January 17, 2024

  • 3 minutes

Harnessing True Creativity in the Age of AI - A Systematic Inventive Thinking Approach

Blog Team

By Vladimir Myltsev

Will AI usurp our jobs? Will it render a lot of low-skilled work obsolete? 

Numerous fears are circulating about this topic. And the answer is: who knows? We can’t predict the future, but we can learn from the past. And it’s not the first time we’ve observed a massive shift in the way we work. This marathon will continue, and our task is to jump onto this train, not just lament missed opportunities.

What we need is not a magic pill and secret knowledge, but True Creativity! Let me explain briefly. New technology in itself costs nothing until we apply it to transform our processes, making them more efficient and cost-effective. But how do we improve anything? We either create something brand new or an improved version of what we previously had. This is exactly the definition of the creative process. To evolve with the market, we must apply creativity (and I will demonstrate shortly why we need True Creativity) to our current processes. We must strive to improve and ascend one step higher.

Why True Creativity? Is there a False Creativity? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. We often think that creativity is the process of generating new ideas. Just think about a problem, let your brain generate ideas, put them on the board, analyze them, and find the best one that fits your conditions and perfectly solves your problem. Right?

Well, unfortunately, it's not the whole story. Our brains tend to be lazy.  In most cases, they succumb to the Fixation Effect instead of generating truly new and fresh ideas. What is the Fixation Effect?

In scientific literature, the "Fixation Effect" refers to the brain's tendency to use the most readily available information from memory. In simple terms, we often think we've come up with something new, but it's actually just what was easiest for the brain to retrieve from memory. And more often than not, it's not a creative solution. During these moments, there may be a sense that we're going in circles and new ideas just won't come, no matter how hard we try. And they really don't.  


Let e quote from a comprehensive scientific article:  


"Concerning inhibitory control, it is acknowledged that this executive function might be a core process involved in creative problem-solving and idea generation (Cassotti et al., 2016). While generating creative thoughts, individuals of all ages (i.e., children, adolescents, and adults) tend to follow the path of least resistance. In the meantime, proposed solutions are constructed based on the most common and accessible information within a distinct specialty, which leads to a fixation effect. Given these points, the ability to think about the novel (original) ideas necessitates: (1) inhibiting spontaneous solutions, that cross to mind rapidly and unconsciously; and (2) exploring original (novel) ideas using a generative type of reasoning.“ 


Original article here: Frontiers | The Link Between Creativity, Cognition, and Creative Drives and Underlying Neural Mechanisms (frontiersin.org)

Back to the industry evolution. How can we improve our processes so that they truly point toward the future, rather than merely replicating what we already have in a different form? True creativity implies a genuine creative process, which involves following a form of generative reasoning. One of the excellent yet simple methodologies to achieve this goal is Systematic Inventive Thinking.

SIT comprises a set of straightforward techniques that inhibit the generation of spontaneous ideas. Instead, they guide us toward solutions that we might not have considered without them.


This method involves removing a component from a process or system. The application of this method is straightforward: define the components of the process and assign numbers to them. Then choose a random number and remove the corresponding component from the process. Did that result in something interesting and functional? Great! You’re onto something. If not, no problem, simply repeat the process.


This involves selecting a specific component and replicating it multiple times within the system. Again, did you come up with a new interesting configuration of the system? Amazing! If not, simply repeat the process or try another SIT technique.


This involves taking apart a unit, dividing it into small portions, and adjusting them to realize a new benefit or add more value. An example is using a refrigerator drawer below the counter instead of a large external refrigerator. 

Task Unification

Innovative products and services unify tasks and activities within a component. An example is crowdsourcing, where large groups of people perform specific tasks. 

Attribute Dependency  

This involves uniting two previously independent components in a way that adds value. For instance, consider sunglasses with photochromic lenses. Again, compile a list of the process components. Assign numbers to them and experiment with randomly generated pairs. Does it make sense? Cool! If not, keep trying, you’ll find something valuable at some point.

More examples.

Assembly Line Production (1910s)

Introduced by Henry Ford in the production of the Model T car. This can be seen as an example of Task Unification and Division in SIT. The production process was divided into smaller tasks, each performed by a specific worker or machine (Division). Simultaneously, multiple tasks were unified on a single assembly line (Task Unification).

Just-In-Time Manufacturing (1970s)

Introduced by Toyota, this method involves producing goods exactly when they are needed in the production process. This can be seen as an example of Subtraction in SIT. The storage of excess inventory, a common feature of traditional manufacturing, was subtracted from the process.

If the AI revolution is truly underway and is comparable to the Industrial Revolution, we should take a page from the books of Ford and Toyota. To truly benefit from this new technology, we need to channel True Creativity. And guess what? AI is not even close to achieving True Creativity. Use our human advantage to win this race.

At UpTeam, we see AI not as a threat, but as a powerful ally in our quest for True Creativity. By harnessing AI as a tool and applying systematic, inventive thinking, we can create solutions that are not only efficient and effective but also truly innovative. As we navigate the AI revolution, we remain committed to using our human creativity to stay at the forefront of technological advancements and industry evolution.

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