutions
• The INVENTIONS Key - Design a machine for XYZ.
• The BRICK WALL Key - Make a statement on XYZ which could not generally be questioned or disputed, and then try to "break down the wall" by outlining alternatives of dealing with the situation.
• The CONSTRUCTION Key - Construct XYZ and list materials.
• The FORCED RELATIONSHIPS Key - Do XYZ by A ..., Do XYZ by B ...
• The ALTERNATIVE Key - Work out 3 ways to ... without XYZ.
1. The INTERPRETATION Key - Give 3 possible or unusual explanations for XYZ.

## Why is The Thinker’s Keys Useful?

The keys stimulates and develops creativity. It can be used as a mechanism to avoid or counteract the negative affects of cognitive biases, such as bounded rationality, groupthink, etc.